Copyright
John W. (John Woolf) Jordan.

Encyclopedia of Pennsylvania biography : illustrated (Volume 3) online

. (page 14 of 58)
Online LibraryJohn W. (John Woolf) JordanEncyclopedia of Pennsylvania biography : illustrated (Volume 3) → online text (page 14 of 58)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


born February 21, 1852, daughter of George
Northrop, junior, by his wife, Sarah, daugh-
ter of George Deacon Wetherill, a descend-
ant of an ancient English family, her father
for half a century a conspicuous figure in
the legal profession of Philadelphia. Chil-
dren of Samuel Price and Christine (North-
rop) Wetherill: i. Georgine Northrop, born
March 4, 1873; married, April 18, 1893,
Charles Sillard Smith, becoming his second
wife, and resides in Bala, Pennsylvania. 2.
Sarah, born October 11, 1874; married,
June 6, 1898, Robert R. Logan, and had
issue. 3. Northrop, born May 3, 1876, died
August 18, 1876. 4. Christine, born April
10, 1878; married, June 9, 1908, William
Gordon Stevenson, of Philadelphia. 5.
Samuel Price, Jr., born May 12, 1880; mar-
ried, June 7, 1902, Edith Bucknell, and had
issue. 6. Isabella, born December 6, 1881.



HEINZ, Henry J.,

Fonnder of H. J. Heinz Company.

Emerson says, "Every institution is the
lengthened shadow of a man." These are
words which might be truthfully uttered of
Henry J. Heinz, of Pittsburgh, founder and
president of the H. J. Heinz Company, for.



793



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



albeit he has had able associates, his will
and genius have been the originating and
sustaining forces of this great enterprise.
In less than fifty years it has attained dimen-
sions which many businesses, counted very
successful, do not reach in a century.

The family record has been traced back
by Mr. Heinz to 1599, that date being in-
scribed upon a stone garden seat which he
brought from the ancestral home in Ger-
many to his residence in Pittsburgh, where
it is often pointed out to visitors. The
family name appears in the church records
of Kallstadt first in 1608, in the person of
Lorenz Heinz, who was born in the latter
part of the sixteenth century, in Kallstadt,
province of Rheinfalz, Bavaria, Germany,
and was a prosperous vineyard owner, a
state official and a church trustee.

Henry Heinz, founder of the family in
the United States, was born in Kallstadt,
Germany, and in 1840 emigrated to this
country, settling at what was then Birming-
ham, now South Side, Pittsburgh, Pennsyl-
vania. In 1850 he moved to Sharpsburg, a
suburb of that city, where he engaged in the
manufacture of brick. Henry Heinz mar-
ried, December 4, 1843, Anna Margarethe
Schmidt, who was born in Cruspis, Ger-
many, and came to Pittsburgh the year of
her marriage. Mr. and Mrs. Heinz were
the parents of nine children, the eldest of
whom was Henry J., the subject of this
sketch. The father and mother of the fam-
ily, devout members of the Lutheran church,
were respected by all for their strict integ-
rity and exemplary lives.

Henry J. Heinz, son of Henry and Anna
Margarethe (Schmidt) Heinz, was born
October 11, 1844, in Pittsburgh, Pennsyl-
vania, where he received his education in
the Church School, the public schools and
at Duff's Commercial College. It was the
intention of his parents to fit him for the
ministry, but he early developed inclina-
tions and talents for commercial pursuits,
and, with the exception of a few years, his
career has been exclusively concerned in



its business side with the manufacture of
pure food products. As a boy, he gave evi-
dence of business ability in the cultivation
and sale of the vegetables which he raised
in his parents' garden plot of four acres.
Tradition says that the first money Mr.
Heinz ever earned for himself was in com-
pany with twenty other boys who, at twen-
ty-five cents a day, picked up potatoes for
a neighboring farmer, on a tract of land
which later was embraced in the holdings
of the Aspinwall Land Company, of which
Mr. Heinz was one of the organizers and
later president. The precepts and example
of his Christian parents afforded him the
best religious training, a fact to which, in
after years, he largely attributed his suc-
cess. Especially was he influenced by his
mother, who impressed upon him those
principles which have been the rule of his
life, and between whom and himself there
ever existed a steadfast and beautiful devo-
tion. At the age of sixteen, Mr. Heinz be-
came bookkeeper and practical assistant in
his father's business, and about this time
he also commenced to grow, and during the
winter months to bottle, horseradish, which
he disposed of to the city grocers. In cal-
culating the profits for the sales of the
year, when he reached the age of nineteen
— 1863— he discovered that he had sold
twenty-four hundred dollars worth of pro-
duce from the four-acre lot. These results
were obtained in a day before it became the
practice to ship vegetables from the South.
By starting his plants early in hot beds, and
transplanting them into the garden at about
the time gardeners were just beginning to
plant the seed, the young gardener not only
came into the market first with his vege-
tables, receiving a high price, but was able
to obtain two or three crops a year, instead
"of one. The book in which the record of
this profitable gardening appears, the en-
tries being in Mr. Heinz's handwriting, is
now in the cherished possession of his sons.
When he reached his majority in 1865,
his father took him into partnership, and he



794



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



speedily gave evidence of his ability to
initiate by introducing methods whereby
brickyards could be successfully operated
in winter as well as summer. It was the
practice in large city brickyards to operate
all year. The young partner visited a city
brickyard, observed the methods followed
and adapted the idea to the little yard at
home. As a result the business was in-
creased threefold in two years.

Sharpsburg in 1869 was a town of but
3,000 population, and the demand for the
output of the brickyard was restricted, lor
this reason Mr. Heinz's parents encoura^, - d
him in his ambition to engage in a business
of his own. He formed a partnership to
manufacture brick at Beaver Falls, Penn-
sylvania, but soon withdrew from this ven-
ture, and in the same year, 1869, returned
to Sharpsburg and commenced to pack
food products, beginning with the bottling
of horseradish. His father's family had
moved into a new residence, and a portion
of the former family home was utilized as
the factory for the new business. The
basement and one room on the first floor
constituted the factory; another room
served as shipping department and office.

In 1872 the business was removed to
Pittsburgh, where it was first conducted
under the firm name of Heinz, Noble &
Company, the style becoming later F. & J.
Heinz, and in 1888 it assumed its present
name of H. J. Heinz Company. The legal
status of this business was that of a part-
nership until 1905, when it was converted
into a corporation.

Through all changes of name and form,
Mr. Heinz has remained the head of the
house, and to his management and enter-
prise is to be largely attributed its phenom-
enal success. He has worked, not for
money, but for success, realizing that suc-
cess would mean not less money, and this
love for success has been communicated to
his responsible associates, arousing uncon-
sciously an energy and enthusiasm that
permeates the entire establishment, creating



a "spirit" of mutual cooperation and con-
fidence that may not improperly be termed
the "Heinz Spirit." Never has he regarded
his employes as parts of a great machine,
but has recognized their individuality and
has made it a rule that faithful and efficient
service should be promptly rewarded. Con-
vincing proof of his attitude as an employer
is to be found in the fact that never, in his
establishment in its more than forty-five
years history, has the course of business
been interrupted by dissensions or strikes.
His employes know that he has always
sought in all ways to show his interest in
them and they have responded to this treat-
ment by trusting him to see to it that any
grievances they may have are promptly and
satisfactorily adjusted. They have learned
to know too, that the members of his family
interested in the business are actuated by
the same feeling, so if the father is absent,
they go just as readily and confidently to
the sons and partners.

Mr. Heinz's regard for the comfort of
his employes and his friendly attitude
toward them have had their influence,
among other factors, in making the busi-
ness the greatest of its kind in the world.
Besides the main plant in Pittsburgh, the
Company has sixteen branch factories,
three of these being in England, Canada
and Spain, seventy-eight salting houses,
twenty branch houses, including one in
London, and agencies in the commercial
centers of the world. The home factory
in Pittsburgh, occupies a floor space of over
thirty acres, which is increased to over
eighty acres when all branch houses are
counted in. The Company uses the annual
product of more than 100,000 acres of vege-
table and fruit lands, employs continually
six thousand persons, including over seven
hundred traveling salesmen, and has re-
ceived medals and highest awards from the
greatest expositions of the world.

Mr. Heinz is one who builds on firm
foundations. He is, moreover, one who be-
lieves in judicious advertising and, by the



795



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



extensive and intelligent use of appropriate
media of publicity, the name of Heinz has
become widely known. His Company has
rendered valuable assistance in the passage
of pure food laws, and every department of
the business has striven to keep the products
of the House in purity and wholesomeness
in advance of all legal requirements.

Among the business organizations which
Mr. Heinz serves as director may be men-
tioned the Union National Bank and West-
ern Insurance Company, both of Pittsburgh.
He belongs to tliat class of distinctively
representative American men who promote
public progress in advancing individual
prosperity, and whose private interests
never preclude active participation in move-
ments and measures which concern the
public good. He is an enthusiastic worker
for civil reform, and no project for fur-
thering the welfare or adding to the beauty
of his home city ever lacks his hearty co-
operation and support. When the Flood
Commission of Pittsburgh, made up of
prominent business and professional men
and eminent engineers, was appointed to
devise means of protecting Pittsburgh from
floods, a local question of paramount im-
portance, Mr. Heinz was chosen president
of the organization. Among other civic
organizations with which he is identified
are the following: The Pittsburgh Civic
Commission, of which he is vice-president ;
the Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, of
which he is a director. He is also vice-
president of the Western Pennsylvania Ex-
position Society, having been one of its
promoters, and is a director in the Tuber-
culosis Sanitarium and the Western Penn-
sylvania Hospital. He is widely but un-
ostentatiously charitable and is in sympathy
with the work of higher education and has
contributed to its support in various ways.
His most direct connection with educational
work found expression in the aid he ren-
dered in the establishment of the Kansas
City University, and for a number of years
he was president of its board of trustees.



His interest in the welfare of the com-
munity in which he lives led him in 1914
to make a gift to the University of Pitts-
burgh. In his letter announcing the gift
he wrote: "This sum is to be used in the
erection of a suitable building on the Uni-
versity campus as a memorial to my
mother, Anna Margarethe Heinz. This gift
is made with the Understanding that the
building shall be exclusively used for the
religious and social activities of the student
body of the University."

In national politics Mr. Heinz has been
an advocate of the principles of the Re-
publican party. In municipal affairs, how-
ever, he has given his support to any man,
who by reason of character and experience
seemed to him best qualified to serve the
public welfare. His interest in education
led to his election for two terms to the
Board of Public Education. He is recog-
nized as a vigilant and attentive observer of
men and measures.

There are few sections of the world
which he has not visited in quest of infor-
mation and recreation and he has found
much pleasure in the so-called fad of "col-
lecting." He has gathered a large and
interesting collection of antique and modern
ivory carvings, watches miniatures, fans,
firearms, and historic canes, books on cos-
tumes and old Bibles. It is one of the larg-
est private collections in the United States.
Every age of the world and every habitable
portion o,f the globe are represented. His
pursuit of collecting is not solely a response
to a love of rare and unique things, but it
springs in part from a desire to provide
something for the enjoyment of the public,
as many of his artistic antiques have been
placed on public exhibition. He also takes
a delight in surprising his friends with the
gift of some unusual antique from some
faraway corner of the world.

It is not an overstatement to say that Mr.
Heinz has reserved for religion the largest
place in his program of life. He is a mem-
ber of the Presbyterian church and for



796



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



over twenty of the busiest years of his life,
he was a Sunday school superintendent,
with which work he has been intimately
connected since his twenty-sixth year. He
has been president of the Pennsylvania
State Sabbath School Association for the
past seven years, and served as president
of the Allegheny County Association for
four years preceding his promotion to the
head of the State work. For several years
he has been a member of the executive com-
mittees of the International and Worlds
Associations, and in 1913 was chairman of
a party of twenty-nme business men of
large atiairs, and Sunday school specialists,
that made a four months' tour of the Ori-
ent, including China, Japan, and Korea, in
the interest of the Sunday school. At the
convention of the World's Sunday School
Association in Zurich in July, 1913, to
which convention the Oriental Commission
reported, Mr. Heinz was chosen chairman
of the executive committee, thus placing
upon him the responsibility of directing the
Sunday school work of the world for a
term of three years.

The Young Men's Christian Association
has naturally appealed to Mr. Heinz and he
has been active in promoting its interests.

Mr. Heinz married, September 23, 1869,
Sarah Sloan, daughter of Robert and Mary
(Sloan) Young, of Allegheny county,
Pennsylvania. The Youngs were a highly
esteemed family of county Down, Ireland,
and were of the Presbyterian faith. Mr.
and Mrs. Heinz were the parents of the
following children : Irene Edwilda, mar-
ried to John L. Given, of New York City;
Clarence Noble, connected with the adver-
tising department of the H. J. Heinz Com-
pany ; Howard, vice-president of the Com-
pany, married, October, 1906, Elizabeth
Rust, of Saginaw, Michigan ; Robert Eu-
gene, died in infancy ; and Clifford Stan-
ton, who is identified with the manufactur-
ing department of the Company. The be-
loved mother of these children died No-
vember 29, 1894.



Henry J. Heinz is a man who conducts
his business on terms alike to employer and
employed. He tinds his remuneration, not
in the acquisition of dollars and cents, but
in the satisfaction of seeing those who
cooperate loyally and enthusiastically in
producing a business success enjoying the
fruits of that success. Mr. Heinz has never
taken unto himself the credit for the accom-
plishments of his business. He has always
given large credit to his associates, train-
ing them to believe in and rely upon two
principles of business, which he has ex-
pressed in these words : "To do a common
tiling uncommonly well brings success" and
"It is neither capital nor labor but manage-
ment that brings success, since management
will attract capital, and capital can employ
labor."

The business which Mr. Heinz founded,
and of which he has always been the head,
has brought to its founder wealth and influ-
ence, and it has brought also much of far
greater value — gratitude and heartfelt affec-
tion, for in advancing to the position which
has been his for more than a quarter of a
century, never has he neglected an oppor-
tunity to extend a helping hand to those less
fortunate than himself nor to make his
prosperity a blessing to his fellowmen.



MEEHAN, Thomas,

Scientist, Iiitterateur, Public Official.

To properly estimate the character of
Thomas Meehan, botanist, scientist, litera-
teur and public official, it is necessary to
know something of the personality of the
man. although to know him through his
public record and writings necessarily im-
presses one with his greatness.

Left much to himself in his youth, he
formed the habit of deep thinking and this
was true of his whole life. When from his
mind he had wrested a decision, Gibraltar
was not firmer. A firm believer in evolu-
tion, he conceded to every man or animal
the right to fight for an existence, and he



197



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



was a fighter, believing that the "survival of
the fittest" was nature's own law, and ap-
plied to everybody and everything. Firm
and inflexible, he could both give and take
and willing to go under if the others were
"fittest." That side of his nature was well
defined and well understood, as was also
the gentler side. A more kindly hearted
man never lived nor one more genuinely in-
terested in the welfare of humanity. He is
known as the "father of the Small Park
System" of Philadelphia, and among the
family treasures is the silver plaque, pre-
sented by citizens of Philadelphia, which
attests this fact. In his latter years when
grandchildren and great-grandchildren came
to the Germantown mansion, it was not an
uncommon sight to see him lay aside for a
brief time a weighty article, and entertain
the little ones. The two natures were beau-
tifully blended, and in Thomas Meehan was
produced a man whom it is a delight to
honor.

Thomas Meehan was born at Potter's
Bar, near Bernet Hertford, Middlesex,
England, March 26, 1826, died in Philadel-
phia, Pennsylvania, November 19, 1901. He
was the son of Edward Meehan, Irish born,
one of the most skilful private gardeners of
England, from whom the son inherited his
love for plant life. His mother, Sarah Den-
ham, was a descendant of one of the oldest
EngHsh agricultural families of England
and under her teaching he obtained his
early education. The lad became deaf
through an illness, and this lessening his
enjoyment of boyish companionship, he
spent much of his time in the fields and
roads, la3'ing a perfect foundation on which
to erect his future career. In his youth he
was a powerful swimmer, and this accom-
plishment, coupled with a physical courage
that equalled the moral stamina he after-
ward displayed, enabled him, alone and
assisted, to save thirteen lives. On one
occasion, when rescuing two men from a
drifting canal boat on the flooded Schuyl-
kill, he was reported drowned, and in the



papers of the following morning had the
unique pleasure of reading his obituary.
He developed rapidly, and at the age of thir-
teen years his first article was published,
and at about the same time he succeeded in
hybridizing the fuchsia for the first time,
producing a race he called the St. Clair.
These early efforts attracted the attention
of well known men who befriended him as
a boy and remained his truest friends. At
the age of fifteen years he made and pub-
lished his first scientific discovery, on the
lines which afterward made him famous —
"Irritable stamens in the flowers of Portu-
lacca Grandiflora," then a new introduction
from Mexico. His spare time, while watch-
ing by night the fires of the greenhouses,
was spent in study in this manner, and by
means of a night school in which each pupil
was a teacher, he so developed his natural
talent that at the earliest date his age per-
mitted, he entered the Royal Gardens at
Kew. There, for refusing to take the con-
stable's oath of office to assist in suppressing
the Chartists, he fell under suspicion of
being in sympathy with that class, thereby
incurring the ill-will of Sir William Hooker,
director of the Gardens, who subjected him
to petty annoyances, hoping to force his
resignation. But Mr. Meehan refused to
leave the Gardens unless furnished an offi-
cial certificate of the completion of the
course of study. This he finally received,
and on March i, 1848, he sailed for the
United States on a vessel named "The
Devonshire." Pie arrived March 21, fol-
lowing, and on his twenty-second birthday
arrived in Philadelphia with twenty-five dol-
lars in his pocket, having made the trip
from New York to Philadelphia by canal
boat.

Arriving in his new home in a strange
land, he at once sought out Robert Buist,
with whom he had secured employment be-
fore leaving England. A year later he en-
tered the employ of Andrew Eastwick,
under whose supervision he laid out and
restored Bartram's Gardens, now a part



798



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



of the park system of Philadelphia, famous
as a work of America's early botanist, John
Bartram, and the second botanic garden
established in this country. Later he worked
for Caleb Cope, at Holmesburg, married in
1852, and, after the birth of a son, William
Edward, in 1853, left Mr. Cope's employ
and started in business for himself. He
established his principal nursery at what is
now Ambler, with a branch at Germantown,
having a partner, William Saunders, but the
firm soon dissolved. He prospered until the
beginning of the Civil War when, through
heavy losses in the South, he nearly failed.
For a brief period he had a special partner,
and on the dissolution of this connection he
took an active partner and as Meehan &
Wandell prospered for several years. Later
this partnership was dissolved by the death
of Mr. Wandell, Mr. Meehan becoming sole
proprietor of the business, which at the time
of his death had grown to such proportions
that seventy-five acres were under cultiva-
tion at the Germantown gardens. Mr. Mee-
han was a great botanist, and had a secure
position in the scientific world. He gave
preference in his nursery to the cultivation
of American plants, but many exotic species
were cultivated on a large scale and many
remarkable and interesting botanical speci-
mens were there to be found. The business
is now carried on by three of his sons, and
a trip to Meehan's nursery in Germantown
is one of the attractions of the city.

Mr. Meehan's additions to the literature
of botany were valuable and numerous, his
memberships in scientific societies exceed-
ingly so. In March, i860, he was elected a
member of the Academy of Natural Sci-
ences, and was ever an interested member,
becoming vice-president. He was one of
the oldest members of the American Asso-
ciation for the Advancement of Science,
and one o£ its first Fellows ; belonged to the
American Philosophical Society, the His-
torical Society of Pennsylvania, the Penn-
sylvania Horticultural Society, of which he
was corresponding secretary for many



years ; honorary member of the leading hor-
ticultural societies of America, the Royal
Horticultural Society of London, and the
Royal Wernerian Society, of Edinboro,
Scotland, his membership in the latter
dating from 1844. For several successive
years he was elected annually to the board
of visitors of Harvard University, was a
member of the first board of trustees of the
Philadelphia Economic Museum (1894),
and the first State Botanist of Pennsylvania,
after the creation of the State Board of
Agriculture.

The "Gardeners' Monthly," a horticul-
tural magazine, was founded by Rodney
King, a Philadelphia horticulturist, in 1859,
and Mr. Meehan became its editor and held
that position for twenty-nine years until
the magazine was sold on the death of its
publisher, Charles H. ]\Iarot. His person-
ality was so strongly impressed on the mag-
azine that its name and that of Mr. Meehan
were interchangeable. He also was for a
time editor of the agricultural department of
the "Philadelphia Press," under Colonel
Forney, and was horticultural and agricul-
tural editor of several newspapers and jour-
nals, at one time contributing to six, includ-
ing the "Maryland Farmer," "New York
Independent," "New York Tribune," and
the "Public Ledger" of Philadelphia. While
at Caleb Cope's he wrote and later published



Online LibraryJohn W. (John Woolf) JordanEncyclopedia of Pennsylvania biography : illustrated (Volume 3) → online text (page 14 of 58)