John W. (John Woolf) Jordan.

Genealogical and personal history of western Pennsylvania; (Volume 2) online

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Western Pennsylvania



Librarian of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Editor of "Penn-
sylvania Magazine of History and Biography"; author of various historical works.







• lied young. 8. Lillie A., born February 4, 1833. 9. Rachel, born May
28, 1835 ; became the wife of Robert S. P. McCall, and now resides in
Tarentum, honored and esteemed by all who have the honor of her ac-

The prosperity of a community depends largely upon its in-
TREES habitants, who are responsible to a certain extent in its progress
and development, and among those who have been active fac-
tors in the development of the town of Brackenridge must be mentioned
John F. Trees, the genial and popular proprietor of Hotel Trees, the leading
hostelry of that place.

(I) Joseph Trees, grandfather of John F. Trees, was a native of
England, in which country he was reared and received his education, com-
ing to this country in manhood, and settling in Allegheny county, Penn-
.sylvania, in 1816. He followed his trade of miller in Westmoreland county,
near Belmont, earning a lucrative livelihood. His wife, who was a native
of England, bore him five sons : John, Joseph, Isaac, James, Levi, all of
whom followed the trades of millwright and miller with the exception of
James, who was an attorney.

(H) Levi Trees, son of Joseph Trees, was a native of New Salem,
Westmoreland county. Pennsylvania, died near Saltsburg. Indiana county.
Pennsylvania. He was a miller by trade and was the proprietor of a flour
mill at Saltsburg, Indiana county, Pennsylvania, which he operated success-
fully for many years, deriving therefrom a goodly income. He was a mem-
ber of the Presbyterian Church, as was also his wife and children, and was a
Democrat in politics. He married Julia Jamison, born in Indiana county,
Pennsylvania, March 27, 1829, daughter of Major Samuel S. Jamison, who
served in the War of 1812, and who was a contractor and drover, con-
tracting for the first railroad bridge at Saltsburg. one-half mile long, timber
all hewed from pine trees. He died about the year 1876, aged eighty-two
years. He and his wife were the parents of six children : John C. de-
ceased, who was a real estate man of Pittsburgh ; Benton, deceased, who
was a banker of Philadelphia, and a coal operator; Samuel S., a merchant;
Evaline, deceased; Julia, aforementioned as the wife of Levi Trees; Mary.
Children of Mr. and Mrs. Trees : Samuel, deceased ; Sarah, James, Thomas,
Lina, John F., Harry, Asa Packer.

(Ill) John F. Trees, son of Levi Trees, was born in Saltsburg, In-
diana county, Pennsylvania, September 29. 1866. He attended the public
schools of Saltsburg until seventeen years of age, thus gaining a thorough
and practical education, after which he served an apprenticeship at the
trade of carpenter, which line of work he followed for some time after
becoming a journeyman, and in 1887 took up his residence in Tarentum,
Pennsylvania, where he was engaged in the restaurant business until 1901,
during which time he acquired a thorough knowledge of that art, and the
success which attended his efforts prompted him to attempt larger enter-


jnises, and accordingly he erected a hotel at Brackenridge, which he named
Jlotel Trees, and of which he has since been the successful proprietor, also
owner of the building. The extensive patronage accorded him speaks well
for his excellent management, he devoting his entire attention to looking
after the comfort and pleasure of his many patrons, who are unanimous
in their praise of hun as a host. Mr. Trees casts his vote for the candidates
of the Republican party, but has never aspired to public office, preferring
to give his undivided attention to his business pursuits. He is a member
of Tarentum Lodge, No. 644, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks,
of Tarentum.

Air. Trees married, February 21, 1901, Sarah F. Frampton, of Taren-
tum, Pennsylvania. They are the parents of one child, Martha E., born
September 9, 1908.

Son of parents who were natives of Pennsylvania, VVil-
RODGERS Ham Adams Rodgers, son of James Rodgers, was born
near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, October 18, 1816. Upon
attaining man's estate he was captain of a canal boat on the Ohio river, then
became connected with the iron and steel manufacturing industry. He
moved to Parker, Pennsylvania, where his parents are buried, and he became
manager of a furnace, later accepting a similar position near Canton, Ohio,
in the employ of Peter Grafif. Soon after the death of Mr. Grafif, he moved
to Monongahela City, Washington county, Pennsylvania, and for a time
engaged in coal dealing, later managing several furnaces, one in Paulding
county, Ohio, another in Latonia, Ohio. One of his business connections
was with the Rochester Plow Factory, of Rochester, Pennsylvania, of which
he was president, and in 1862 he moved to Bellevue. Pennsylvania, pur-
chasing eight acres of land. He became the owner of considerable more
property in this place, and was a man of prominence, one of the streets
of Bellevue bearing his name, and there he lived until his death, in De-
cember, 1872. He was a man well favored by nature with pleasing personal
attributes, possessing many friends, and by those who knew him only in
business relations he was rightly adjudged a man of sound and upright
principle, from which deviation was an unknown thing. He was a Re-
publican in political faith, and although reared in the Methodist Episcopal
faith, in later life turned to the Catholic religion. He was prominently
identified with the Masonic order.

Mr. Rodgers married Mary Davis, who survived him five years, dying
in August, 1877. Children of William Adams and Mary (Davis) Rodger'-.
I. James Alexander, died in infancy. 2. Alexander Hawthorne, died in
1880, aged thirty-six years. 3. George W., died aged forty-five years. 4.
Frank J., died in Bellevue, Pennsylvania, August 28, 1914. aged sixty-
sevv.n years. 5. Robert E.. lives in Bellevue. Pennsylvania, aged sixty-five
years. 6. Mary, since 1863 has lived in the family home, which she recently
-sold. 7. William H., died aged twenty-eight years. 8. Thomas C, resides


in Bellevue, Pennsylvania, aged fifty-eight years. <j. Martha C, married
Thomas P. Fhnn, of VVellsville, Ohio.

Three generations of tliis branch of tlie JingHsh family
ENGLISH have resided in the United States, the ancestor, Samuel
English, coming to Pennsylvania from county Tyrone. Ire-
land, in 1823, settling first in Philadelphia, later in Allegheny county, where
his son, John English, and his grandson, y\ndre\v liowers English, have
succeeded him. The present representative of the family. Andrew Bowers
English, is one of tiie veteran farmers and veterinary ~urgeon- of .Al-
legheny county, now living retired at Mars. Pennsylvania.

(I) Samuel I^iglish married, in Ireland, Elizabeth McLane. and in
1823 came to the United States, settling in Philadelpliia. loiter he journeyed
westward, finding a home at Evergreen. Allegheny county. Pennsylvania,
but moving to Pine township in 1841, there purchasing a farm that he
cleared and improved and on which he lived until his death at age of
eighty-seven years. He was a man of means and education, fond of travel.
and during his life in the United States revisited Europe on three occa-
sions. On his return from his last journey abroad he landed in Canada
and for pure pleasure made the trip to Pittsburgh, overland, walking most
of the way. He did not engage in any business in this country, but man-
aged his farming and clearing operations as overseer only. Children :
Alexander, James, Samtuel, Elizabeth, Jane. Mary. John, Andrew, Margaret.

(II) John English, son of Samuel and El'zabeth (McLane) Engli>h.
was born in county Tyrone, Ireland, in 1809. He attended school in Ire-
land until fourteen years of age, then came with his parents to Philadelphia.
Peimsylvania, there completing his education and learning his trade with
John Bowers, confectioner and baker. He worked with Mr. Bowers until
the latter's death in Philadelphia in 1830, then continued in the employ
of the widow, who succeeded to the business and eventually he married
Eliza, daughter of his employer, and engaged in business for himself. In
1841 he moved to Western Pennsylvania, locating in Allegheny City ( Pitts-
burgh. North Side), where he was one of the first members of the regular
city police force and held a position in the state penitentiary. In 1848.
owing to ill health, he was obliged to forsake city life and purchasing fifty
acres in Pine township, Allegheny county, resided thereon for several years.
Later he moved to Butler county, where he owned and operated a farm
of two hundred and twenty-five acres. Later he returned to Allegheny
county and with his wife passed his last years at the home of his son,
Andrew Bowers English, who had been left a widower. He enlisted with
his son. John, in the Union army under President Lincoln's first call for
"three months"' men. but did not see much active service. He mirried
Eliza Bowers, of Philadelphia, daughter of John and Rosana ( Bloom)
Bowers. John Bowers was of prominent German ancestry, a soldier of
the W^ar of 1812. and was one of the leading confectioners, caterers and


bakers of Philadelphia. Rosana (Bloom) Bowers was born in Center
county, Pennsylvania, of German parentage, and as Mrs. Bowers was very
prominent in Philadelphia, and during the Jackson campaign she superin-
tended several great feasts prepared by his adherents. At one of these
was served an immense bear, as the "piece de resistance," roasted whole,
another time a bufifalo was furnished to the crowd, and at a third gather-
ing a large ox was roasted for the entertainment of the enthusiastic demo-
cracy. John and Rosana (Bloom) Bowers had children: Eliza, married
John English, John, died young, George, Samuel, Christian, Susanna, John
(3), Andrew. Children of John and Eliza (Bowers) English: Samuel
John, served in the Civil War; Andrew Bowers, of further mention;
Alexander, served four years in the Union army ; Elizabeth McLane, John
Bowers, Samuel, Hugh Craig, Mary Jane, James Thompson, Margaret
Logan, Sarah Bell, Matilda Stanton.

(Ill) Andrew Bowers English, son of John and Eliza (Bowers) Eng-
lish, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1839. and was brought to
Pittsburgh North Side (Allegheny City) by his parents, May 4, 1843. He
could read even at that early age, and for the next four years was in-
structed in the public schools. He continued his studies in the country
schools and at an older age read medicine with a local doctor, intending to
become a physician. In 1862-63-64 he taught in public schools and also
taught singing schools. At the age of twenty-eight years he established a
general store at Five Points, near Mars, Pennsylvania, which business three
years later he sold to his brother, Hugh Craig English. After his marriage
in 1871 he purchased a farm of seventy-two acres near Mars, on which
he yet resides. After farming exclusively for a few years, he began prac-
ticing as a veterinarian, the medical study of former years having been
supplemented by study and by practice in a small way on his own and neigh-
bors' stock. He became quite famous locally as a horse and cattle doctor,
and until quite recently conducted practice in connection with his farming
operations. He has been a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church
since his youth, and in political faith is a Republican. He has held several
public offices in the township, including that of auditor, and although now
in his seventy-sixth year is well preserved, active and interested in all the
affairs of life.

Mr. English married, March 2, 1871, Lizzie, youngest daughter of
Judge Samuel Marshall. She died June 6, 1888, the mother of five chil-
dren : Daisy Deane, Walter Barr, Margaret Logan, Eliza Bowers, de-
ceased, and Hamilton Crawford. After the death of his wife the parents
of Mr. English returned from Butler county and under the loving care of
their grandmother the children were reared. They yet reside with their
honored father, there being but two vacant places in the family circle,
the mother and daughter, Eliza Bowers English, who died in t888.


The father of George Edward Beck, of this chronicle, John
BECK Jacob Beck, was a native of Germany, and was there educated.

Coming to the United States in young manhood, he became a
carpenter and contractor, afterward speciahzing in the building of furnaces.
About 1870, in partnership with a Mr. Guinner, he accepted a contract
for paving the streets of Sharpsburg, wliich was successfully completed, the
streets of the town being raised about three feet in the course of the opera-
tion. At one time he was assistant manager of the Isabella Blast Furnace>,
resigning that position to continue his independent business dealings, aban-
doning contracting in 1872. Mr. Beck was made a Mason in Allegheny
City (Pittsburgh North Side), and in Etna was, with J. J. Kyle, the or-
ganizer of a lodge of that society, the lodge owning at this time chairs
that he purchased for use in the lodge rooms. In the building of the Smith-
field Street German Lutheran Church he played an important part, H. J.
Heinz also contributing generously to the fund thus employed, and Mr.
Beck and his family were members thereof. He was twice married, his
first wife Catherine , his second Catherine Miller, both natives of Ger-
many. Children of the first marriage of John Jacob Beck : Frederick,
Catherine, Louisa, Gustav, Oscar, Christina, John Jacob, of whom further.
Children of the second marriage of John Jacob Beck : Charles, George
Edward, of whom further, Anna, William, Herman, Carrie.

John Jacob (2) Beck, son of John Jacob (i) and his first wife, Cath-
erine Beck, was born in Manchester (Allegheny City), Allegheny county,
Pennsylvania, in 1864, and was educated in the schools of Sharpsburg, Penn-
sylvania. In this place he learned the trade of butcher, and was thus em-
ployed in Sharpsburg for thirty years. He subsequently became a partner
in the glass business and in December, 1910, succeeded to the offices of
president and general manager, which he now fills. The company is one
of firm founding, ably officered, and has had a successful career, Mr. Beck's
share in its present prosperity one of which he may well be proud. He is
a Republican in politics, and elected on the ticket of that party to the bor-
ough council, he served as a member of that body for six years. He affiliates
with the Methodist Episcopal Church, and fraternizes with the Independent
Order of Odd Fellows and the Masonic Order, in the latter society holding
the thirty-second degree.

George Edward Beck, son of John Jacob and his second wife. Cath-
erine (Miller) Beck, was born in Stewartstown (Etna), Pennsylvania, in
1869. He was educated in the public schools of Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania.
Professor Paulson his instructor. For twelve years he was employed in
the Spang-Chalfante Mills, and in 1901 purchased his present propertv,
the Windsor Hotel, of which he is now proprietor, his business a profitable
and flourishing one. Mr. Beck is a member of the Pittsburgh Automobile
Club, the Schuley National Club, and the Benevolent and Protective Order
of Elks. Politically he is a strong Republican sympathizer, and has been
active in public afl^airs. He married (first) in 1890. Florence Drummond.


(second) Barbara Fischer, of Millvale, Pennsylvania. By his first marriage
he had one child, Levern, deceased, and by his second he has a daughter,
Catherine, living at home.

This name Rights is one of the Anglicized forms of the Ger-
RIGHTS man surname Reitz and prevails quite generally in this branch.

Lawrence Rights, of Bellevue, Pennsylvania, was a son of
Simon and Eva (Nirod) Rights, early settlers of Chambersburg, Pennsyl-
vania, where Simon died. His widow moved to Ohio and there died, aged
nearly one hundred years. Children: Simon, Lawrence, of further men-
tion ; Adam, deceased ; Mary, Elizabeth.

Lawrence Rights was born in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, November
21, 1840. His early years were spent in Ohio with his mother and there
he attended public school until his fifteenth year, when he moved to Pitts-
burgh, making his home with his mother's brother. There he attended the
Iron City Business College. He learned the tinsmith trade, was for twenty-
one years foreman for a large Pittsburgh concern, and a well known master
builder. He was a resident of Bellevue from 1871 until his death in 1899,
owning a comfortable house at No. 90 Sheraden avenue. He served in
the Civil War for three months, was a Republican in politics, and for over
thirty years was a member of Lodge No. 336, Independent Order of Odd
Fellows. He was a Lutheran in his religious faith.

Mr. Rights married, October 12, 1871, Martha Coates, born in Al-
legheny county, Pennsylvania, December 19, 185 1, daughter of Daniel Mat-
thews and Mary Ann (Boneworth) Coates, her father born in Stafiford-
shire, England, January 20, 1815, her mother in Germany, November, 1820.
Daniel M. Coates was a son of John and Ann (Matthews) Coates, of
Shef^eld, England. John Coates came to the United States in 182 1, his
wife and family coming in 1824. They settled in Allegheny, Pennsylvania,
where John and Anna Coates both died, the former August 15, 1855, ^"d
the latter January 22. 1863. Daniel Matthews Coates came to Pittsburgh
when a boy and there li\ed until liis death. May 19, 1880. He was an artist
of unusual talent. He married, in Trinity Church, Pittsburgh, April i,
1836, Mary Ann Boneworth, born in Butterdorf, Germany, died January
4, 1892. Children : John, William, Mary Ann, Anna, Martha, wife of
Lawrence Rights; Sarah, and a son, deceased. All born in Allegheny,
Pennsylvania. Children of Lawrence and Martha (Coates) Rights: i.
Gertrude, died aged four and a half months. 2. Mary Maude, educated in
private school and Avalon High School ; studied music, and later took a
course in music at Wooster University, Ohio, and studied harmony under
Professor Charles M. Boyd ; Miss Rights is now organist of Avalon Trinity
Lutheran Church, and is a well known, accomplished musician. Mrs.
Martha (Coates) Rights continues her residence in Bellevue, she and her
daughter being members of the Limited Presbyterian Church.


Louis Knell, of Bcllcvuc, i'cniisylvania, is a son of John P.
KNELL Knell, born in (ierniany, who in i860 came to Pennsylvania,

settling in Pittsburgh, where he plied his trade of shoemaker.
He operated his own shop and employed several men in caring for his large
trade. His home was in Oakmont, where he died in 1911. He married
(first) Elizabeth Ereedman, born in l^ittsburgh, who bore him three children:
Louis, of further mention; Elizabeth, Rose, lie married (second; Mary
McChesney, who bore him six children: John, Aggie, Harry, Anna, de-
ceased, Ida, George.

Louis Knell was born in Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, May 19,
1865. He was educated in the public schools and spent his earlier years
in that city. Later he was on a farm in Armstrong county for three years,
lived in Verona, Pennsylvania, seventeen years, then returned to Allegheny
county, where he resided until 1898, then moved to Bellevue, Pennsylvania,
where he has since been continuously engaged as a hardware merchant, his
residence being at No. 107 South Harrison avenue. He is a Republican in
politics, a member of Avalon Lodge, No. 657, Free and Accepted Masons;
Bellevue Chapter, No. 287, Royal Arch Masons; Allegheny Commandery,
No. 35, Knights Templar; Bellevue Lodge of Heptasophs ; and was a
charter member of General MtClellan Lodge, No. 150, Junior Order of
United American Mechanics. Both he and his wife are members of the
United Presbyterian Church.

Mr. Knell married, in 1891, Anna Hunter, born in Allegheny county.
Pennsylvania, daughter of John and Mary (Chestman) Hunter, both born
in England, coming to Pittsburgh in 1850. They are both deceased. Chil-
dren of Mr. and Mrs. Hunter: Mary, Elizabeth, John, deceased, Anna,
wife of Louis Knell ; Jennie, deceased, Julia, Laura. Louis and Anna
Knell have one son. Louis Raymond, born May 31. 1893.

Germany has contributed to the population of the United

KAMMERER States to a large extent, her sons being numbered among

the most patriotic and loyal of our citizens, and John

Kammerer. of this review, was no exception to the rule, he ever proving

faithful to the country of his adoption.

John Kammerer was born in Wurtemberg. Germany, November 17,
1843. which country was also the birthplace of his parents, who spent their
entire lives there. John Kammerer left his native land with the idea of
improving his surroundings, the New World offering opportunities not to
be found in the Old, and in 1868, the year of his emigration, settled in
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where for a number of years he followed his
trade of shoemaker. Later he removed to Etna, Pennsylvania, where he
was the successful proprietor of a shoe store, and in 1901 changed his place
of residence to Brackenridge. where he was the proprietor of a hotel, which
was largely patronized, it being conducted in a manner satisfactorv to its
many guests, and he conducted the same until his death, which occurred


January 22, 1903. He was the owner of considerable other property in
Brackenridge, from which he added considerably to his income, and was
actively interested in community affairs, aiding to the best of his ability in
all projects for the public good. He was a member of the German Lutheran
Church, and his political allegiance was given to the Republican party.

Mr. Kammerer married, in 1868, in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, Mary
Alf, born in Wurtemberg, Germany, August 27, 1846 daughter of Marcus
and Theresa (Marger) Alf, who were born, lived and died in Germany.
Mrs. Kammerer came to the United States in the same ship with her in-
tended husband, their marriage taking place in the same year, 1868. Nine
children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Kammerer, namely: i. Frederick,
deceased. 2. Wilhelm Christian, a resident of St. Louis ; married Mary
Nady; children: William, Clyde, Gladys. 3. August F., a resident of Etna,
Pennsylvania ; married Sarah Hartung ; children : Charles, Sarah, Mary,
Braun, deceased. 4. Minnie C, wife of John Page Dieffenbach, of Milton,
Pennsylvania ; children : Harold, Elizabeth, Rubie, Catharine. 5. Mary M.,
wife of Alvin B. Kline, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; children: Mary,
Martha, Jane, Alice. 6. John F., unmarried. 7. Louisa A., died November
8, 1913; she was the wife of W. A. Gauter; children: Edwin and Gladys.
8. Lillian O., died January 31, 1914. 9. Elsie D., wife of Wesley L. At-
kinson, of Brackenridge, Pennsylvania; children: Linn, Eugene, John,
Blair. The family have always held an honored place in the social life of
the various communities in which they have resided, and have been active
factors in every worthy undertaking.

The late Walter Henry Smith, of Tarentum, where he re-
SMITH sided for the last nine years of his life, was a man of great
integrity of character, upright and honorable in all his trans-
actions, a man who wen and retained the con^J^.^^e and good will of all
with whom he was brought in contact. He was a native of Leeds, England,
born January 16, 1845, son of John and Mary (Marshall) Smith.

John Smith, father of Walter Henry Smith, was born in England, was
there reared and educated, and subsequently emigrated to the United States,
settling first in Wheeling, Pennsylvania, where he resided until 1850, when
he removed to Pittsburgh, South Side, locating on Fourth avenue, where he
established a dyeing and scouring business, in which he was very successful,
his patronage steadily increasing year by year, owing to his thorough busi-
ness methods. He there spent the remainder of his days, his death occur-
ing May 10, 1889, aged seventy-four years. He attended the Presbyterian
Church, although he was reared in the faith of the Episcopal Church. His

Online LibraryJohn W. (John Woolf) JordanGenealogical and personal history of western Pennsylvania; (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 72)