John W. (John Woolf) Jordan.

Encyclopedia of Pennsylvania biography : illustrated (Volume 3) online

. (page 21 of 58)
Online LibraryJohn W. (John Woolf) JordanEncyclopedia of Pennsylvania biography : illustrated (Volume 3) → online text (page 21 of 58)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

pathy. In politics he is independent ; while
always interested in matters of public im-
portance, he has never sought office.

He married, June 20, 1901, Clara C,
daughter of Rev. Horatio W. and Mary
(McGinnis) Brown, of Wooster, Ohio.
They are members of the First United Pres-
byterian Church, in which Dr. Miller is an
elder. He is active in church and Sunday
school work, a man of excellent reputation,
highly esteemed as a citizen and as a man.

SAUL, Charles R.,

President of the "Columbia Storage Ware-
houses," Incorporated.

According to family records, the Saul
family has been in this country for nearly
two hundred years. It was of that sturdy
German immigration which contributed so
largely to the development of Pennsylvania,
coming immediately after the English
Quaker colonists who came with Penn.
They gave their name to Germantown, in
the outskirts of Philadelphia, hence they
dispersed throughout the interior. As early
as 1725 there were 50,000 German settlers
in the province, and twenty-five years later
they constituted one-third of the entire
population. For some time they were
averse to participation in political affairs,
and on that account were overshadowed by

the English Quakers. Conditions changed,
however, and in subsequent years they be-
came a controlling political power, and for
years it was a common remark that "as the
Germans vote, so goes the State." But it
must be said that in whatever period in the
history of the commonwealth, the German
influence was ever for the pubhc welfare,
and well ordered personal lives.

The Saul family emigrated from Ger-
many to Pennsylvania about 1720, settling
first near Philadelphia but came to Berks
county in the latter part of the eighteenth
century, since which time the name has been
frequent, in Maiden Creek and Maxataw-
ney townships.

Jacob Saul, born in Maiden Creek town-
ship, in 1829, died in Leesport, Berks
county, in 1882. He was for many years
a trusted employee of the Schuylkill Canal
Company, having charge of the locks and
collecting the tolls for canal boat passage in
the section of which Leesport was the
principal point. He married, in Berks
county, Mary Catherine Barlet, and left
surviving issue: Martha, who married
Isaac P. Merkel ; Sallie who married
Charles Schlear; and Charles Reuben.

Charles Reuben Saul, son of Jacob and
Mary Catherine (Barlet) Saul, was born at
Leesport, Berks county, Pennsylvania, Au-
gust 18, 1855. He was educated in the pub-
lic schools there, and received a commercial
training in a business college in Reading,
Pennsylvania. He entered upon business
life as bookkeeper for J. L. Stichter & Son,
in Reading, proprietors of what was widely
known as "The Old White Store," on the
site of an old Indian trading post conducted
by Conrad Weiser. After continuing in
that occupation for about eight years, Mr.
Saul located in New York City, where he
engaged in the produce commission busi-
ness. Later he established the Clinton Stor-
age Warehouses at Thirty-fifth street, near
Second avenue. In 1891 he greatly ex-
panded his business by the establishment of
the Columbia Storage Warehouses at



Columbus avenue and Sixty-seventh street,
and in 1900 the business was incorporated
as the "Columbia Storage Warehouses,"
with Mr. Saul as president, a position which
he has continuously occupied to the present
time, and with entire success, the establish-
ment comprising five large storage ware-
houses, and one of the largest in the city
of New York.

Mr. Saul is also actively identified with
various financial and commercial institu-
tions; he is a member of the directorate of
the Gotham National Bank of New York
City ; and is a member and former president
of the New York Furniture Warehouse-
men's Association. He is a member of the
Methodist Episcopal Church, and vice-
president of the City Society of the Meth-
odist Church of New York, and a member
of the Board of Foreign Missions of the
Church. His active support is given to
numerous educational and humanitarian in-
stitutions. He is a trustee of Drew Sem-
inary, at Carmel ; a member of the board
of managers and also treasurer of the New
York Deaconess Home and Training
School; and a member of the Society for
the Prevention of Crime. He is also a
member of the Pennsylvania Society in
New York City. In politics he is a Re-
publican of the best type, ever consistently
upholding lofty ideals of political conduct
and public service.

Mr. Saul married, at Reading, Pennsyl-
vania, September 5, 1878, Ahce Stroud,
born in Berks county, daughter of Edward
and Susan (Hetrich) Stroud. Child of
Mr. and Mrs. Saul: Lulu Mabel, born in
Reading, Pennsylvania; married Charles S.
Montgomery; children, born in New York
City: Alice G. Montgomery, in 1896, and
Katharine Smith Montgomery, in 191 3.

HARDEST, Thomas S.,

IiOwyeT, Jurist.

The life of Judge Thomas S. Hargest, of
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is one of which

he may justly feel proud in every relation
of life. His ancestral history is of con-
siderable antiquity, and is English in both
paternal and maternal lines. His father,
William E. Hargest, was born in 1819 and
died November 11, 1872. He married
Rachel A. Taylor, who was born in 1827,
and died in Harrisburg at the age of eighty
years. They had children : Henry C. ;
William E. ; Taylor Filmore ; Mary, who
married Charles H. Kemp; Rose Albia,
who married Charles Raymond ; John
James, married (first) Susan E. Zarker,
(second) Mary K. Whiteman; Jefferson
S. ; Thomas S.

Judge Thomas S. Hargest was born in
Baltimore county, Maryland, November 24,
1846, and his early education was acquired
in the public schools located near his home.
All of his spare time was devoted to assist-
ing his father in the cultivation of the
market garden of the latter, getting this
produce ready for the market, and helping
to transport it there. When he was four-
teen years of age his parents removed with
their family to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania,
where they were occupied in the same man-
ner as they had been in Maryland. The
farm on which the family located in Harris-
burg was in the eastern portion of the city,
and the present residence of Judge Hargest
is situated upon a portion of it. In the
latter part of 1863, when he was but seven-
teen years of age, young Hargest collected
a company of about thirty men, obtained
military transportation for them to Wash-
ington, District of Columbia, and upon his
arrival there, entered the Union army as a
wagonmaster. Later he was appointed
transportation clerk in the depot of the
Quartermaster's Department, at Charles-
ton, West Virginia; and in the fall and
winter of 1864 as assistant-brigade wagon-
master, at Martinsburg, West Virginia, he
furnished supplies to Sheridan's Army, then
located in the Shenandoah Valley. On May
I, 1865, he was discharged from military
service at Stephenson's Station, Virginia.




During this period of military activity he
had become acquainted with Hfe in the more
southerly States, and decided to make his
home there. He accordingly located in
Winchester, Virginia, and there commenced
the study of law, in which he won so en-
viable a reputation subsequently. He had
no preceptor, but he invested his savings
in the books needful for the carrying out
of his plan, and his determination and am-
bition, combined with an unusually level
head, enabled him to carry out his purpose
to a successful issue. August 6, 1867, after
a personal examination before two of the
circuit court judges — Judge Richard
Parker, who had presided at the trial of the
famous John Brown, and Judge John T.
Harris, who subsequently represented the
Virginia Valley of the Shenandoah in Con-
gress — he was admitted to the bar, and be-
came a leader in the legal fraternity in that
section of the country. In 1868 Judge Har-
gest was appointed commonwealth attorney
for Shenandoah county, Virginia, in place
of Hon. Mark Bird who, although elected
by the people of the county, was incapaci-
tated by the fourteenth amendment to the
Constitution of the United States. Judge
Hargest made Mr. Bird his deputy, and
gave him the fees and emoluments of the
office. After the retirement of Judge John
T. Harris, Judge Hargest was appointed
early in the year 1869 a judge of the
Twelfth Judicial Circuit Court of Virginia,
by the then military governor of the State,
General E. R. S. Canby, who was murdered
by Captain Jack, the Indian chief. Until
the admission of the State to representation
in Congress, he also served as judge of the
District Court of Appeals, and his sterling
integrity and strict sense of justice gained
him the approbation of all. Upon his re-
turn to Winchester, Virginia, he resumed
his law practice there, and continued this
until the death of his father late in 1872,
when he removed to Harrisburg, Pennsyl-
vania, which has been his home since that
time. He was elected city solicitor of

Harrisburg in 1876, and was continuously
re-elected to that office until his retirement
from it in 1890, at which time he resumed
his general practice of the law. Numerous
important cases have been entrusted to him,
among them being a number against the
street railway companies, in which he de-
fended the rights of the city, and gained his
points. Judge Hargest is a member of Post
No. 58, Grand Army of the Republic, of
Harrisburg. He recollects with pride hav-
ing been present at a public reception
tendered by President Lincoln, January i,
1S64, at Washington, District of Columbia.
All his life he has given his active support
to the principles of the Republican party,
deeming them the best for the general good
of the community.

Judge Hargest married, April 3, 1867,
at Winchester, Virginia, Virginia, a daugh-
ter ot William and Harriet Diefifenderfer,
of German ancestry but born in Virginia ;
Mrs. Hargest died at Harrisburg, August
13, 1886. Children: William M., an at-
torney of Harrisburg, who has held profes-
sional official position for a number of
years, married Oara Gallien ; lone Leila,
married E. L. King, an attorney of Harris-
burg. Broadminded and liberal in his
ideas. Judge Hargest has been a leading
spirit in many projects which were greatly
to the benefit of the city.

FLINN, William.

Man of Affairs, Public Ofadal.

Hon. William Flinn, president and chair-
man of the firm of Booth & Flinn, Limited,
contractors, has been for many years a
prominent factor in the business world and
in the political arena of Pennsylvania. As
State Senator and member of the House oV
Representatives, Mr. Flinn has accom-
plished much for the welfare of the Com-
monwealth, and in local politics as well as
in business his influence has always been
exerted for the progress and improvement
of his home city.



William Flinn was born May 26, 1851,
in Manchester, England. His parents were
both natives of Ireland. The year of his
birth, his parents emigrated to the United
States, settling in Pittsburgh, where his
father became a well known citizen. The
boy William attended the city schools until
the age of nme years, but though his life in
the class-room ended so early he never
abandoned the quest of knowledge, and few
men have a wider range of general infor-
mation. After leaving school the lad was
variously employed in the brickyards until
he became old enough to be apprenticed to
the trade of brass finishing and gas and
steam fitting. At the expiration of his
time, with that aggressiveness which has
ever characterized him, he became a con-
tractor. From the beginning he was suc-
cessful, and in 1877 formed a partnership
with James J. Booth, under the firm name
of Booth & FHnn, Limited. The enterprise
prospered, and the concern is today engaged
in general contracting of all kinds, many of
the largest undertakings ever successfully
carried out in the history of constructive
work about Pittsburgh and in many other
sections of the United States being placed
to its credit. Of the construction of the
Mount Washington tunnel (which created a
new residence district for Pittsburgh in
which thousands of workers in the city have
found homes but fifteen or twenty minutes
from the business centre), it may be said,
without exaggeration that this masterpiece
of construction was practically the means
of creating new towns, and the strength of
intellect and tenacity of purpose possessed
by William Flinn were the agents chiefly
instrumental in its execution.

In the conduct of his various enterprises
Mr. Flinn has proved himself to be en-
dowed with the power of handling large
bodies of men and of co-ordinating their
energies with skill and efficiency, at the
same time avoiding the error into which a
man of weaker brain and smaller heart
would inevitable fall — that of regarding his

employes merely as parts of a great
machine. On the contrary, he recognizes
their individuality, making it a rule that
faithful and efficient service shall be
promptly rewarded with promotion as op-
portunity offers, a fact which has had no
small share in determining his phenomenal
success. His clear andi far-seeing mind
enables him to grasp every detail of a pro-
ject, however great in magnitude, and this,
combined with his marvelous facility in
tlie dispatch of business, has made it pos-
sible for him to accept a number of re-
sponsible positions in different industrial
and financial organizations. He is pres-
ident and director of the Duquesne Lumber
Company, the Pittsburgh Lumber Company,
and the Pittsburgh Silver Peak Gold Min-
ing Company ; vice-president and director
of the .Sharon Water Works Company; and
a director of the Arkansas Fuel Oil Com-
pany, the Arkansas Natural Gas Company,
the Gulf Oil Corporation, the Manufactur-
ers' Light and Heat Company, and the
Pittsburgh Coal Company.

As a citizen with exalted ideas of good
government and civic virtue, Mr. Flinn
stands in the front rank, and wherever sub-
stantial aid will further public progress it
is freely given. Ever ready to respond to
any deserving call made upon him, no good
work done in the name of charity or re-
ligion seeks his co-operation in vain. He is
vice-president and trustee of the Elizabeth
Steel Magee Hospital, a director and mem-
ber of the executive committee of the West-
ern Pennsylvania Hospital, a member of the
advisory board of the Indtistrial Home for
Crippled Children, and a director of the
Pittsburgh R-Iaternity Dispensary. He be-
longs to the Duquesne and Union clubs.

In early manhood Mr. Flinn became ac-
tively interested in politics, but has only
once consented to hold office in the munic-
ipalit)^ that instance having occurred in
1877, when he was elected to the board of
Fire Commissioners. For many years he
has been a recognized power in the Re-



publican party, being invariably consulted in
regard to all questions of moment. His
public spirit and rapidity of judgment have
enabled him in the midst of incessant busi-
ness activity to give to the affairs of the
community effort and counsel of genuine
value, and his penetrating thought has often
added wisdom to public movements. From
1879 to 1881 he was a member of the
House of Representatives, and from 1884
to 1912 he served as a delegate to Repub-
lican national conventions. In i8go he was
elected to the State Senate, and in 1894 and
1898 received the tribute of re-elections.
While at Harrisburg, Mr. Flinn was a most
important factor in legislation. He was the
author of the famous "good-roads law,"
which has proved of such signal benefit to
the State. He is an excellent public
speaker, being versatile, logical and enter-
taining. For twenty years Mr. Flinn has
been chairman of the Republican City
Executive Committee of Pittsburgh, and in
this position his wide knowledge of muni-
cipal affairs, combined with his capable and
faithful discharge of duty, has made his
services particularly valuable.

A genial man of optimistic spirit, the
briefest conversation with Mr. Flinn re-
veals his ability and the versatility of his
talents. Mentally and physically he is on
a large scale. Six feet in height and weigh-
ing two hundred pounds, he is in every
sense a formidable antagonist and a well-
nigh invincible champion. He is a known
quantity, with a genius for leadership, and
it is said of him that "his headquarters are
where he is" — a sentence which aptly de-
scribes the man. It may be said, too, that
he has won by original ideas, whether it be
in business or politics. His self-reliance
never fails him and his accurate knowledge
of men has enabled him to fill the various
branches of his business with assistants who
seldom fail to meet his expectations. His
keen eyes, which send their searching glance
through eye-glasses with a power which
seems to pierce the very souls of those whom

he addresses, are yet kindly in expression,
and his manner, quick and decisive though
it be, is invariably courteous. Absolute
honesty, unflagging interest in a multitude
of different activities, a sense of humor,
rare social tact and an unaffected liking for
his fellow-beings — these are the traits which
have made William Flinn what he is — one
of the most popular men in the city of Pitts-
burgh or the State of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Flinn married, in 1874, Nancy Gal-
braith, and they are the parents of the fol-
lowing children: George H., Ralph E., W.
A., Alexander R., Mary S., and Edith G.
A man of strong domestic tastes and affec-
tions, Mr. Flinn is devoted to his home and
family. "Braemar," his beautiful residence
in the East End, is a center of hospitality
and the scene of many social functions.
The whole family are extremely popular in
Pittsburgh society.

William Flinn is a man whose person-
ality, in combination with his record as
a business man and political leader, re-
calls the imposing figures of the old-time
Pittsburghers — those pioneers who laid the
strong foundation on which has risen the
fair fabric of the present prosperity and
prestige of the Iron City. He is one of the
men who do large things. Both industrially
and politically he may be called one of the
makers, not of Pittsburgh alone, but also of
Western Pennsylvania. Summoned by the
Keystone State to serve her in positions of
public trust, he has ably and faithfully ful-
filled her behests, and there is little doubt
that in the coming years she will require
him to assume still greater responsibilities.


(Compiled from Family and Official Records by
Harris Elric Sproat, Westtown, Ches-
ter County, Pennsylvania).

The name of "Sproat" is Danish ; in earlier
centuries it has been written "Sproutt" and
"Sprout," but during the past two centuries

Robert Sproat — Ancestry: Son of Sir



James Sproat, knighted during the reign of
Queen Ehzabeth. This arms granted and
confirmed 1581 to Sir James Sproat, of
Kelfield, in the county of York, England,
Knight or descendant of Elrick of Scot-
land. Arms, viz. : "He beareth azure three
leopard faces or in chief, argent three mul-
letts sable. Crest — On a wreath, or, boar's
head carped." (Note ancient seal in the fam-
ily). Descent from "Elric" and "Sproat,"
who settled in the East Riding of York at
the invasion of England by William the
Conqueror (see Domesday Book).

Personal — After leaving England he first
settled in Jamaica, W. I., then came to
America and acquired land in Duxbury,
1634; at Scituate, 1660; also at Middleboro,
Massachusetts. (References, viz. : Hist, of
Duxbury, by Winsor, page 320; Savage's
Dictionary First Settlers of New England,
vol. iv, page 158; Hist, of Scituate, Mass.,
page 340, by Deane). Died at his home in
Middleboro, Massachusetts, in 1712. His
will, among other children, mentions Eben-
ezer. Will dated 23rd November, 171 1, pro-
bated December nth, 1712. Reg. vol. 3,
page 222, Plymouth County Registry of

Married Elizabeth (died after 23rd Nov.,
171 1 ), daughter of Henry Sampson, passen-
ger in the "May Flower," arrived at Cape
Cod, November 21st, 1620. Who married,
February 6th, 1636, Ann Plummer. Will
of Henry Sampson mentions his daughter,
Elizabeth Sproat (see will and inventory
recorded Plymouth Colony Wills & Inven-
tories, vol. 4, part 2, page 94-95). (Refer-
ences, viz. : The May Flower Descendants,
vol. 2, Apr., 1900, No. 2, page 119, vol. 2,
July, 1900, No. 3, page 142, vol. 4, part 2,
pages 94-95. The Pilgrim Republic, by God-
win, pages 184-187-294. Bradford's Hist,
of Plimoth Plantations, pages 532-537. Sav-
age's Die. First Settlers of New England,
vol. 4, page 10. Ancient Landmarks of
Plymouth, by Davis, part I, page 221, part
II, page 226. Hist, of Duxbury, by Win-
sor, pages 67-90-240-300-348) . Issue — Eight

children, viz. : ist, Marcy, born 1661 ; 2nd,
Elizabeth, born 1664; 3rd, Mary, born 1666;
4th, Robert, born 1669, died June, 1690,
in Expedition to Canada; 5th, Anne, born
1671 ; 6th, James, born 1673 ; 7th, Ebenezer
(see below) ; 8th, Hannah.

Lieutenant Ebenezer Sproat — Ancestry:
Seventh child of Robert Sproat (see above).
Personal: Born 1676, Scituate, Massachu-
setts ; resided at Scituate and Middleboro,
Massachusetts. Died September 20th, 1726,
in 52nd year. His tombstone at Old Ceme-
tery at the Green, Middleboro, Massachu-
setts. His will, dated 8th September, 1726,
mentions wife Experience, and among other
children his son James (see below). For
references see under Robert Sproat (above
mentioned). Married Experience Hawes,
died November 9th, 1758, in her 74th year.
Her tombstone in Old Cemetery at the
Green, !\Iiddleboro, Massachusetts. Issue^ —
Five children, viz.: ist. Thankful, born
1705; 2nd, Abigail, born 1709; 3rd, Mary;
4th, James (see below) ; 5th, Ebenezer, died
1-23-1786, height 6ft. 4in., colonel during
revolution, aide to General Washington at
Cambridge, captain 1766- 1775; a selectman
in Middleboro, 1748; town clerk, seven
years ; town treasurer, two years ; repre-
sentative, 1755-1774; justice of the peace,
1775; major of First Regiment at com-
mencement of Revolution (see Hist, of
Middleboro, Town Records of Middle-
boro). He had issue, four children, viz.:
(a) Ebenezer Sproat, born 1752, died 1805;
he was uncommonly tall ; a colonel in the
militia. When the British took possession of
Newport he performed a tour of duty with
his regiment. He was the first sheriff of
Washington county. Territory Northwest of
the Ohio, and held that office fourteen years
consecutively. Named by the Indians "He-
tuck," i. e., "The Buckeye." (b) Thomas
Sproat, lieutenant, (c) James Sproat, a
lawyer at Taunton, (d) Samuel Sproat,
died 1816.

Rev. James Sproat, D. D. — Ancestry:
Fourth child of Lieut. Ebenezer Sproat (see



above). Personal: Born Scituate, Massa-
chusetts, Apr. nth, 1721, O. S. Graduated
at Yale College, 1741 ; converted to Chris-
tianity under the preaching of Rev. Gilbert
Tennant. Studied theology under Mr. Ed-
wards, who was afterwards president. De-
gree of Doctor of Divinity by the College
of New Jersey in 1780. Pastor at Guilford,
Connecticut, 1743 to 1769, and at Second
Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, from
1769-1793. At the breaking out of the
Revolution he went into the Continental
service as chaplain in the Army Hospital.
He died October i8th, 1793, 73rd year, of
yellow fever ; buried Laurel Hill Cemetery,
Philadelphia. His will mentions his wife
Sarah, and among other children his son
William (see below). (References, viz.:
Annals of American Pulpit, by Sprague,
vol. 3, page 125; Harper's for Sept., 1885;
Amer. Biog. Die, 1857, by William Allen,
D. D. ; The New and the Old, 1743-1876,
by E. R. Beadle, 2nd Presby. Ch. ; Encyclo-
paedia of the Presbyterian Church, by Al-
fred Nevin, D. D., LL. D., page 852; His-
tory of Guilford and Madison, Conn., by
Steiner, pages 328-329-331-337-339-407)-

Married Sarah, died 11-14-1793, 72nd
year, daughter of Major William Smith, the
son of Chief Justice William Smith, at one
time governor of Tangiers, appointed by
Charles II. (References: Thompson's Hist.
L. I., vol. 2, page 442; Colonial Hist. New
York, vol. 3, pages 417-420-664-685-767-
818, vol. 4, pages 25-284-442-535-769-821-
849-857-863-868-1137, vol. 5, page 107).
Issue — Six children, viz.: ist, Hannah,
married Rev. Isaac Keith ; 2nd, Olive, died

Online LibraryJohn W. (John Woolf) JordanEncyclopedia of Pennsylvania biography : illustrated (Volume 3) → online text (page 21 of 58)