John W. (John Woolf) Jordan.

Encyclopedia of Pennsylvania biography : illustrated (Volume 3) online

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He inherited a large part of the lands de-
scending from his father and grandfather
in Burlington, Hunterdon, Morris and Es-
sex counties. New Jersey, devising them at
his death to his children, most of whom had
moved to Philadelphia. He married, in
1735, Mary, daughter of Judge John Stock-
ton, of the Common Pleas Court of Somer-
set county, New Jersey, and a sister of
Richard Stockton, a signer of the Declara-
tion of Independence from New Jersey.
She was a granddaughter of Richard Stock-
ton from Cheshire, England, one of the
early settlers of Princeton, New Jersey,
and a great-granddaughter of Richard
Stockton of Malapas, Cheshire, England,
baptized 1606.

Samuel, eldest son of Christopher (2)
and Mary (Stockton) Wetherill, was bom
in Burlington, New Jersey, April 12, 1736,
died in Philadelphia, September 24, 1816.
As noted previously he became a Philadel-
phian of great public spirit, taking the liv-
liest interest in public affairs. His con-
nection with textile manufacturing and the
establishment of a drug store and chemical
plant has been narrated, also his early con-
nection with the "Free Quakers" after his
disownment by the Society of Friends for

his patriotic ardor. The meetings of the
"Free Quakers" were held at his house fre-
quently until the erection of a meeting house
at the southwest corner of Fifth and Arch
streets, still standing. The subscription
fund for this church was contributed to by
Washington, Franklin and many others. A
lot was also granted them by the State of
Pennsylvania on the east side of Fifth
street, below Pine. Samuel Wetherill con-
tinued to preach after he became so feeble
at eighty years of age that he was carried
from his carriage to the church in a chair.
He was a member of the Philadelphia Com-
mon Council, chairman of the Yellow Fever
Committee of that body in 1793, and was
one of the most active members of the water
committee. Samuel Wetherill married,
April 5, 1762, at Philadelphia Monthly
Meeting, Sarah Yarnall, born August 27,
1734, died July 27, 1816, daughter of Mor-
decai Yarnall, an eminent minister of the
Society of Friends and granddaughter of
Francis Yarnall, a member of the Colonial
Assembly in 171 1.

Samuel (2), eldest son of Samuel and
Sarah (Yarnall) Wetherill, was born in
Philadelphia, April 27, 1764, died there Sep-
tember 29, 1829. He was his father's busi-
ness associate from youth, became a partner
with him as Wetherill & Son in the drug
and chemical business on Front street, and
later in the white lead and paint establish-
ment on Twelfth street, in which later his
own sons and grandsons became partners.
He was a member of the Philadelphia Com-
mon Council, as was his father, and later
his son also became a member. He succeeded
his father as clerk of the Society of Free
Quakers, serving until his death. He mar-
ried, April 24, 1788, Rachel Price, born
January 28, 1766, died February 9, 1844,
daughter of John Price, of Reading, Penn-
sylvania, and his wife, Rebecca, daughter of
General Jacob Morgan, of Morgantown,

Dr. William Wetherill, son of Samuel
(2) and Rachel (Pnce) Wetherill, was bom



in Philadelphia, January 21, 1804, and died
at his summer home "Fatland," on the
Schuylkill river, April 28, 1872. He grad-
uated from the Medical Department of the
University of Pennsylvania and from the
College of Pharmacy, but did not practice
medicine in Philadelphia ; was a partner
with his brother, John Price Wetherill, in
the Wetherill & Brother White Lead
Works. He later took up his residence
at the old family home, "Fatland," part of
a large tract purchased by his father near
the junction of Perkiomen creek with the
Schuylkill river, originally containing 1,400
acres, and known as "Mill Grove on the
Perkiomen." A portion of the estate had
been sold out of the family, and was the
home of John James Audubon, the famous
ornithologist, for many years. Later it was
repurchased by William H., its present
owner, son of Dr. William Wetherill, and
in his family summer home.

Dr. Wetherill married, July 6, 1825, Isa-
bella Macomb, born February 22, 1807, died
December 25, 1871, daughter of John Wil-
liam and Isabella (Ramsay) Macomb,
granddaughter of William and Sarah Jane
(Dring) Macomb, and cousin of Brigadier-
General Alexander Macomb, the hero of
Plattsburg, 1814, and commander-in-chief
of the United States army at the time of
his death in 1841. Dr. Wetherill and wife
were the parents of a large and dis-
tinguished family, eminent in the profes-
sions, war and commercial life.

William H., son of Dr. William and Isa-
bella (Macomb) Wetherill, was born Jan-
uary 20, 1838. He was educated in Phila-
delphia schools, and early in youthful man-
hood entered mercantile life with Samuel
and William Welsh, well-known Philadel-
pliia merchants and importers. After
nearly ten years experience with that firm
he established in business in Boston, Mass-
achusetts, continuing there in successful
operation until 1872, when the death of his
honored father compelled a rearrangement
of his plans. He returned to Philadelphia

and at once took his father's place in the
Wetherill & Brother White Lead Works,
being of the fourth generation to own and
operate this important Philadelphia in-
dustry, known since 1831 as Wetherill
& Brother, as successors of Samuel Weth-
erill & Sons. The connection begun in 1872,
}et exists, William H. Wetherill being the
official head of the firm, being now ably
seconded by his capable sons of the fifth
generation — Abel Proctor and Webster

During the Civil War, Mr. Wetherill
enlisted and drilled with the Philadelphia
Home Guards, attached to one of the Penn-
sylvania "Emergency" regiments, was ser-
geant of Captain Charles S. Smith's com-
pany, went to the front, and was at the
battle of Antietam.

Mr. \\'etheriirs connection with church
and philanthropic societies of Philadelphia
has been long, continuous and valuable.
For about thirty-five years he has been
clerk of the Society of Free Quakers, suc-
ceeding his cousin, John Price Wetherill,
and is of the fifth generation of his family
to so serve the Society founded largely
through the efforts of Samuel (i) Wetherill
prior to 1780. He is a member of the Prot-
estant Episcopal church, and has been
especially interested and generous to St.
Mary's Church, Locust, above Thirty-ninth
street. In 1907 he caused to be erected a
beautiful stone tower on that church, its
graceful proportions terminating no feet
above its base. This was in memory of his
old friend, Harry Flickwir West, as is
shown on a tablet placed in the room be-
neath : "To the glory of God, in loving
memory of Harry Flickwir West, who died
January 3, 1906, this spire is erected by his
life long friend, William H. Wetherill."
On October 20, 1907, the tower was dedi-
cated with most impressive ceremony, and
stands a memorial to friendship and gen-
erosity. The original plan called for a set
of chimes, but the intent of the donor was
prevented by the desire of the vestry to re-



tain the old bell cast by J. Wiltbank in 1838,
the sound of which is so familiar to the resi-
dents of the neighborhood, and for which the
parish has an efifectionate attachment. The
tower memorial windows to the sisters of
Mr. West are also the gift of Mr. Wetherill.

His military record has gained him mem-
bership in George G. Meade Post No. i,
Grand Army of the Republic; his political
faith, to the Union League, of Philadelphia.
He delights in the glories of his country's
past, and holds membership in many asso-
ciations historical and educational. These
include the Pilgrims' Society of Massachu-
setts; Historical Society of Pennsylvania;
Historical Society of Montgomery County ;
Apprentices Library Association ; Pennsyl-
vania Forestry Association ; Philadelphia
Skating Club, and Humane Society, and
other local societies, charitable and scientific.
He is a life member of the House of Refuge
Association and of the Zoological Gardens
Association ; Philadelphia Paint Club,
Philadelphia Board of Trade, Jordan
Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, Pea-
body, Massachusetts ; and Washington
Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, the latter
body located in Salem, Massachusetts.

Mr. Wetherill married, October 4, 1865,
Elisabeth Putnam, born May 27, 1842,
daughter of Abel and Lydia (Emerson)
Proctor, of Massachusetts ; children : Alice
Putnam, deceased ; Edgar Macomb, de-
ceased; Henry Emerson, M. D., graduate
of the Medical Department of the Univer-
sity of Pennsylvania, now practicing his
profession in Philadelphia; Herbert John-
son, married Mary Rowe Dunn, and re-
sides in Philadelphia ; Abel Proctor, asso-
ciated with the firm of Wetherill & Brother,
married Sarah Reeve Mullen ; Webster
King, associated with his father and brother
in Wetherill & Brother, married Georgine
Vaux Cresson ; Francis Macomb, a clergy-
man of the Protestant Episcopal church.
Mrs. Elisabeth Putnam Wetherill deceased
February 5, 1914.

The summer residence of the family is

the old "Audubon Home," a part of the
tract owned by Samuel Wetherill, "Mill
Grove Farm," on the banks of the Perkio-
men, purchased in 1813. Since its purchase
by William H. Wetherill many years ago,
it has been greatly beautified, and is a most
beautiful commodious country residence,
and visited by members of Audubon so-
cieties and others from all parts of the
country, the latchstring hanging out at all
seasons of the year to any lover of Audubon
ornithology, and those who wish to enjoy
the view from the piazza, which Bayard
Taylor, the historian and traveler, claimed
was the most beautiful view along the beau-
tiful Schuylkill river.

BENHAM, Silas Nelson,

Physician, Surgeon, Public Spirited Citizen.

The standing of the medical profession in
Pittsburgh has ever been of the highest, and
among those of its members who during the
latter half of the nineteenth century most
signally aided in the maintenance and in-
crease of its prestige was the late Dr.
Silas Nelson Benham, conspicuous alike as
a skillful practitioner and a learned consult-
ant. For a quarter of a century Dr. Ben-
ham was a resident of Pittsburgh, and both
as a physician and a man occupied a place
in the front rank of her citizens.

Silas Nelson Benham was born Novem-
ber 20, 1840, at Washington, Pennsylvania,
and was the only child of Silas Nelson and
Margaret (Grove) Benham. His father
died when he was nine months old, and his
mother married (second) February, 1846,
Samuel H. Rial, of Washington, Pennsyl-
vania. A woman of great strength of
character and executive ability, her death
occurred March 6, 1904.

Silas N. Benham was educated in his
native town, first attending preparatory
schools and then entering Washington Col-
lege, now Washington and Jefiferson Col-
lege. He read medicine with Dr. F. Julius
Le Moyne, and afterward, during the


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winters of 1863-64 and 1865, attended lec-
tures at the University of Pennsylvania,
Philadelphia, graduating from its medical
department. The course of Dr. Benham's
medical education was interrupted by the
outbreak of the Civil War. At that crisis
in our history, sharing the patriotic ardor of
the youth of his generation, he enlisted as a
army surgeon, and for three years served
with credit on the staff of his uncle. General
Henry Benham, in a West Virginia reg-

In 1864, Dr. Benham came to Pittsburgh
and opened an office on Third avenue.
Thenceforth, to the close of his life, he
remained a resident of the Iron City, being
continuously engaged in the active practice
of his profession. His thorough equipment,
eminent abilities and unwearied devotion to
duty caused his rapid advancement to the
commanding position which for so many
years was his. As a physician of the regular
school he was enthusiastic in his efforts to
elevate the standard of the medical profes-

Conspicuous among the services which
entitle Dr. Benham to the gratitude of
posterity, was the founding of the Pitts-
burgh Free Dispensary, in which he was
largely instrumental. With this beneficent
institution his name will ever be insepara-
bly associated, and it constitutes a most
appropriate monument to his memory. He
was at one time physician to the Mercy
Hospital, and at the period of his death
filled the position of surgeon to the West
Pennsylvania Hospital. He belonged to the
American Medical Association, the Amer-
ican Surgical Society and the Allegheny
County Medical Society, at one time serv-
ing as president of the last named organiza-

As a citizen, Dr. Benham was intensely
public-spirited, and no movement having
for its object the welfare of Pittsburgh
found him unresponsive. He affiliated with
the Republicans, but his professional duties
left him little time for active participation

in politics and prevented him, with two ex-
ceptions, from holding office. These ex-
ceptions were made in the interest of the
cause of education, which he had ever
deeply at heart. For several years he served
as a member of the second ward school
board and for a time represented that ward
on the central school board, where he held
the position of chairman of the high school
committee. Dr. Benham was actively and
prominently affiliated with the Masonic
fraternity, being a Thirty-second degree
Mason, member of Franklin Lodge, No.
221 ; Duquesne Chapter, No. 193, Royal
Arch Masons ; and Tancred Commandery,
No. 48, Knights Templar. Widely but un-
ostentatiously charitable, no good work done
in the name of philanthropy or religion
sought his co-operation in vain. He was a
member of Christ Methodist Episcopal

As a highly intellectual man of many
brilliant attainments. Dr. Benham was emi-
nently fitted for the high position which he
long held in the medical fraternity. He en-
joyed, to a remarkable degree, the affection-
ate regard of all who knew him, possessing
much personal magnetism and having a
manner at once dignified and winning. His
countenance bore the impress of a noble
character, showing him to be what he was —
a true gentleman and an upright, courageous

Dr. Benham married (first) July 27,
1866, Nellie, daughter of Robert H. Rand,
of Meriden, Connecticut, and they were the
parents of two sons — Robert Rand, and Ed-
win, both of whom died in infancy. Mrs.
Benham died April 27, 1872, and Dr. Ben-
ham married (second) February 20, 1889,
Margaret Lee, daughter of the late Wilson
and Hannah (Lee) Miller, and grand-
daughter of Reuben Miller. Sketches and
portraits of Wilson Miller and his father,
Reuben Miller, appear elsewhere in this
work. Dr. and Mrs. Benham were the
parents of one daughter, Margaret Lee, who
was married, November 12. 1913, to George



Bart Berger, of Pittsburgh, son of the late
George Berger.

Mrs. Benham is a woman of culture,
social grace and genuine philanthropy — the
type of woman to be in all respects a fitting
mate for such a man as her gifted husband.
Dr. Benham was devoted to the ties of
family and friendship, regarding them as
sacred obligations. His happiest hours were
passed in the home circle and he delighted
in the exercise of hospitality. Mrs. Ben-
ham and her daughter are active in social
and charitable circles. Their winters are
passed in their beautiful North Side resi-
dence and their summers at "Beaumaris,"
their lovely summer home on the shore of
Lake Muskoka, Canada.

The death of Dr. Benham, which oc-
curred November 3, 1890, was a distinct
loss to the medical profession and to the
city at large. Realizing that he would not
pass this way again, he made wise use of
his opportunities and his talents, conform-
ing his life to a high standard, and ven-
erated, both socially and professionally, for
his profound and comprehensive knowl-
edge, his eminent abilities, his long and val-
uable services and the spotless purity of his
moral character.

Dr. Benham, at the time of his death,
lacked but a few days of the completion of
his fiftieth year. Half that period had been
devoted to the scrupulous and enthusiastic
performance of strenuous professional
duties. In a quarter of a century he had
accomplished as much as a man of ordinary
ability and strength of purpose could have
brought to pass in twice that time. His
life was consecrated to the advancement of
medical science and the relief of suffering
humanity. The record of his labors forms
part of the medical annals of the city of
Pittsburgh and the State of Pennsylvania.

CLARK, Joseph Nelson,

Soldier, Physician, Manaf actnring Drnggiat.

Prominent among those who have at-
tained distinct prestige in the practice of

medicine and pharmacy in the State of
Pennsylvania and whose success has come
as the logical sequence of thorough technical
information, as enforced by natural pre-
dilection and that sympathy and tact which
are so essential in this profession, is Dr.
Joseph Nelson Clark, of Harrisburg. His
paternal ancestors were from Scotland, his
maternal from England, and both settled in
Pennsylvania when that section of the coun-
try was still untrodden by white men, receiv-
ing their lands directly from William Penn.

John Clark, great-grandfather of Dr.
Clark, according to early records appears
as a private on "A Pay Roll of the Bounty
of Captain Andrew Foreman's Company
of the Militia of York County in the State
of Pennsylvania, guarding the Convention
of Prisoners at Camp Security for the
Months of November and December, 1781."
(See page 530, vol. 14, Pennsylvania
Archives, second series, 1S88). He had a
son, William Clark.

James, son of William Clark, was born
in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania, where
he was a miller and farmer, and where his
entire life was spent. He married Margaret
Nelson, and had children : Fanny, de-
ceased; Mary; Joseph Nelson, whose name
is at the head of this review ; Lucinda, de-
ceased ; Hannah ; Elizabeth, deceased ; Mur-
ray; Emma; Samuel, deceased. William
Nelson, great-grandfather of Mr. Clark,
died in 1766. Colonel Samuel Nelson, his
son, was commissioned captain September
II, 1776; commissioned lieutenant-colonel
of the Sixth Battalion of York County
Militia, June 17, 1779. His son, William
Nelson, married Frances Parks, and had a
daughter Margaret, who became the mother
of Dr. Clark.

Dr. Joseph Nelson Clark was born in
Monaghan township, near Dillsburg, Penn-
sylvania, November 12, 1839. At the close
of the first year of his life his parents re-
moved to Cumberland county, and it was in
the schools of Churchtown and the Normal
School at Newville, Pennsylvania, the latter



now the State Normal School at Shippens-
burg, Pennsylvania, that his preparatory
education was acquired. He was graduated
from the Newville Institution in i860, and
received his diploma there. From his
earliest youth the medical profession had
had a great fascination for the studious lad,
and he decided to make it his life work.
He became a student in the Medical De-
partment of the University of Georgetown,
Washington, D. C, was graduated in the
class of 1867 and received the degree of
Doctor of Medicine. He took a post-
graduate course of one year, being grad-
uated from this with honor. St. Louis,
Missouri, was the scene of his first medical
practice, but at the expiration of one year
he returned to the State of Pennsylvanja,
where he located in Mechanicsburg, and
followed his practice with a very satis-
factory amount of success. He served as
president of the Female Collegiate Institute
at York, Pennsylvania, 1870-71. The fol-
lowing year he removed to Harrisburg, and
was continually engaged in the practice of
his profession there until 1887, at which
time he became identified with the drug
trade. He purchased the proprietary rights
of McNeil's Pain Exterminator, a remedy
enjoying a world-wide sale, and his con-
duct of his business aiifairs has been on a
par with the excellent work he did while ex-
clusively engaged in medical practice. It is
not often that one finds professional and
business ability united in one person in so
perfect manner as is the case with Dr.
Clark. He has been frequently called upon
to hold official position in other enterprises,
and is president of the People's Savings
Bank, and has served in the same capacity
for the Twentieth Century Building and
Loan Association and the Dauphin County
Sabbath School Association. Until Dr. Clark
removed to Mechanicsville in 1905, he was a
member and elder for many years of the
Westminster Presbyterian Church of
Harrisburg, of which he had been one of
the founders, and had also been superin-

tendent of the Sunday school. He then be-
came a member of the Presbyterian church
of Mechanicsburg, and at the present time
is superintendent of the Sunday school.
While still living in Harrisburg, he was a
director of the Harrisburg Young Men's
Christian Association, and he has served
as a representative to the General Presby-
terian Synod and the General Assembly.
He was a member of the Harrisburg School
Board nine years, and served as secretary
of this honorable body one year. His fra-
ternal affiliations are as follows: A life
member of Robert Burns Lodge, No. 464,
Free and Accepted Masons, having joined
this body in 1877; member of Post No. 58,
Grand Army of the Republic, of Harris-
burg; of the State Pharmaceutical Associa-
tion, and National Proprietary Association.

Dr. Clark has always been of an intensely
patriotic nature, and when in 1861 the call
came from President Lincoln for men to
serve three months, he was one of the first
to respond, and his example was a source
of inspiration to many others. At that time
he was assigned to the Seventh Pennsyl-
vania Reserves. Subsecjuently he enlisted
for three years, but served four, one of
which was spent in southern prisons. He
was an active participant in a number of
the most important and fiercest battles of
the Civil War, and was taken prisoner, the
first time at Gaines Mills, and sent to Libby
Prison, Richmond, Virginia, languishing
there two months. Two years later he was
captured with his entire regiment at the
battle of the Wilderness, confined in Ander-
sonville Prison from May until September,
and in the prison at Florence, South Caro-
lina, from September until December 22,
1864. He was mustered out of service at
Philadelphia. February 22, 1865, and after
a short sojourn at his own home accepted
a position in the War Department at Wash-
ington, D. C, where he remained until
1868. He is a staunch Republican.

Dr. Clark married, at Mechanicsburg,
February 28, 1871, ^ate R., a daughter of



Solomon P. and Elizabeth Gorgas, and has
had children: William, a former druggist
of Philadelphia, now with his father at
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, wholesale drug-
gist ; Mary E. ; Joseph Nelson Jr. ; Ray-
mond Perry; Edgar George.

CUNNINGHAM, Dominick O.,

Ijeadlng Mannfactarer, Progressive Citizen.

Glass manufacturing is one of the indus-
tries claimed as Pittsburgh's own. The
slight effort made to dislodge her from her
position of glass supremacy has been ren-
dered futile by the great natural gas belt of
her district, and to-day the show windows
of the world are viewed through plate glass
made in Pittsburgh, and the various glass
specialties which, for the most part, origi-
nate here, are sold in a market whose only
confines are the four quarters of the globe.
Conspicuous among the men instrumental
in giving to our city this proud domination
was the late Dominick O. Cunningham, for
many years president of the D. O. Cunning-
ham Glass Company, one of the long estab-
lished representative glass concerns of
Pittsburgh. Mr. Cunningham was also
.associated with the lumber business and
was prominently identified with every
movement tending to develop the best inter-
ests of his home city.

Dominick O. Cunningham was born No-
vember 23, 1834, in Allegheny county, and
was a son of Wilson and Mary Ann
(O'Connor) Cunningham. At a very early
age he became associated with the glass
business, receiving the most thorough train-
ing and acquiring perfect familiarity with
every department of the industry. This
was in the natural course of events as he
might be said to inherit an interest in glass

Online LibraryJohn W. (John Woolf) JordanEncyclopedia of Pennsylvania biography : illustrated (Volume 3) → online text (page 17 of 58)