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805



ExNCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



Union and rendered invaluable assistance.
Perhaps the first occasion on which their re-
sources and loyalty were put to the test
was when they conveyed President-elect
Lincoln in his special car from Harrisburg
to Philadelphia, on his way to Washington.
To be selected to take part in this service
was the greatest honor the company could
bestow, and among those chosen was the
young assistant to the superintendent, John
Pitcairn, to whom was given the great re-
sponsibility of taking charge of the train
from Harrisburg to Philadelphia. Several
of the States already had seceded and ru-
mors were rife, not only that a conspiracy
to destroy the Philadelphia, Wilmington
& Baltimore railroad was on foot, but that
there was a plot for the assassination of Mr.
Lincoln. The services of Allan Pinkerton,
the famous detective, were engaged, and
every arrangement was made to insure a
safe journey for the illustrious passenger.
About six o'clock on the evening of Feb-
ruary 22, 1861, Mr. Lincoln left the Jones
House, Harrisburg, with Colonel Lamon,
Enoch Lewis and G. C. Franciscus, and
was driven down Second street, past the
executive mansion, which then was on the
north side of that street, immediately south
of Chestnut, to where the Pennsylvania
railroad crossed the street. There an engine
and car, in charge of John Pitcairn, were
waiting. Mr. Lincoln and Colonel Lamon
boarded the car and the train started. On
the train were Enoch Lewis, G. C. Francis-
cus, T. E. Garrett, general baggage agent of
the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, and
John Pitcairn, then a youth of twenty, on
whom rested for the time being the heaviest
responsibility. A clear track had been ar-
ranged for, and shortly after ten o'clock
the train arrived at West Philadelphia,
where it was met by Allan Pinkerton and
H. F. Kenney. Mr. Lincoln's party of
four was driven to the Philadelphia, Wil-
mington & Baltimore station, and the re-
mainder of the journey was made without
mishap. The "Great Emancipator" reached



Washington about six o'clock the next
morning, and one of those who had insured
his safe arrival was the young train de-
spatcher, John Pitcairn.

When the Confederates invaded Pennsyl-
vania, Colonel Thomas A. Scott, then As-
sistant Secretary of War, sent Robert and
John Pitcairn to Chambersburg to take
charge of the train service, which at that
time had been taken over by the govern-
ment. After the battle of Antietam, John
returned to Philadelphia. His appointment
to this second signal act of loyal service
proved the high estimation in which he was
held by his superiors, — additionally proved
it, we should say, as nothing could exceed
the confidence shown by his appointment of
two years before.

After the close of the Civil War, Mr. Pit-
cairn went to Harrisburg, as assistant super-
intendent of the Middle Division of the
Pennsylvania railroad, and a year later he
was transferred to Renovo, as superintend-
ent of the Middle Division of the Philadel-
phia & Erie railroad. On July i, 1869, he
went to Corey, as general manager of the
Oil Creek & Allegheny River railroad, re-
maining until September 15, 1872, when he
resigned, after an eventful and honorable
career.

While still in the railroad service, Mr.
Pitcairn had given evidence of the versatil-
ity of his talents by successfully engaging
in business. In 1871 he constructed the
Imperial Refinery, at Oil City, Pennsyl-
vania, and he was at one time a member of
the firm of Vandergrift, Forman & Com-
pany, which afterward became Vandergrift,
Pitcairn & Company. While associated
with the firm of H. L. Taylor & Company,
then the largest producers of oil in America,
he engaged in the three branches of oil prcn
ducing, oil refining and pipe line transpor-
tation of oil. Mr. Pitcairn, with Mr. Van-
dergrift, built and controlled the first nat-
ural gas pipe line for the utilization of
natural gas for factory and manufacturing
purposes. This line was built at the lower



806



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



end of Butler county, and carried gas to Fords and was elected president of the



Pittsburgh, supplying the steel firms of
Spang, Chalfant & Company, and Graff,
Bennett & Company, with the first natural
gas used in manufacturing. Both of these
firms had an interest with Mr. Pitcairn and
his partner in this pipe line. The Natural
Gas Company, Limited, was controlled by
Mr. Pitcairn and Mr. Vandergrift.

In 1882 or 1883, Mr. Pitcairn was con-
sulted in regard to piping gas to a glass fact-
ory to be built at Creighton, Pennsylvania,
and it was he who first discerned the possi-
bilities of plate glass manufacture. In as-
sociation with Captain John B. Ford and
his two sons, Edward and Emory L. Ford,
Mr. Pitcairn organized the Pittsburgh Plate
Glass Company, in 1883, with a capital of
$600,000. The first organization was as
follows: Edward Ford, president; Albert
E. Hughes, vice-president ; James H.
Shields, secretary; and John F. Scott, treas-
urer. The directors were : John Pitcairn,
Edward Ford, Albert E. Hughes, John F.
Scott and Emory L. Ford. Since 1895, Mr.
Pitcairn has been chairman of the board of
directors of the Pittsburgh Plate Glass
Company.

The company's first factory was built at
Creighton, and not long after its comple-
tion another factory was erected at Taren-
tum, Pennsylvania. Five years later two
factories were built at Ford City, Pennsyl-
vania. Mr. Pitcairn was represented at
Creighton by his cousin, Artemas Pitcairn,
who had been associated with him in the
United Pipe Line Company. The capital
stock was increased at various times, until
it reached $2,750,000. In 1895, the com-
pany bought five more factories — one in
Missouri, two in Indiana, and two in Penn-
sylvania, and increased its capital to $10,-
000,000. The board of directors at that
time was composed of John Pitcairn, chair-
man ; Edward Ford, Emory L. Ford, Ethan
Allen Hitchcock, A. U. Howard, A. L.
Conger and George W. Crouse. In 1897,
Mr. Pitcairn purchased the interests of the



corporation. He resigned that office in
1905, and was succeeded by W. L. Clause.
The board then was as follows : John Pit-
cairn, chairman; Ethan Allen Hitchcock,
W. L. Clause, Charies W. Brown, W. W.
Heroy, W. D. Hartupee and Clarence M.
Brown. The present board of directors
consists of John Pitcairn, chairman; W. L.
Clause, Charles W. Brown, W. W. Heroy,
E. B. Raymond, Clarence M. Brown and
Edward Pitcairn.

The Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company has
twenty-eight warehouses, located in various
. cities of the United States. Every ware-
house carries stocks of rough and polished
plate glass, plain and beveled mirrors, and
bent glass, also a full line of paints, varn-
ishes, brushes and painters' supplies. In
all of these lines the company is the largest
jobber in the world. The warehouses also
maintain retail stores for the sale of glass
and paints, and many of the branches oper-
ate plants for the manufacture of mirrors,
thus offering an advantage to the furniture
manufacturer. A number of the ware-
houses maintain plants for the manufacture
of art glass. The company employs com-
petent artists for this purpose, and furnishes
special designs for churches, auditoriums
and residences. When its first plant was
in full operation, the company employed
about five hundred men; it now employs
about seven thousand. The present capital-
ization is $22,750,000.

The Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company is
not confined to the United States. About
1902 it purchased the Courcelles plate glass
factory, in Belgium, made extensive addi-
tions to the building and equipment, and
reorganized the Courcelles Plate Glass
Company. The product of this factory is
sold in all parts of the world.

This colossal concern has completely rev-
olutionized the method of manufacturing
plate glass, and other manufacturers
throughout the world have followed and
profited by its example. Between 1900 and



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ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



1904, after spending over a million dollars
in experimenting, the company developed
the lehr annealing process, which more than
any other factor has helped to revolutionize
the manufacture of plate glass, and this
process since has been adopted by all other
manufacturers engaged in this industry. In
all its transactions the Pittsburgh Plate
Glass Company always has been above
suspicion. The voice of criticism never has
been lifted against it. The capital stock has
represented real values, and the watch-
word of the company has been "Success
with Honor." This magnificent organiza-
tion is indeed a monument to the genius of
John Pitcairn.

Seldom does a man so active and suc-
cessful as Mr. Pitcairn take the keen and
helpful interest in civic affairs which he
always has manifested. A Republican in
politics, he has been too busy to take an
active part in public affairs or to become a
candidate for office, but he frequently is
consulted in regard to matters of municipal
importance and his penetrating thought
often has been of benefit to public move-
ments.

The interests which claim Mr. Pitcairn's
attention are many and varied, and to each
he gives careful consideration, allowing
none to suffer for want of close and able
thought and unwearied assiduity. He is
president and director of the C. H. Wheeler
Manufacturing Company, the Loyal Hanna
Coal and Coke Company, and the Pitts-
burgh Valve and Fittings Company, and a
director of the Central National Bank of
Philadelphia, the Columbia Chemical Com-
pany, the Michigan Chemical Company, the
Natural Gas Company of West Virginia
and the Owosso Sugar Company. While
not a club man as that term generally is
understood, he holds membership in a num-
ber of social organizations, including the
Duquesne Club of Pittsburgh, the Union
League and the Art Club of Philadelphia.

A profound thinker and deeply interested
in religious subjects, Mr. Pitcairn is a be-



liever in the doctrines of Emmanuel
Sweenborg. He is a member of the General
Church of the New Jerusalem, and chair-
man of the corporation of the General
Church of the New Jerusalem of the United
States, an organization having complete
jurisdiction over the civil affairs of the
Church, as distinguished from matters ec-
clesiastical. The Academy of the New
Church, at Bryn Athyn, Montgomery
county, Pennsylvania, was endowed by Mr.
Pitcairn, who was one of the founders of
the institution and always has been identi-
fied with its progress. Mr. Pitcairn is
earnestly and actively interested in the work
and well-being of the Swedenborgian church
and, as one of its foremost laymen, has ac-
complished more in its behalf than perhaps
any other man in the United States.

As president of the Anti- Vaccination
League of America, Mr. Pitcairn is prom-
inently identified with that cause. He wrote
an article on "The Fallacy of Vaccination,"
which appeared in "The Ladies' Home
Journal" for May, 1910, and later was pub-
lished in pamphlet form.

The personality of Mr. Pitcairn is that
of a man fully equal to the discharge of the
strenuous duties devolving upon him and
to the fulfillment of the grave responsibili-
ties connected with the positions he holds.
Those who are familiar with his fine ap-
pearance cannot have failed to observe how
well it illustrates his character. The high-
bred face, with sensitive, patrician features,
accentuated by white hair, moustache and
goatee, the keen, kindly eyes that look one
straight in the face, the square jaw and firm
chin, so indicative of decision,— all bespeak
a nature of quiet iritensity, a born leader of
men. He has the indefinable, unmistakable
gift of "presence," conveying the impression
of a dominating magnetic personality. His
manner is at once dignified and gracious,
and his countenance, though resolute, indi-
cates a genial disposition. In listening to
the deep, flexible tones of his well mod-
ulated voice, one instantly becomes aware



808



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



that the speaker is a man of purpose. His
capacity for friendship is in proportion to
his other capabilities and explains the
loyalty and affection which he inspires in
both associates and subordinates.

On January 8, 1884, Mr. Pitcairn mar-
ried Gertrude Starkey, a daughter of Dr.
George R. and Caira (Skelton) Starkey. Of
the six children born to Mr. and Mrs. Pit-
cairn, two died in infancy, and a daughter,
Vera, died in 1910. The surviving children
are : Raymond, a lawyer of Philadelphia ;
Theodore, a student at the University of
Pennsylvania; and Harold F., a pupil at
the Academy of the New Church. Mrs.
Pitcairn, who died in 1898, was a woman of
fine fibre and delicate culture, full of grace
and self-possession, to which was added the
charm of domesticity. She was in all re-
spects fitted to be the helpmate of her gifted
husband.

Combined with a social temperament, Mr.
Pitcairn possesses domestic affections of un-
common strength, and always after an ab-
sence rejoices to find himself once more
at home. He has traveled extensively and
has a wide acquaintance among the promi-
nent men of the last half century.

Mr. Pitcairn is a native of a land whose
sons have been leaders in the creation of the
greatness of Pittsburgh and the develop-
ment of Western Pennsylvania, and among
them he occupies a foremost place. By the
exercise of the qualities which made his
race dominant in the Old World, he has
carved out his fortune in the New, which
he has made his debtor. As railroad official,
manufacturer and man of affairs, his record
is that of a patriot and a public-spirited cit-
izen, and the Commonwealth of Pennsyl-
vania holds his name in gratitude and honor.



CHESS, Harvey B.,

Prominent Mannfactnrer.

Masterful and impressive figures were
the oldtime manufacturers of the Iron City.
Practical thinkers were they, winning their



supremacy by superior brain-power — men
of the type of the late Harvey B. Chess,
vice-president of the Consolidated Ex-
panded Metal Company, and at the time of
his death the oldest manufacturer of nails
and tacks in Western Pennsylvania. Mr.
Chess was a life-long resident of Pitts-
burgh, and was closely identified with every
movement and interest essential to the wel-
fare of his native city. Harvey B. Chess
was born July loth, 1843, i" the South Side,
Pittsburgh, and was a son of David and
Dorothea (McGeary) Chess, the former,
in his day, a well known nail and tack
maker. At the time of the outbreak of the
Civil War, Harvey B. Chess was a student
at the Western University of Pennsylvania,
now the University of Pittsburgh, but, like
so many patriotic youths of that heroic gen-
eration, he abandoned the class-room for the
camp and relinquished his books in order
that he might do his part on the battlefield.
Enlisting in Young's Battery, he served
until the close of the war, when he received
an honorable discharge.

On his return to his native city, Mr. Chess
became associated in business with his
father, and speedily developed rare if not
distinctive executive ability, becoming noted
for his aptitude in grappling with details
and for his accurate and keen perception
and judgment. Upon the death of his
father, in 1877, Mr. Chess became a partner
in the business with his brothers, Henry and
Walter Chess. In addition to the qualifica-
tions of a successful business man, Harvey
B. Chess possessed inventive genius, devot-
ing more than forty years to the study and
designing of special machinery for his own
lines of manufacture, thus becoming a
machine designer and engineer of national
reputation. It was mainly owing to his
exceptional abilities that the scope of the
business so greatly enlarged that the con-
cern became in the course of time the Con-
solidated Expanded Metal Company, with
its plant in Braddock. Until his retirement
in 1907, Mr. Chess filled most ably the



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



office of vice-president of this widely known
and prosperous organization.

Throughout the business career of this
gifted man, capable management, unfalter-
ing enterprise and a spirit of justice were
well balanced factors, and while every de-
partment was carefully systematized in
order to avoid all needless expenditure of
time, material and labor, never did he fall
into the grave error of regarding his em-
ployes merely as parts of a great machine.
On the contrary he recognized their in-
dividuality, making it a rule that faithful
and efficient service should be promptly re-
warded with promotion as opportunity of-
fered.

In all concerns relative to the welfare of
Pittsburgh Mr. Chess constantly manifested
a deep and sincere interest, and wherever
substantial aid would further public pro-
gress it was freely given. No good work
done in the name of charity or religion
appealed to him in vain, and in his work
of this character he brought to bear the
same discrimination and thoroughness that
were manifest in his business life. A vigi-
lant and attentive observer of men and
measures, holding sound opinions and tak-
ing liberal views, his ideas carried weight
among those with whom he discussed public
problems. He was an honorary member of
the Engineers' Society of Western Pennsyl-
vania, and an active member of the Third
Presbyterian Church in the work of which
he took a keen and generous interest.

No one could meet Mr. Chess without
having the highest appreciation for his sterl-
ing qualities of manhood or without being
attracted by his genial nature which rec-
ognized most heartily the good in others.
His countenance was an index to his char-
acter, showing him. to be pre-eminently a
man to lean upon — a man upon whom men
leaned. Rugged honesty and rock-ribbed
integrity were structural qualities which
constituted the cornerstone of the fabric
of his fortune. Self-reliant, buoyant in dis-



position, strictly upright in all his transac-
tions, he compelled the unquestioning con-
fidence of men of affairs and won and held
the devoted attachment of a large circle of
friends.

Mr. Chess married, April 27th, 1882,
Annie, daughter of James and Carolina
(Stowe) Boles. They had two sons, Har-
vey B. and Phillip Sheridan Chess. Mr.
Harvey B. Chess (2d) is president and
treasurer of the ConsoHdated Expanded
Metal Companies ; he married December 27,
1907, Blanche E., daughter of William E.
and Mary (Spencer) Leard, of New Brigh-
ton, Pennsylvania. Mrs. Leard was of
Birmingham, England. They have one
child, Harvey B. Chess (3d). Phillip Sheri-
dan Chess is associated with his brother in
business.

Mrs. Chess, a woman of rare wifely qual-
ities and admirably fitted by her excellent
practical mind to be a helpmate to her hus-
band in his aspirations and ambitions, was
withal an accomplished home-maker, ever
causing him to find, at his own fireside, a
refuge from the storm and stress of the
business arena. Mr. Chess was devoted to
the ties of family and friendship, regarding
them as sacred obligations, and his beauti-
ful home in the East End was a centre of
gracious and refined hospitality.

The death of Mr. Chess, which occurred
August 10, 1913, removed from Pittsburgh
a manufacturer of the highest qualities, and
a citizen who throughout a long and useful
life had labored unceasingly for the ad-
vancement of her best interests. A man of
valiant fidelity, he fulfilled to the letter every
trust committed to him and was generous in
his feelings and conduct toward all.

Harvey B. Chess was a man of original
genius, aggressive methods, far-sighted
sagacity and stainless character. It is such
men that Pittsburgh needs — it is men of this
type that are needed by the country at large.
They are the men who build up great cities
and mighty nations.



810



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



WETHERILL, William H.,

Iieading Manufacturer, Prominent Citizen.

The history of the Wetherill family, of
Philadelphia, is one of deep interest both
from the commercial prominence of the
family and the peculiar historical associa-
tions connected with the name. Originally
members of the Society of Friends, Samuel
Wetherill, of the fourth generation, dis-
played such activity and patriotic ardor
for the cause of independence that the
Philadelphia Monthly Meeting of the
Friends saw in his conduct sufficient devia-
tion from their "Ancient Testimony and
Peaceable Principles" that he was disowned
by them in August, 1779. This did not
seem to dampen his ardor, for he continued
his patriotic work, and was the prime mover
in the movement that resulted in the organ-
ization of "The Religious Society of
Friends," better known as "Free Quakers."
Samuel Wetherill was the first clerk and
preacher, three successive generations of his
family having also held the office of clerk.
The old patriot who would not hide his pref-
erences under the sombre garb, was not only
strong in his patriotism and in his religious
fervor, but was a leader in the commercial
world ; was one of the promoters and man-
agers of the "United Company of Philadel-
phia, for the Establishment of American In-
dustries," a society called into existence by
the imposition of the "Stamp Act." He
established a plant on his home lot on South
alley, between Fifth and Sixth streets,
where he wove, fulled and dyed cloths.
When dyes could not be obtained without
great cost, he established a chemical labora-
tory for their manufacture, this being the
foundation of the immense chemical and
drug business that yet exists in the family
name. He supplied well woven cloth to the
Continental Congress from which soldiers'
uniforms were made, and after peace was
declared engaged in the drug business on
Front above Arch streets, under the name
of Samuel Wetherill & Son, his son Samuel



being his partner. "Wetherill's Drug
Store" was long an ancient landmark, and
their sons and grandsons were graduated
and sent forth as manufacturing chemists.
Samuel Wetherill & Son were the founders
of white lead manufacturing in the United
States, establishing a plant in Philadelphia
in 1804, then abandoned te.xtile manufactur-
ing, and ever afterward were manufacturers
of drugs, chemicals and paints. This great
business is now conducted by descendants
of Samuel, the founder, and under the pres-
ent name of Wetherill & Brother has
reached vast proportions. Probably no
business in the city has existed so long
(1762-1914) under one family ownership
and name. So Samuel Wetherill, the
Quaker patriot, who suffered for his
zeal, deserves well of those who venerate
patriotism, for the hardest battles are not
fought on the firing line, but down in one's
soul and when the old patriot faced ostra-
cism and disgrace from the hands of his
brethren he displayed a courage that de-
serves to be commemorated in enduring
marble.

The Wetherills trace an English ancestry
to the eleventh century. Burke's "Landed
Gentry" refers to the Wetherell family as
long seated in the county of Durham and
the North Riding of Yorkshire, and de-
scribes the arms borne by family as "Argent
two lions passant, guardant, sable on a chief
indented of the last three covered cups or."
This same coat-of-arms was brought to
New Jersey by Christopher Wetherill in
1683, and is used by his descendants.

The history of the family begins in Amer-
ica with Christopher Wetherill, who came
in 1683, settling in New Jersey, at Burling-
ton, there owned a large land estate, was
member of the Proprietary Council of the
Province, 1706-07, filling other official posi-
tions, including that of sheriff of Burlington
county in 1700. The line of descent to
William H. Wetherill, of Philadelphia, is
through Thomas, eldest son of Christopher
and his wife, Mary Hornby, who died in



811



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



England in i6So, the mother of four chil-
dren. Christopher had no issue by his two
American wives.

Thomas Wetherill, born in York county,
England, November 3, 1674, died in New
Jersey, in 1749. He inherited the greater
part of his father's lands in New Jersey, and
was a wealthy land owner of the province,
to which he came in 1683. He married
Anne Fearon, June 22, 1703, "late of Eng-
land, now of Burlington county," daughter
of John and Elizabeth Fearon of Great
Broughton, Cumberland county, England.
Both Thomas and his father, Christopher,
were prominent Friends.

Christopher (2), eldest son of Thomas
and Anne (Fearon) Wetherill, was born
in Burlington county. New Jersey, Feb-
ruary 26, 171 1, died there in April, 1786.



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