Copyright
John W. (John Woolf) Jordan.

Encyclopedia of Pennsylvania biography : illustrated (Volume 3) online

. (page 18 of 58)
Online LibraryJohn W. (John Woolf) JordanEncyclopedia of Pennsylvania biography : illustrated (Volume 3) → online text (page 18 of 58)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


manufacture.

The successful and widely known glass
manufacturing business so long associated
with the name of Cunningham was estab-
lished in 1849 by Wilson Cunningham,
father of Dominick O. Cunningham. Asso-



ciated with Mr. Cunningham were his two
brothers and George Duncan. The con-
cern was known as the Pittsburgh City
Glass Works, and from the outset was at-
tended by prosperity. In 1865 the firm be-
came Cunninghams & Ihmsen, and in 1878
the interest of Dominick Ihmsen was pur-
chased and the style changed to Cunning-
hams & Company, the firm being composed
of Wilson, Robert and Dominick O. Cun-
ningham — the last-named becoming two
years later sole owner of the business, which
was then incorporated as the D. O. Cun-
ningham Glass Company.

At this period the business embraced two
extensive plants for the manufacture of
window glass, bottles and fruit jars, one
being situated at Twenty-second street and
the other at Twenty-sixth, on Jane street.
South Side. The equipment was of the
most complete description, and the plants
were recognized as among the representative
works of Pittsburgh. This flourishing con-
dition was mainly due to the keen vision,
quick and sound judgment and organizing
abilities of Mr. Cunningham. Another im-
portant factor in his success was his insight
into character which enabled him to put the
right man in the right place, while the un-
varying justice and kindliness which
marked his conduct toward his employes
elicited their warm attachment and secured
their most loyal service.

Despite the strenuous and engrossing
nature of his duties as head of this vast
concern the tremendous vitality of Mr. Cun-
ningham and his extraordinary speed in the
dispatch of business made it possible for
him to assume other responsibilities. He
was senior member of the large lumber firm
of Schuette & Company, and a member of
the Chamber of Commerce. The political
afifiliations of Mr. Cunningham were with
the protection wing of the Democratic
party, and while he steadily refused to ac-
cept office, he gave the loyal support of a
good citizen to all measures which, in his
judgment, tended to further the welfare of



818





mz:.^.




ENXYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



Pittsburgh, and as a vigilant and attentive
observer of men and events his ideas car-
ried weight among those with whom he dis-
cussed public problems. With the financial
interests of the city he was intimately asso-
ciated as one of the incorporators and a
director of the Manufacturers' Bank of the
South Side. A liberal giver to charity, so
quietly were his benefactions bestowed that
their full number will, in all probability,
never be known to the world. He was a
member of Sts. Peter and Paul Church.

The leading characteristics of Mr. Cun-
ningham — indomitable perseverance, bold-
ness of operation, unusual capacity for
judging the motives and merits of men, and
integrity and loyalty to friends — were
deeply imprinted on his countenance. Of
fine personal appearance, strong and stal-
wart, his clear-cut, resolute features ac-
centuated by a moustache, snow-white, as
was his hair, in his latter years, and with
the bearing of one unfailingly self-reliant,
but ever most considerate of others, he
looked the man he was. The eyes, with all
their keenness, held in their depths the glint
of humor and the firm lines of the face
were softened by an expression of the great-
est kindliness. No man ever recognized
with more electrical quickness a business
opportunity or availed himself of it with
greater wisdom. He was loved and vener-
ated for his sterling qualities of manhood
and for the genial nature which recognized
and appreciated the good in others. Until
a few months before his death Mr. Cun-
ningham was actively engaged in business,
and on March 26, 191 1, he passed away,
leaving the record of a man of purpose, one
who lived up to the letter and spirit of his
word and was generous in his feelings and
conduct toward all. Mr. Cunningham was
a man whose value, albeit appreciated while
he was with us, could not be fully and truly
estimated until after he had been taken
from us. Strong, cheerful and courageous,
leading the way in enterprises that made
for the prosperity of others no less than



for his own, an upright citizen, a kind
neighbor, a loyal friend — we do not realize
how much we have depended on him until
the strong presence is withdrawn and the
kind hand is no longer held out to greet us.
Dominick O. Cunningham was loved in his
lifetime, and to-day his memory is cher-
ished in many hearts.



OTT, Frederick M.,

Soldier, La-wyer.

Major Frederick M. Ott, a well known
attorney-at-law of Harrisburg, Pennsyl-
vania, whose professional activity extends
over a period of more than forty years, is a
man of commanding ability and has risen
to a place of distinction in his chosen pro-
fession. In other walks of life he has also
distinguished himself, notably in military
affairs, and has amply proven his bravery
and patriotism.

The paternal founder of his family in
this country was Johan Nicholas Ott, who
is said to have emigrated from the Pala-
tinate in 1735, and settled near Bethlehem,
Pennsylvania. Nicholas, son of Johan
Nicholas Ott, served bravely in the Conti-
nental army during the Revolution, removed
to Harrisburg in 1781, and operated the
Harris ferry. He bought land adjoining
the ferry, on Paxton street, in 1797, and
there built a tavern which he conducted
until his death in January, 1800. Children:
Nicholas; Mary, who married Henry
Peters.

Nicholas, son of Nicholas Ott, was born
February 22, 1781, died November 5, 1832.
He married Margaret Kissecker, and had
seven children, among them being Leander
Nicholas Ott, born February 11, 1814, died
February 8, 1897. His career was a varied
one. For a time he was an attorney-at-law,
then engaged in the lumber business at
Harrisburg, later in the same business in
Camden, New Jersey, and finally resumed
it in Harrisburg. He removed to Susque-
hanna township in 1861. For a number of



819



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



years he was occupied as a civil engineer,
and made State surveys. During the first
three years of the Civil War he was active
in organizing troops at Camp Curtin, and
also organized emergency companies in
1862-63. He married Caroline M. Heisely,
and they had six children, of whom the two
surviving ones — Frederick M. and Mary
Heisely — are living on the homestead "Kit-
tatinny Farm." In the maternal line of Mr
Ott, many members have been distinguished
in military affairs, as statesmen, and in
various professional lines.

Major Frederick M. Ott was born in
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, April 4, 1850.
The public schools of his native city fur-
nished him with his early education, and
from them he went to the Harrisburg Acad-
emy, at which he was a student from 1862
until 1866. In the last mentioned year he
matriculated at Pennsylvania College, at
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and was gradu-
ated from this institution in the class of
1870. Taking up the study of law under
the preceptorship of his father, he was ad-
mitted to the bar of Dauphin county, Penn-
sylvania, as an attorney, May 13, 1873, and
with the exception of the time spent in mili-
tary service has been in vminterrupted prac-
tice of his profession. The principles of the
Republican party have always been upheld
by him, and he served as county solicitor
of Dauphin county at the time when this
office was still an elective one. He has
served as a school director for almost a
quarter of a century, and has been secretary
of the board in Susquehanna township.

His military record is an exceedingly
creditable one. Becoming a member of the
National Guard of Pennsylvania in 1S88,
he was elected second lieutenant of the Gov-
ernor's Troop, upon the organization of that
body, was promoted to the rank of first
lieutenant in 1890, and to that of captain in
1 891. In this last rank he was reelected
and commissioned for a number of succes-
sive terms. At the outbreak of the Spanish-
American War his company entered the



United States service, being known as the
Governor's Troop, Pennsylvania Volunteer
Cavalry. They were mustered in, May 13,
1898, and mustered out, November 21, 1898,
having participated in the Porto Rican ex-
pedition. Captain Ott was in command of
this troop during its entire period of service.
In 1910 the Pennsylvania Cavalry was
formed in two squadrons of four companies
each, and Captain Ott was made major of
the Second Squadron. Major Ott is a mem-
ber of the Spanish-American War Veterans
of Dauphin county; of the Dauphin County
Bar Association ; and of Zion Lutheran
Church, Harrisburg. Commendation is
superfluous appended to the history of a
man like Major Ott ; his record speaks for
itself.



McCONNELL, Alexander Daniel,

Lia^ryer, Jurist.

The name of Judge Alexander Daniel
McConnell, of Greensburg, Westmoreland
county, Pennsylvania, is known as that of
a lawyer and judge of marked ability and
distinction. He is a man of most pro-
nounced views on political matters, and an
independent thinker along many lines. His
profound and wide attainments, the clarity
and keenness of his mind, combined with a
character of the most uncompromising in-
tegrity, have won him the undeviating re-
spect and confidence of the Bar and of the
citizens over whom he has presided as
judge.

The founder of his family in the United
States was Daniel McConnell, a native of
Dumfriesshire, Scotland, who was born in
1710. While yet a young man he came to
Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, where he
married Peggy Kirkpatrick, a young woman
of Scotch-Irish parentage. They had four
sons and several daughters. Of the sons —
Samuel, David, Hugh and Daniel — the first
three were married to three daughters of
Thomas Whiteside, an English gentleman
who came to Lancaster county, Pennsyl-



820




° "■*' i? ''*'''' •iMw.jn-' *■■"'■



Ua^7(J!^,yUtn/ 0\jJ /rls(Q0Vl/V\My



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



vaiiia, in the eighteenth century and there
married Alargaret Porter. They had five
daughters and three sons. The three daugh-
ters who married the McConnell brothers
were Rebecca, Martha and Violet. Samuel,
the eldest of the McConnell sons, married
\'iolet, the youngest of the Whiteside
daughters ; Hugh, the youngest McConnell
son, married Rebecca, the eldest of the
Whiteside daughters ; while David, of fur-
ther mention, the second son, married Mar-
tlia, who was the third of the five daughters
of Thomas and JMargaret (Porter) White-
side. In respect to church connection the
McConnells were Seceders of the old type,
while the Whitesides were Presbyterians.
In those days this difference was regarded
as a very substantial matter, and the par-
ents of the respective contracting parties,
in each case, objected to the marriage en
that account, but in each case the marriage
took place in spite of objection.

David, second son of Daniel McConnell,
was born in Lancaster county, in 1764, and
removed to Westmoreland county, Penn-
sylvania, in 1800. Of his twelve chil-
dren, one died in infancy, the others all
married, had families, and for the most
part located in Western Pennsylvania. Of
his direct descendants, many engaged in
professional work, among these being:
Judge McConnell, of this sketch; Rev.
Samuel D. McConnell, D. D., LL. D. ; Rev.
David McConnell Steel, of New York City.

Daniel, eldest son of David and Martha
(Whiteside) McConnell, was born m Lan-
caster county, April 19, 1794, and died in
Salem township, W'estmoreland county,
March 8, 1865. He married Hannah Mc-
Eride, who died April 14, 1884, wdiose
father and grandfather, both named James
McBride, were active participants in the
War of the Revolution. They had three
sons and seven daughters.

David Kirkpatrick, eldest son of Daniel
and Hannah (McBride) McConnell, was
born November 18, 1819, and died Decem-
ber 5, 1900. He married, October 31, 1844,



Harriet, daughter of John Steel and Jane
(Christy) Sloan, both the Christy and Sloan
families being identified with the history
of Westmoreland county for more than a
century. They had five sons and four
daughters.

Judge Alexander Daniel McConnell,
third son and child of David Kirkpatrick
and Harriet (Sloan) McConnell, was born
in Loyalhanna township, Westmoreland
county, Pennsylvania, March 10, 1850. Ac-
quiring his elementary education in the
public schools of Loyalhanna and Salem
townships, he then attended Delmont Acad-
emy, and finally became a student at the
Washington and Jefiferson College. For
some years he acted in the capacity of as-
sistant to H. M. Jones, superintendent of
the public schools of Westmoreland county,
then located in Greensburg in September,
1873, and became a teacher in the public
schools there. Not long afterward he was
elected to the principalship of these schools,
a position he filled with ability until June
I, 1876. In the meantime he had also de-
voted himself to the study of law, and in
1877, upon the motion of Senator Edgar
Cowan, he was admitted to the bar of West-
moreland county. Since that time he has
been identified with legal affairs in various
capacities. He read law in the ofiice of
the late Judge James A. Hunter, and has
always given his political allegiance to the
Republican party. He rendered excellent
service as chairman of the Republican
County Committee in 1878, and in 1879,
when he was nominated by his party for
the Legislature, he succeeded in reducing
the Democratic majority greatly, which was
to be considered a success in so far, as the
county had always been overwhelmingly
Democratic hitherto. His party nominated
him for Congress in 1882, but the rule of
rotation gave the nomination to Fayette
county that year. In 1889 he was the Re-
publican candidate for judge of the Court
of Common Pleas, but the party was de-
feated in that and several succeeding vears.



821



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



In 1895 a law was enacted allowing two
judges to the Tenth Judicial District, and
Governor Hastings, on practically the
unanimous endorsement of the Westmore-
land county bar, appointed Judge McCon-
nell to this office, June 17, 1895. He re-
ceived the Republican nomination, and in
November of the same year was elected for
a full term of ten years by a majority of
about 3,000. April 15, 1905, he was with-
out opposition nominated by the Republican
party to succeed himself, and on July 3,
following, he was endorsed by the Demo-
cratic County Committee and his name
directed to be placed on the Democratic
ticket as the candidate of that party. Many
important questions have been settled by
Judge McConnell, and his decisions have
been upheld by the Superior and Supreme
Courts of the State. June 18, 1902, West-
minster College conferred on Judge Mc-
Connell the degree of Doctor of Laws, an
honor which during the last century has
been conferred on only four other members
of the Westmoreland county bar.

Judge McConnell married, March 24,
1876, Ella J., eldest daughter of Adam J.
and Emma (Eyster) Turney, of Greens-
burg; granddaughter of Rev. Michael
Eyster, a Lutheran minister, who died in
Greensburg; and great-granddaughter of
Rev. John William Weber, a pioneer Re-
formed minister, who established numerous
churches in Western Pennsylvania. They
have had children: Richard Kirk, was
graduated from Washington and Jefferson
College, now a practicing attorney in the
Greensburg courts : A. Turney, was a clerk
in the bank of the Barclay Trust Company,
of Greensburg; Alexander, who studied
law at the University of Pennsylvania, from
which he was graduated with the degree of
Bachelor of Laws, and is now in practice
in Greensburg; Emma E., and Robert
Sloan.

Judge McConnell has always been greatly
interested in the cause of higher education,
and is one of the trustees of the Morrison



Underwood fund, which its donor devoted
to certain educational purposes. He is an
attendant of the First Presbyterian Qiurch
of Greensburg; a director of the West-
moreland Hospital, Greensburg ; and a
member of the Scotch-Irish Society of Phil-
adelphia, and of Philanthropy Lodge, No.
518, Free and Accepted' Masons. His serv-
ices are in great demand as an orator, and
he is especially noted for his talent in mak-
ing addresses, of whatever nature they may
be. A recent example of his art in this
direction was on the occasion of the un-
veiling exercises at the old St. Clair Ceme-
tery, August 15, 1913, when the new monu-
ment erected by the Masonic fraternity of
this district over the grave and to the
memory of Major-General Arthur St. Clair,
was unveiled and dedicated. As an ex-
ample of the style of Judge McConnell, we
give an extract from this dedicatory ad-
dress :

General St. Clair gave wholly and without re-
serve a brave, noble, deedful life, to the service
of his adopted country, in the days of its dire
need — and that country, when it had become rich,
and he had become poor through the assumption
of debts that were in fact the debts of his coun-
try, allowed him in his old age to feel the pangs
of poverty and to die under circumstances as
pathetic as the circumstances that attended the
tragic life and death of Lear. * * St. Clair
was of distinguished lineage. Scott, in his "Lay
of the Last Minstrel," speaks of the "lordly line
of high St. Clair." Had he chosen to do so, he
could have lived a life of comfort and ease in
his native land — enjoying the inherited honors of
his titled ancestors. But that, young St. Clair
could not do — for he had in him something better
than noble blood ; he had a noble soul, which
forbade his resting at ease and enjoying un-
earned honors. He followed the drumbeat of
war to a new world, where a man's worth is
measured by what he himself is, and not by what
his ancestors have been.



ROEDEL, Henry Heisler,

Physician, Financier.

To reach the age of eighty years is not
an unusual achievement among men, but to



822



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



reach that age and retain the vigor of mid-
dle age, marks Dr. Roedel as a wonderful
man mentally and physically. The begin-
ning of his life was as remarkable as his
latter career, for at the age of three years
he began attending what might be called
a kindergarten school. Thus his active life
covers a period of seventy-seven years, and
its fruition is not yet reached.

Dr. Henry Heisler Roedel, born at Leb-
anon, Pennsylvania, June 14, 1832, is a
son of P. Jacob and Justina (Diller) Roedel,
the former a shoe manufacturer. During
the Mexican war he contracted with the
United States government to furnish the
army with shoes, a contract that was
honorably fulfilled by Mr. Roedel. As
stated, Dr. Roedel began attending school at
the age of three, spent about one year in
the public school, and then studied under
private tutelage until fifteen; after an in-
terim of three years he returned to the
Lebanon Academy, preparatory to going to
Gettysburg. He developed tubercular
symptoms, and under medical advice, for
the time abandoned the college course con-
templated, and was sent into the western
part of the State, where at Coleraine Forges
and Tyrone, in two years' time, all tuber-
cular symptoms subsided. He returned to
Lebanon, entered the office of Dr. Cyrus D.
Gloninger, and graduated at the University
of Pennsylvania in 1857.

His father, desirous of retaining him at
home, purchased half an interest in George
Waltz's large bookstore, which was con-
ducted by Waltz & Roedel for upwards of
six years. A very promising offer from
Shorb, Stewart & Company, his former em-
ployers when living among the mountains,
induced him to consider the matter seri-
ously. His father furnished these firms
with many goods during the year (Mrs.
Shorb was his grandmother's sister) ; in
fact, the offer was so liberal that his father
even thought it should be accepted, so with
his consent Dr. Roedel moved to Tyrone,
Blair county, Pennsylvania. The firm more



than redeemed their promise. He spent
nearly six years in this community and
while they were very laborious, they were
very satisfactory, being both pecuniarily and
professionally successful. During this
period a fellow practitioner lay sick for
quite a while; during it he attended to his
practice; later another died, causing more
work to fall into his hands. No one could
be found to settle the estate. Out of sym-
pathy for the widow, who was a daughter
of a physician of Pittsburgh, he undertook
to settle the estate, though obliged to give
$20,000 security, and after considerable time
it was done very satisfactorily to the family.
The added labor began to tell. The tax was
too great. He left the field very reluctantly,
having made many warm friends ; he had
organized the first Lutheran congregation
here, which built a church and purchased
a parsonage ; and introduced a method by
which the parsonage would be paid for in
five years, and the church was free of debt
when dedicated.

His father again came to the rescue, tell-
ing him to come to Lebanon, take charge of
the store, and half of the income should be
his, without investing a penny. Remaining
in this capacity nearly three years, one day
his father remarked he thought he had
better "put up his shingle" again, as he
was out of the store more than in. Quite
a number of physicians had died during
his absence, and there seemed to be a want
which he undertook to fill. Dr. Reidnaur
had always been his father's family phy-
sician, and they were close neighbors. He
was married to Dr. Roedel's mother-inr
law's sister, and had three sons, the oldest
on his way from Gettysburg being drowned
at Harrisburg. The second lost his life from
an infected wound obtained in the dissecting
room ; the youngest, after graduation and a
trip to medical schools in Europe, upon his
return obtained a large practice. An acute
attack of pneumonia carried him off; and
his mother had preceded them in death.

After his father's death in 1888, Dr.



823



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



Roedel succeeded him as director in the
Lebanon National Bank, and as treasurer
and secretary of the Berks & Dauphin Turn-
pike Road Company, and settled his estate.
He took charge of his brother Jacob's estate,
the latter being an epileptic and disqualified
from doing business for himself ; became
his partner in business until his brother's
death, and then settled his estate. It took
Dr. Hare, rector of St. Luke's Episcopal
Church, more than an hour to persuade him
that it was his duty to become a member of
the medical staff of the Good Samaritan
Hospital. He thought younger men should
do the work and shoulder the responsibility.
So the Good Samaritan Hospital, originat-
ing in a small house, with cramped quarters,
by its efficiency and successful treatment of
the sick and maimed, overcame the pre-
judices of its enemies, that its coming gave
rise to, that it was just another name for
a poor house, the small beginning has by its
earnest friends been replaced by the very
creditable building, now occupied, and fur-
nished with all the conveniences desirable.
In 1903 Dr. Roedel, with A. B. Gloninger,
one of the surgeons, thinking their days of
usefulness in the Good Samaritan Hospital
had ceased, established the Lebanon Sana-
torium. From the annual report issued they
are assured that their leaving was not de-
trimental to it, but that it is still growing in
favor ; while the more than two thousand
surgical and medical cases treated, with the
more than six thousand office patients
treated at the Lebanon Sanatorium, proves
that the change was timely, progressive and
profitable.

At no time were the two above named
institutions rivals, because, based upon op-
posite principles — ^tlie former upon an
eleemosynary basis, fairly well sustained by
the citizens and with the aid of the common-
wealth's semi-annual appropriations, en-
abling it to make both ends meet ; the latter,
upon the supposition that the community
was not only able but willing to pay for
medical and surgical services privately



rendered at home. Hence in the new enter-
prise, wards were supplanted by separate
rooms in which patients could have the
privacy of a home, and might be attended
by their own family physician, if desirable.
The result proved the correctness of the
originators' method. Quite a number of per-
sons, who had been restored patients, prac-
tically demonstrated their gratitude by fur-
nishing rooms in the sanatorium.



Online LibraryJohn W. (John Woolf) JordanEncyclopedia of Pennsylvania biography : illustrated (Volume 3) → online text (page 18 of 58)