Richard Mather Bayles.

Prominent men of Staten Island, 1893 online

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the town of Northtield, belongs to the old Simonson
family which came from Holland in 1662 and purchased
large tracts of land 011 Staten Island, where they have
since lived, xiseful and respected members of the

Cornelius Simonson, Jr., was born in 1840 at the
homestead of his branch of the family, in Chelsea, and
was educated in the Staten Island schools and has al-
ways lived on the farm. Mr. Simonson is a Democrat,
and in 1890 he was elected a member of the board of
assessors, and in 1893 was Qlected highway commis-

He has always been looked upon as one of the solid
sterling men of Northfield, one who honors the office
he holds more than the office honors him.

Mr. Simonson married, in 1870, Miss Maria Stellen-
werf of Long Island.



AUGUSTUS ACKER was born in. the city of New York, No-
vember soth, 1860, of German parentage, was educated
in the public schools of that city, and when graduated
at the age of seventeen years, he entered the law office
of his brother, Edward A. Acker, and began studying for
the bar.

In 1877, he came to vStaten Island, and made New
Brighton his home, where in February 1889, he was
elected justice of the peace, and on the following
November, justice of the court of sessions, and in
1893, was re-elected justice of the peace and justice of
the court of sessions, receiving the largest majority
ever given, both of which offices he now holds.

fudge Acker probably hears more important cases
than any other justice in the entire covinty, and his
thorough knowledge of the law, and the tiniform fair-
ness with which all his judgments are rendered, have
given him the title of "the model jtistice."

While tearless and impartial in the performance of
his duty, his strict administration of justice is tem-
pered with that mercy which wells from his sympathetic
heart and perennial good natttre.

-Mr. Acker married Miss Caroline Almstaedt, of New
Brighton, on March 26th, 1883, and he has an interesting
family of three children, two daughters and one son.



GEO. W. FISHER, eldest son of George Fisher, was born
in New York in 1865. In 1866, the family moved to
Staten Island and settled in the town of Middletown.
In 1 884, they purchased the farm near New Springville,
where the family have since resided.

In 1892, Mr. Fisher was elected justice of the peace
for the town of Northfield, and is probably the young-
est justice in Richmond county, but his decisions
have been marked by an impartiality and legal knowl-
edge which have won for him the confidence and re-
spect, even of his opponents.

In 1890, Mr. Fisher married Miss Mary Miller of New
Springville. They have two children, Walter Irving,
aged two years, and Ethel, aged one year.



DAVID M. LANGTON was born at West New Brighton
June 6th, 1854, and has always lived in the same village,
He is the youngest son of the late Michael Langton,
who was for twenty-four years justice of the peace
of the town of Castleton.

Mr. Langtoii is a mason by trade and in politics is a
strong- Democrat. He was elected justice of the peace
in the spring of 1890 and took office January ist, 1891.
As justice Mr. L,angton's rulings have always been
upright and fair, and it is his endeavor to make
his decisions just and reasonable. His business ex-
perience and gocd judgment have made him a valu-
able member of the town board.

Mr. Langtoii married on the I7th of October 1893,
Miss Annie Cassidy.




SAMUEL A. MACORJIAC was born in Stapleton, in 1857,
and removed with his family to the town of Westfield.
in 1869. He was educated at the Hackettstown Institute
at Hackettstown, N. J. After his graduation he took
a position as clerk in the store of Seguine & Decker at
Rossville, where he remained three years. He was
afterward freight clerk on the steamer New Brunswick
for five years and on the steamer Saratoga, of the
Troy line, for six months. In 1886, he married
Carrie M., daughter of the late John A. Ridner, of
Greenridge. He purchased the store and business
of his late father-in-law, and was appointed postmaster
in 1887, which office he holds at the present time. In
1892, he was elected justice of the peace, taking office
January ist, 1893, and associate justice of sessions to
take office January ist, 1894.

Mr. Macormac has always been known as a good,
careful business man and is a clear-headed magistrate
and a valuable member of the town board.

Mr. and Mrs. Macormac have one son, Frank V.,aged
three years.




JOHN E. MINNAHAN, justice of the peace of the town of
Castleton, recently appointed to the vacancy catisedby
the death of Mr. John K. Hall, is at the present
time the youngest ustice in the Empire state, being
in his 25th year. Born in West New Brighton, he has
continued to live there up to the present time. After
graduating from the local schools he took a course of
instruction in the Christian Brothers, school of New
York city, graduating with high honors. He is unmar-
ried and resides with his parents. Mr. Minnahan is a
member of several societies and holds the honored
position of president of the Catholic Union Dramatic
Club, being one of its originators, and devotes con-
siderable of his time to amateur theatricals. As a
humorist he is often heard in our various amusement
halls, especially when the cause is a charitable one,
as his services are always gratuitous.

The judge is one of the most companionable young
men that you can possibly meet, and he counts his
friends by the hundred.




PETER TIERNAN, justice of the peace of the town of
Middletown, was born in Ireland, but came to
America in 1851 and settled in Tompkitisville.

Mr. Tiernan has always taken an active and promi-
nent part in county and local affairs, and as early as
1853 was elected school trustee, which office he held
for two terms and the office of school collector for
three terms; and in 1876 and 1880 he was tax collect-
or for the town of Middletown. He is now serving
his eighth term of justice of the peace, and is the old-
est justice in Richmond county. At the expiration
of this present term of office he will have served the
county thirty-two years in that capacity.

He has also served for fifteen years as a member
of Neptune Fire Engine Co. No. 6, and eight years in
the 69th Reg't. N. Y. S. M.

Mr. Tiernan has always been a Democrat and taken
a prominent part in councils of his party in which he
wielded no inconsiderable influence. His court has
always maintained a high reputation for the jtistice
and impartiality of his decisions.



WILLIAM C. CASEY, of New Brighton, was born in Ire-
land in 1848. He came to America while quite young,
and alter spending some time in San Francisco and
Chicago came to Staten Island and settled in New
Brighton,iii 1867. He lias been a justice of the peace of
the town of Castleton for the past fifteen years, and
served two terms as justice of the sessions; and has
been a member of the Democratic County General Com-
mittee for nineteen consecutive years. He has also
been a member of the school board of school District
No. 4 of Castleton for the past nine years and chair-
man, of the board for six years.

Mr. Casey is one of the best known justices on the
Island and has heard and decided many important
cases with judicial fairness.



L,ouis MORRIS JOHXSTOXE comes of an old New York
family. He was born in New York city in 1839, and
passed the early years of his life there. His father,
Francis U. Jolmstoiie, M. D., was a prominent physician
of that city, who died in 1858. Mr. Johnstone was in
South America at the beginning of the Rebellion, but
returned to the United States in October 1863. and
served as ist L,ievi.t. of Battery I, Independent Pemi.,
Light Artillery, (commonly known in the Army of the
Potomac as Kevin's Battery), from January I2th, 1864,
to the close of the war.

In 1879, Mr. Jolmstoiie left New York and came
to Stateii Island to be near his brother, the late Dr. F.
U. Jolmstoiie, of New Brighton. In May 1886, he moved
into the third ward, the "Hill district" of the village
of Edgewater, and in June of the same year, was elect-
ed trustee from that ward, was re-elected in June 1888,
'90 and '91, and has held the position of president of
the village without opposition since Jtine 1887.

He has been assiduous in the discharge of his
official duties, and his retention in office seems to prove
that he has won the confidence of his fellow-citizens.



GEORGE T. EGBERT was born. July 3oth, 1851, at Eras-
tina, near the place where he now resides. At twelve
years of age he entered, the Mt. Washington Collegiate
Institute, of New York city.

After passing through the course of study and grad-
uating with high honors, he began business with the
firm of Gasherie, Emery & Co., 48 Walker street, New
York, one of the largest dry goods jobbers and import-
ers in the city. By strict attention to business he
soon rose to the position of book-keeper for that house.

After remaining with the above firm for seven or
eight years, Mr Egbert resigned his position, and in
1876 accepted the position of cashier with the Consoli-
dated Fireworks Company of America, 9 and 1 1 Park
place, with a capital of $2, 500,000, the largest manu-
facturers and importers of fire-works and celebration
goods in the world; having branches in Chicago, Cin-
cinnati, Rochester, Boston, Baltimore and St. Louis,
and doing a business of $i, 500,000 annually, their trade
covering not only the United States, but extend-
ing to Canada, Mexico, South America, Europe and
the Sandwich Islands. The principal factories are at
Graniteville, and cover sixty acres, but the company has
smaller factories at nearly all its branches. It has been
awarded the contracts for all the large pyrotechnic
displays given in this country in recent years.

At the last annual meeting of the stockholders, Mr.
Egbert, who is a large stockholder, was tinanimous-
ly elected secretary, a position which he now holds.

He is one of the charter members of the North-
field Building Loan Association, one of the most pros-
perovts organizations of the kind in the state, its
monthly receipts being $6,500. He has been a
member of the board of education for the past five
years and was unanimously re-elected at the last
school meeting.

Mr. Egbert has been a member of Summerfield Metho-
dist Episcopal Church for nearly twenty years and has
filled, at different times, every position of hon^r and
trust in the church, being now president of the board
of trustees, and the church has been greatly bene-
fited by his services and liberality.

In politics, Mr. Egbert is a straight out Cleveland
Democrat, having voted for him three times for
president. He is also active in local politics, in favor
of honest government and local improvements.

He was president of the board of sewer commission-
ers, until he resigned to accept the office of trustee
of the village of Port Richmond,to which he was elected
at the last charter election. At the first meeting of
the new board of trustees, he was elected president.



JAMES KERR, the subject of our sketch, was born in
Chatham, near Detroit, Mich., March 2oth, 1858, and was
educated in Toronto, Canada. He entered the drug
business in 1873, and was graduated from the Ontario
College of Pharmacy as a pharmaceutical chemist in
1878. When less than twenty years of age he opened a
drug store in Toronto, but immature business quali-
fications precipitated by a general depression in
business concluded this venture. A little disfigured
by this encounter, but not divested of his monumental
pluck and nerve, he turned his footsteps toward the
iCmpire state and the only New York city. After
clerking for a time in Brooklyn he finally was induced
by Mr. L. Johnson (the originator and proprietor of the
now famous Johnson's Happy Pills), to accept a posi-
tion in his pharmacy at West New Brighton. After
satisfying Mr. Johnson of his business tact and energy
he was admitted as a partner, and this relation was
maintained to the satisfaction of both parties for five
years, only ending with Mr. Johnson's retirement from
the business, on a comfortable competence. Since Mr.
Kerr's residence on Stateii Island he has been the re-
cipient of many favors from his fellow townsmen, who
know how to appreciate an active, energetic business-
man, and all who have been associated with him
He has served seven years as an active member of
Medora Hook & Ladder Co., "No 3, filling all the offices
and serving as foreman for three years.

Mr. Kerr is an Odd Fellow, a director in the Staten
Island Building L,oaii and Savings Association, trustee
of Richmond Lodge, No. 66, F. & A. M., high priest of
Tyrian Chapter, 219, Royal Arch Masons, and last but
not least, was chosen at the last charter election to
represent the fourth ward of the village 01 West Brigh-
ton, as its alderman.

In conclusion, it would not be out of place to state
that we confidently believe that the extraordinary ef-
forts put forward by Mr. Kerr to increase his already
large business will be crowned with success.



JOHN |. FETHERSTON has been a life-long resident of
Richmond county. Though engaged in private busi-
ness he has always been prominently identified with
public life.

Mr. Fetherston bears a striking resemblance to
Senator David 11 Hill. He has been a steadfast Demo-
crat all his life and has served with signal success in
the Democratic General Committee for the past twenty
years. He was chief of the North Shore Fire De-
partment for one term, was trustee of the first ward
of the village of New Brighton lor ten years and pres-
ident of the village for five terms, which office he re-
signed to accept the unanimous appointment as village
treasurer, which office he now holds. Though quiet
and unassuming, his straightforward course while
in office of trust has made him a host of friends
among people of all classes.



JOSEPH F. O' GRADY, town clerk of the town of Castle-
toii, and village clerk of th ; village of New Brighton,
was born in the city of New York and has been a resi-
dent of Richmond county since he was one year old.
He attended St. Peter's ACE demy at New Brighton, after
which he went to Gramm - School No. 29, in Greenwich
street, New York, from which he was graduated. He
then took a two years' course in L,atin and Greek in
the College of vSt. Francis Xavier, from there going to
Manhattan. Academy, where he was graduated in 1880.
He immediately accepted a position as teacher in public
school No. 4, Tompkinsville, where he remained until
1890. He resigned the vice-principalship of the school
to accept the office of village clerk. He has been
unanimously re-appointed four times.

Mr. O'Grady has an extensive acquaintanceship arid
hopes some d.ay to become prominently identified with
the Democracy of Richmond county.

6 4



MICHAEL J. COLLINS was born in Brooklyn, in 1856.
When lie was six years of age, his family moved to
Staten Island, where Michael, after a course of study
in the public schools, studied the classics under a
private tutor.

After completing his education, he returned to
Brooklyn, where he remained in business for four
years, after which he returned to Staten Island. In
1884, he was appointed secretary to the board of health,
and in 1886 was made clerk of the village of Edge-
vruter, and the fact that he has held this position for
seven consecutive years, under different boards of
trustees, is the best proof of how well he has per-
formed the duties of his office.

Mr. Collins has also served as a member of the board
of directors of the Edgewater Co-operative Building
and Loan Association, is a member of the Southfield
Lodge, Ancient Order of United Workmen 401, has been
treasurer of the Forester's Court, Staten. Island, for
the past six years, and is one of the charter members
of the Edgewater C. B. L.

Mr. Collins is a Democrat, always active in politics,
and has served as secretary of several conventions.




FRANK S. GANNON, general superintendent of the
Staten Island Rapid Transit railroad, and the
New York division of the Baltimore and Ohio rail-
road, was born September i6th, 1851, at Spring
Valley, Rockland cotmty, New York. He entered
railway service in 1868, as telegraph operator
on the Delaware division of the Erie railroad. In
April 1870, he was appointed clerk in the office of the
president of the Jersey Midland railroad, now known
as the New York, Susquehanna and Western railroad,
and served consecutively as president's clerk and
train despatcher. In. April 1875, he was made train
despatcher of the Long Island railway, was promoted
to be depot master in 1876 and master of transporta-
tion in 1877, which position he held xintil January 1881,
when he was made sxipervisor of trains on the
Pittsburg division of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad.
He had held this position but three months when
lie was appointed general superintendent of the
Mew York and Northern railroad. In August 1886,
he resigned his position to take the office of general
superintendent of the Staten Island Rapid Transit
railroad, which position he now holds, together with
that of general superintendent of the New York divis-
ion of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, to which he was
appointed in March 1890.

Mr. Gannon is also a director of the Staten Island
Rapid Transit Railroad Company, a director of the John
Good Cordage and Machine Company, president of
the Richmond Land Company, president of the Rapid
Transit branch of the Co-operative Building Bank of
New York, treasttrer of the employes' Mutual Benefit
Association, member of the Manhattan Club of New
York, and chairman of the executive committee of
the New York and New Jersey Car Service Association.

Mr. Gannon is a thorough railroad man, a strict disci-
plinarian, and progressive.

Superintendent S. I. R. T. R. R. Go


Many improvements have been made in the rules'
and methods of operating- the road since he has been
at the helm. Trains have been multiplied, the time
shortened, new cars and engines provided, new and
handsome stations built, large and commodious ferry-
boats built, a new ferry-house in. New York, and the
foundations laid for a handsome new fen y-house at St.
George. The track has been doubled to New Dorp,
and arrangements are being made to complete the
double track to Tottenville and build several more
new stations.

Mr. Gannon has also abolished the old system of
giving passes to favored patrons and compelling all
others to pay transient fares and has adopted a system
of commutation, half fare and family tickets which
has proved a great advantage to permanent residents
of the Island.

Personally, Mr. Gannon, is one of the most genial of
men and has the confidence and esteem alike of the
public and the large force of employes under his


THE business of B. Kreischer & Sons was established
at Kreischerville in 1852, by Balthasar Kreischer. Mr.
Kreischer was born, in Germany in 1813, where he
learned the business of stone-cutter and sculptor. He
came to America soon after the fire of 1835, which de-
stroyed a great portion of New York city. For awhile
he carried on the trade of master builder, and erected
many buildings in the burned district. Soon afterward,
having discovered large deposits of fire clay in New
Jersey, he began the manufacture of fire-brick at 58
Goerck street, New York; his business increased rapid-
ly, and in about the year 1852 he discovered the exten-
sive clay deposits in the vicinity of the present village
of Kreischerville.

With a keen foresight, he botight up large quantities
of land including nearly all of the best clay banks in
the vicinity, atid set to work to build one of the largest
fire-brick factories to be found in this country, where
the industry was then in its infancy.

Mr. Kreischer then gathered around him men skilled
in the manufacture of fire-brick, and was able from
the first to turn out an article superior to the best
imported bricks. The works have been twice com-
pletely destroyed by fire, once in 1867 and again in
1892, and each time they have been rebuilt, more com-
plete than before.




In all its machinery and methods, the factory has
kept pace with the latest improvements of the times,
and its brand of goods has always commanded the
highest prices; and while other factories have closed
up or curtailed their production, this factory has al-
ways pressed forward with a steady growth of capacity
and output.

The large and thriving village which has grown up
and around this single industry shows how important
a part it has paid in the prosperity of this end of
Stateii Island. One important branch of this industry,
aside from fire-brick, is the manufacture of gas re-
torts, an invention especially due Mr. Kreischer.
These retorts are in use in nearly every city in the

Mr. Kreischer was also one of the originators of the
Staten Island Railroad Company, and was for a time
president, and during his term, he instituted many
improvements, which were of lasting benefit to the

When the Staten Island factory was built the manu-
facture of fire-brick in New York was abandoned, but
the New York office was retained, at which nearly all

of the business was transacted. In 1871, George F.
Kreischer, the eldest son, was taken into partnership
by his father, and he assumed charge of the New York

In 1878, Charles C. and Edward B. , the two younger
sons, were taken into the co-partnership, and the firm
assumed the style and title of B. Kreischer & Sons, as
it exists to-day.

Mr. Kreischer was a type of man too rarely seen in
this country, where there is little sympathy or mutual
interest between employer and employe.

He always took a lively interest in all that pertained
to the personal welfare of his employes, and consid-
ered it both a duty and a pleasure to advise and help
them, and two of the latest acts of his life were to build
a handsome church and school-house and to establish
a mutual benefit society for the relief of the sick and
injured. Both Mr. Kreischer and his sons contributed
liberally to the funds of this society and took a per-
sonal interest in its success, and thus enabled
their men to be self-supporting in time of sickness,
instead of being obliged to depend on charity. In a
thousand ways Mr. Kreischer showed an interest in
the welfare of his employes that went beyond the
question of mere work and wages, and seldom has an
employer been more sincerely mourned by all classes
than Mr. Kreischer, whose death occtirred in 1886 at
his home in Kreischerville.




CHARLES C., the second son of the late Balthasar
Kreischer, was born, in New York city, Sept. i5th, 1850.
He received his first schooling in. the German schools
of the city, after which he took a course of study in
St. Francis Zavier's College, which was supplemented
by a thorough commercial education at Bryant &
Stratton's Business College.

After completing his education, his father placed
him in his large fire-brick factory at Kreischerville,
where he learned, practically, every branch of the
work in order to fit him thoroughly for the responsi-
ble position which he was afterward to take, as gener-
al overseer of the manufacturing branch of his fa-
ther's business.

After spending two years in the factory, Mr. Kreisch-

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Online LibraryRichard Mather BaylesProminent men of Staten Island, 1893 → online text (page 3 of 9)