Samuel P. (Samuel Penniman) Bates.

History of Erie county, Pennsylvania online

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ship which he subsequently sold, buying 100 acres, the site of the present village of Girard
Station. After completion of the railway through the same, he gave the company five acres
of land, now occupied by their buildings, tracks and yard. He was appointed and remained
their first ao-ent one year, when he resigned and G. H. Mclntire succeeded him, who in
turn (after fourteen years' service) resigned, and E. D. Nettleton took the office for three
and half years. At the expiration of this time our subject, W. A. Seeley,_ became agent in
December, 1870, and is giving satisfaction. Austin H., his father, had resigned on account
of ill health, and twelve years afterward died. He reared a family of six children, three
still surviving— W. A., Irwin (of Onarga, Iroquois County, 111.), Lucy A. (wife of G. H.
Mclntire of Stoneboro, Penn.). W. A. Seeley was married in Crawford County, Penn.,
to Charlotte Lawrence, a native of same. One child blessed .this union— Eugene A., dying

5



66 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES:

when fifteen years of age. Mr. Seeley lost his first wife by death and married Mrs. Meriva
A. Howard, a native of "Wyoming County, N. Y. The Seeleys number among our first and
most esteemed pioneers.

WILLIAM SILVERTHORN, deceased, one of our respected pioneers, was bom on
the homestead farm in Girard in 1817. He was a son of Isaac and a grandson of William
Silverthom, who took up a large tract of land in this township. Our subject inherited an
honored name, and lived on a part of the homestead all his life. He was a zealous, earn-
est, hard-working man, quiet and unostentatious in his habits, and beloved by all. He was
married in Springfield Township in 1849. to Rhoda M., daughter of Thomas and AnnaMc-
Kee, and grand-daughter of Robert McKee, who settled in Conneaut Township in 1803.
The five children born to this union are living— Arvilla, wife of A. Brown, Thomas, Fred,
Willie and Agnes. Mrs. Silverthorn's mother is residing with her, and is in her eightieth
year Mr. Silverthorn, at the time of his death, 1880, was serving as Commissioner.

JOHN W. SILVERTHORN, farmer, P. 0. Girard, was born in Girard Township,
Erie County, in 1819, and is a son of Isaac and Margaret (Miller) Silverthorn, the latter a
native of Stanton, Penn., the former, born in Red Stone, Va., with his father, William and
three brothers, settled in this township in 1797, and were among the earliest settlers. The
father took up 300 acres, formed a home in the wilderness and passed his life. Isaac's and his
wife's history may be found in this work. Our subject, the eldest of their sons now living,
was married in this county in 1843, to Margaret Alexander, a native of Londonderry, Ire-
land. Four children of the seven born to this union are living, viz. : Delnort, married to
F. Davenport; Harley, married to Florence Bromley; Clarence, and Maggie, wife of W.
W. Salisbury. Mrs. Silverthorn died March, 1861. He settled on his present farm in 1851,
consisting of eighty acres of land, and has since made it his home. Mr. Silverthorn mar-
ried, for his second wife, Martha Cole, a native of this county.

J. MADISON SILVERTHORN, farmer, P. O. Girard, was born December 10, 1831,
in this township, and is a son of Isaac and Margaret (Miller) Silverthorn. The latter was
a native of Stanton, Penn., the former born in Red Stone, Va. Came to Girard 'Township
with his father, William, and three brothers, in 1797, and were among the earliest ijioneers.
William took 800 acres of land, on which he founded his home and built a grist mill, which
he ran for years, he and his wife dying here. Isaac was a Captain in the war of 1812; he,
too, erected a grist mill on the site of his father's mill; they were the first millers in Erie
County. He married, July 23, 1813, and was the parent of eleven children, six living, viz. :
Nancy, wife of James Silsby; John W. ; Elizabeth, wife of I. N. Miller; Lucinda, wife of
J. B. Wadsworth; J. Madison; and Isaac N., resident of Cleveland, Ohio. Isaac died Sep-
tember, 1846, in his fifty-ninth year, and his widow survived until 1874. Our subject was
united in marriage in this township October 6, 1858, with Mary A., daughter of William
R. Miller, and a native of Erie County. Two children, both living, blessed this union —
Carl R. and Frank M. In 1856, Mr. Silverthorn settled on present farm, consisting of
ninety-three acres, most of which he has cleared, and has erected a dwelling, and is im-
proving the estate. He has served as School Director three terms, eight years, and in 1883
served as Township Assessor. His wife is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
This family are of English descent; they number among Erie County's oldest pioneers,"
whose record may be found in the general history of this township.

J. T. SIMMONS, saddler, established business in Girard in 1850, succeeded George A.
Hicks. He is a native of Mount Morris, N. Y., born in 1837, and is a son of George and
Polly (Tobias) Simmons, of Cayuga County, N. Y., who with their family came West in
1839, settling in Springfield Township, where the former took up a claim of fifty acres, and
where they both died. They reared a family of four children, two now surviving-^our
subject and a sister, Eunice, residing on the homestead. Mr. Simmons was united in mar-
riage, in 1852, at Conneaut, Ohio, with Celestia M. Carter, a native of same. Mr. Sim-
mons learned his trade at Conneaut, Ohio, subsequently working at it in various parts of
the country until he came to Girard, where he has established a good sound business. He
had a family of two children, one surviving— Emma J., wife of E. H. Hiler, of Conneaut
Ohio. Mr. Simmons has filled several offices of trust in the borough, and is now serving
his second term as a member of the School Board. He is also a member of the Board of
Trustees in the Methodist Episcopal Church. As a business man, he is favorably known-
as a citizen, esteemed. '

SAMUEL STARK, farmer, P. O. Miles' Grove, was born in McKean Township in 1830
and IS a son of George and Elizabeth (Kenago) Stark, both natives of Lancaster Penn '
who settled m McKean Township in 1839, where Mr. Stark purchased eighty acres' of land
which he cleared. In 1841, they moved to the farm now occupied by their son which was
then 100 acres, and is now 140. They reared two children, both now living— Jones a res-
ident of Erie, and Samuel. They died on the homestead. Samuel was united in marrias-e
m this county, m 18.58 with Martha Bixler, a native of the same place, daughter of Jacob
Bixler. and descended from a pioneer family. Pour children, all living, blesied this union

OH ARf pl ^TOW- 'n-^'Tn *° ?I^?^' ^H''.l° 'Hi' township, and Lula and Rolla.
nf .li.t- ■ ?^^ ^T°,^' ^"T^' ^^^ ^^'^^^^ ^°" of Hon. Horatio J. Stow, a Judge and lawyer
Q.f distinguished ability and integrity, was born at Buffalo, N. Y., July 8 1838 He was



GIRARD TOWNSHIP. 67

admitted to the bar in 1859, but having a preference for journalism, became city editor of
the Buffalo Morning Express in 1861. His eye-sight failing, he was compelled to retire in
1865, and in 1867 came to Girard. In 1868, he assumed the editorial management of the
Girard Cosmopolite, and remained on that paper until the spring of 1872. Durin"- that period
the Vosmopnlite reached a circulation of over 5,000. and wielded a powerful influence- its:
sturdy independence and unswerving loyalty to the people gaining for it general confidence
and respect. Mr. Stow signalized his advent into the field of Pennsylvania journalism by-
unearthing a heavy defalcation in the County Treasurer's office, and gross mi'smanagement
of public affairs by the officials comprising tiie "court house ring," and fmm that time the
Cosmopplite became a terror to all dishonest office-holders. Although Mr. Stow has always
declined to be a candidate for office, he has been prominently identified with the Demo-
cratic party, both as a writer and a speaker. He is now one of the leading representatives^
of the gi-eat Barnum and London Show.

J. F. STRICKLAND, miller. P. O. Miles Grove, is a native of Genesee County, IST. Y.,
born in 1846, and is a son of William and Betsy (Wadsworth) Strickland. The latter coming
from an extensive family of New York State, is connected with Gen. Wadsworth, an officer
in the late rebellion. Mr. and Mrs. Strickland settled in Springfield Township in 1849,
where they passed the remainder of their lives. They were the parents of five children^
all now living. William Strickland was a native of Yorkshire, England; he had three
children by his first wife, Sarah Penington, of Yorkshire, England. Our subject was
married in North East Township, in 1871, to Sara, a daughter o"! Northrop Nason, a set-
tler of Ripley Township, Chautauqua Co., N. Y. J. P. Strickland resided on the home-
stead farm until 1873, when he occupied his present residence, and in 1874, erected a grist
mill, 30x40, with wing attached, 16x31, on Elk Creek; it runs two buhrs, and has a capacity
of 150 to 200 bushels per day. He also has a saw mill adjoining same. He has been con-

THOMAS H. STURGEON, farmer. P. O. Girard, was born in Erie County. N. Y., in
1809, son of Andrew and Jane (Finney) Sturgeon. They came to this county in 1830 and set-
tled in this township, where they both died. They were theparents of seven children, Thomas
H. only surviving. He bought his present farm of fifty- two acres soon after his parents
settled here. He married, in this county, in 1841, Elizabeth, daughter of David Phillip, a
native of this county. Her decease occurred March 26, 1881. She left two children — Seth,
married to Ida Godfrey, a native of this county, and daughter of Orange Godfre5', a pio-
neer, and has two children — Clara M. and Mary B. — residing on the homestead; and Lo-
verna, wife of Clayton Hervick, by whom she has two children — Lotta L. and Frank.
They are all descended from old, esteemed pioneers, and are well-established families.

"j. N. TAYLOR, Girard. The Taylor family are of New England stock, descending
from a branch of the Leelands, a representative family of New England. Our subject
was born in Erie County, Penn., October 21, 1838, and is a son of Isaac R. Taylor, born
.in Northampton, Mass., who was the only son of Isaac, who came to this county in 1818.
settling on 200 acres of land in Washington Township, where he spent the remainder of
his life. He was an officer in the war of 1812. and was an honored pioneer. Isaac R. mar-
ried Eleanor Reader, whose parents, natives of Susquehanna County. Penn., were of a repre-
sentative family of Pennsylvania. This union produced nine children, four living — Isaac
N., George, Jo.seph and Effie A., wife of F. Wade. Isaac R. Taylor is a resident of Edin-
boro. and served several terms as .lustice of the Peace. He has always engaged in farm-
ing, milling, and taken an active interest in educational matters. Our subject remained on
the farm until eighteen years of age, acquiring a primary education at Ediuboro and
Waterford Academy, and graduated from Allegheny College in 1860, and the same year
entered the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he was at the breakins-out of
the war. In 1862. he enlisted as Hospital Steward, but was subsequently promoted to As-
sistant Surgeon of the One Hundred and Forty-fifth Regiment Penn.^ylvania Volunteers,
and assigned to the Second Corps of the Army of the Potomac. He served untilthe close of
the war, when he completed his studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He came to
Girard in 1866, and has built up a large practice. He was married in Crawford County.
Penn., in 1866, to N. M. Thickstun, of same county. This marriage has been blessed
with four children, all now living— MiUie V., Gebrge T., Carl J. and Robins N.

HENRY -TELLER, retired, Girard, was born in Albany, N. Y., January 1. 1802. and
is the only survivor of the thirteen children born to Henry and Catherine (McDaniel) Tel-
ler, natives of New York City and Baltimore respectively. Mr. Teller, Sr., and our sub-
ject came through the wilderness of Ohio in 1816 on horseback, but returned to Livingston
County. N. Y., where the former purchased land and passed his life. Henry, Jr., re-
turned to this county in 1825, taking up land, and followed farming until the spring of
1878, when he retired to the comforts of his commodious home in Girard. He married,
in 1826, Rosalind, daughter of Andrew Porter, of this county. She died in 1843, the mother
of seven children— Isaac, Jasper, Louisa, Samuel, Henry. John and Mary. John enlisted
in 1861 in the Eighty-third Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, and was killed at Savage
Station in the sevln days' fight before Richmond. Mr. Teller's second marriage was with
Jane Cross, of Springfield Township, Erie County, who, dying, left a daughter, Maggie.



gg BIOaRAPHICAL SKETCHES:

He was aeain united In matrimony, this time to Delia Patterson, of Aurora, NY. Mr. ,
TellTi haf been an adherent of the Republican party since its organization, and during the
Snsof 1859-60 represented this district in tlie Legislature, be ng elected, though strongly
contested; by a majority of 3.700 votes. He belongs to no religious association, but has
always ffiven liberally to all denominations. , ,41^

f n THOMPSON carpenter and ioiner, P. O. Girard, is a son of Jesse and Uranah (Aid-
rich) Thompson, and was born in Swansea, Cheshire Co., N. H., in 183L His parents, now
deceased were born-his father in Vermont, and his mother in New Hampshire. They
were the parents of twelve children, eight now surviving viz.: Polly, a widow, resides at
Spring Prairie, Wis.; Rhoda, at Keene, N. H.; Rachel, wife of Mr. Smith, of Saxons
River Vt ■ our subiect; Angeline, wife of M. B. Babbitt; David, of Spring Prairie Wis.;
Emily ofNewYork City; andLysander, of Boston, Mass. Mr. Thompson has followed
his trade the most of his time since coming to Erie County in I806, locating m Girard un-
til he purchased his present residence (which he has rebuilt and beautified), on the old road
between the borough and Miles' Grove. Since 1830, he has been foreman of the handle
room in the wrench factory. Mr. Thompson married, in 1844, at Worcester, Mass., Caroline
Thompson, a native of Keene, N. H. Seven children, five living, have blessed this union
—Mary A (wife of M. S. Cutler), Henry A. (married to Emma Fletcher), Ella, Addis J.
and Ada C. -Vlr. Thompson is a member of the Equitable Aid Union; he is a highly es-
teemed citizen. _ „ ' „■ ■, , •

A J. THOMPSON, firm of Luce & Thompson, merchants, Girard, was born m
Keene >f H in 186.5, and is a son of J. C. Thompson. He was brought up in this coun-
ty, and engaged as a salesman with Trask & Prescott, of Erie; E. M. McGillin & Co., at
Cleveland, with whom he continued until he formed the present coDartnership, succeeding
C. F. Rockwell, dry goods, of which they carry a large stock, also carpets, boots, shoes,
etc. They control the bulk of trade in Girard and the surrounding country. Mr. Thomp-
son is an enterprising, active business man. He married in Corry, Penn., August, 1881,
Mary E. Gardner, a native of that place. One cliild has blessed this union— Nellie B. Mr.
Thompson is a member of the City Council, and of the Equitable Aid Union.

THOMAS THORNTON, proprietor of woolen mills, Girard. was born in Leeds, York-
shu-e, England, in 1841, and is a son of Jowett and Elizabeth Thornton, who crossed the
ocean to Mexico in 1848, where the former started and ran the first woolen mill until 18o4,
when they moved to Crawford County for three years, thence coming to this township,
where Mr. Thornton bought a mill of Cass & Whitfield, who had purchased it of T.
Thornton. It was originally built by the Boughton Brothers. He carried on this mill
until his death, and was very successful. Our subject, his elde.'st son, was married in
Crawford County, Penn., August, 1858, to Helen White, a native of Harbor Creek Town-
ship, this county. Four children have been born to them — George H., Ida A., Elmer J.
and Lizzie B. He is the proprietor of the Girard Woolen Mills, which consume 3,000
pounds of wool per month, and run ten months in the year. Its principal product is yarn..
His father had a family of four children, three of whom are living— Thomas, Benjamin F.
(of Pennsylvania) and Mary A. (wife of C. C. Sherman). Mr. Thornton has occupied vari-
ous township offices, among which Tax Collector, School Director and Auditor. He is an
old, well-established business man, much esteemed; a member of the A. O. U. W., K. of
H., and the Equitable Aid Union.

H. A. TRAUB, merchant, Girard, was born in this township in 1830, and is a son of
Samuel and Sarah (Royer) Traub, natives of Bucks and Montgomer3- Counties, Penn., re-
spectively. They tirstlocated in Waterford, remaining two years; then settled in Girard
Township, where Samuel erected a saw mill, and engaged in lumbering and farming for
years. They reared a family of eight children, seven now living — Lydia, Reuben R.,
William, Henry A., Jessie H., Samuel R. and Margaret. Our subject spent his earlj' days
working on the farm and in the mill. He went to Philadelphia in 1848, where he was em-
ployed as a salesman for three years; subsequently, for eleven and a half years, he was in
the lumber business at New Orleans. In 1852. he went to California, where he met with
fair success prospecting. In 1858, he went to Pike's Peak, Colo., but returned ttie following
year. Mr. Traub was united in marriage, in 1860, in this county, with Catharine Buck-
bee, a native of Erie County. The only child to this union, Minnie, died when five years
old. Subsequent to his marriage, he purchased a farm in this county, and engaged in
lumbering in Warren County, Penn. After a few years his health failed, and he opened
his present place of business, where he has a complete stock of books, jewelry, notions,
etc. Mr. Traub is one of the Trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and has filled
many township oflices of ti-ust, serving as a member of the Legislature from this district,
to which he was elected in November," 1882, with credit, to himself and to the satisfaction
of his constituents.

WILLIAM TYLER, merchant, Lockport, was born in Troy, Rensselaer Co., N. Y., in
1815, and is a son of Jerry and Mary (Vannata) Tyler, who removed to this county in 1842,
thence to Valparaiso, Ind., where they both died. Our subject opened a small store in this
borough in 1843. He was origmally a Yankee-notion peddler, and sold the famous horse-
whips from Westfield, Mass. He has since engaged in mercantile trade at Lockport,



GIRARD TOWNSHIP. 69

where he was appointed Postmaster, under President Buchanan, and has since acceptably
filled this office. Mr. Tyler was united in marriage at Hoosick Corners, N. Y., with Delia
Breese, a native of that place, who died in 1875, leaving one son, Wilbur A., who still sur-
vives, and isniarried to Julia Jewell, by whom he has three children— Merrill, Lizzie and
?l- -h V'®'" '^^^ remarried, this time to Eliza Mallory, daughter of Mai. A. Mallory,
of Springfield Township, Erie Co., Penn. The family are highly esteemed and well con-
nected.

F, J. WAGNER, livery, Girard, was born in 1860 in Germany, and is a son of Joseph
and Emma F. (Shaynberger) Wagner, who, with their family, emigrated to America in
1855, and settled in Erie. Joseph Wagner at one time had a large estate in Germany,
which he lost previous to coming here. Though a miller by trade, he worked at coopering
in Brie until he purchased a farm in Harbor Creek Township, where he is now living.
Of their family of six children, two are living— F. J. (our subject) and Gustav. F. J.
Wagner succeeded W. W. Ellison in the livery business at North East in December, 1888,
disposing of this stock in March, 1883, and retiring to his home, where he remained until
the purchase of the present livery at Girard, succeeding G. W. Evans. This is the only liver v
in Girard, and Is well furnished with the best appointments in horses, buggies and car-
riages. • He is doing a profitable business, and is an active, enterprising young man, worthy
of patronage. Mr. Wagner was united in marriage in this county, July 10, 1883, with
Mary A., da ught er of Burgett Strobb, a native of Erie County.

JAMES WEBSTER (deceased) was born in Hebron, N. Y., in 1803. His parents
were James and Rebecca (Henderson) Webster, and his grandfather was Alexander Web-
ster, of Scottish birth, who migi-ated to the colonies in 1772, settling on a large tract of
land in Hebron, N. T. He was a Colonel in the Revolutionary war, during which -his
family fled to Alban;^ to escape the Indians. At the close of the struggle, he returned
home, where he died in 1810. The subject of this sketch was reared on a farm, securing
a common school education. In May. 1837, he came to Girard and opened the first mer-
cantile house, under the firm name of McConnell and Webster, carrying on an extensive
business for twenty-five years, having branches in Crawford County and in Whitewater,
Wis. They also opened m 1868 and successfully carried on the First National Bank. In
1882, Mr. Webster retired from active business. His copartner died October, 1871. Mr.
Webster was a member of the Presbyterian Church in Girard fifty-two years, and was
one of its founders. He was married in Girard in 1832, to Mary A. Lefflngwell, a native
of Berkshire, Mass. Four children blessed this union— Charlotte M., wife of R. S. Bat-
tles; Henry M.. who died March 13. 1877; James A., married to Jane Allen, and Charles
F., married to Nellie E. Jones. Mr. Webster died April 24, 1884.

ROBERTSON WILLCOX, manufacturer; Girard, was born at New London, Conn., in
1811, and is a son of Robert and Debora (Brown) Willcox, his father dying before his birth,
leaving his widow and seven children, of whom are still living Nathaniel and Robert. The
widow married Benjamin Willcox, by whom she had the following children, viz.: Ben-
jamin, Sarah (wife of John Rockwell), and Susan. Robertson, when eighteen years of
age, went to Chautauqua and worked at coopering. He had but a good common
school education, and his ambition. In 1833 or 1834, he made his way to Girard, worked
at his trade, and did a large business. For three years during the war, he ran the Girard
Mills, rebuilt the saw mills adjoining same, and subsequently sold out. He and a brother-
in-law, ;T. M. Godfrey, purchased a spring factory at Hammond, Ind., and are doing an ex-
tensive business. Included in this purchase was a large tract of land, which they are
selling in lots very advantageously. They have erected a first-class opera house on the
corner of Halsted and Jackson streets, Chicago, where their salesrooms will be located.
The lot cost them $32,000. The Willcox Hou.se of Erie, Penn., a leading hotel, is anolher
of his enterprises. He has largely invested in real estate in Erie and Chicago. Mr. Will-
cox was married in Erie County, Penn., in 1844. to Sophrbnia Godfrey, a native of Chau-
tauqua County, N. Y. Though they have no children of their own, they have had living
with them a number of girls, now married. He" contributed largely toward the erection
of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Girard, in which he is a trustee.

GEORGE WRIGHT, physician, Lockport, was born in Otsego County, N. Y., in
1817, son of Johnson and Mary (Bliss) Wright, natives of Dutchess County, N. Y., and
Rhode Island respectively. They reared eight children to maturity, following living-
Charles; Georee; Henry B.. a physician in San Francisco; Maryette; Clark A., resident
physician of Howard La'ke, Minn., and James S.; John J. was a practicing physici.'in, and in-
troduced homoeopathy in Little Rock. Ark., where he died. Our subject, a tanner and currier
by trade, came to Erie County in 1837, and erected atannery at Gudgeonville, on Elk Creek,
which he carried on some years. He subsequently abandoned his trade, and began the
study of medicine, and graduated from the Homoeopathic Hospital College of Cleveland,
Ohio, in 1871. He practiced his profession in Girard until his removal to Lockport in 1876.
He has been very successful, and has a large practice. The Doctor was married in Che-
nango County, N. Y., in 1837,' to Esther Trask, a native of Otsego County, N. Y. Ten
children have blessed this union, eight surviving, viz., Mary A., Eunice M., Lafayette J.,
Emma C, Henry F., Louisa M., Lyda and Wilhs E.



70 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES:

CHRISTIAISr ZIBSENHEIM, farmer, P. O. Girard, was born in the principality of Wal-
deok, Prussia, October 23, 1834, and is a son of Cliristiaii and Christina Ziesenheim, both



Online LibrarySamuel P. (Samuel Penniman) BatesHistory of Erie county, Pennsylvania → online text (page 147 of 187)