Pen Pictures of Friends
and Reminiscent Sketches


by John N. Tillard


Published 1911 by

William F. Gable & Co.

Altoona, PA.


Edition Limited to 500 Copies

Mirror Press


A Project of Blair County PA USGenWeb Archives

Copyright 2003.  Contributed by Judy Banja




Tombstone Photo, Oakridge Cemetery, Altoona


Author's Foreword


  Upon dropping a policeman's baton to take up a reporter's pencil some three years ago, my editor, Mr. Harry L. Johnston of the Altoona Mirror, suggested that I might venture a little way out and make a few character sketches of the men in the community, in all walks of life, who had impressed their personality upon the time.

  The following pen pictures were the result.  In writing them, I drew the portraits as they appeared to me, without flattery, but with a sincere desire to be truthful and accurate.  With an exception or two, they were all living men at the time of the writing, and I hope they have received some little enjoyment out of the nosegay handed them while they were yet on earth.  Some of them have since been gathered to their fathers, but the articles now appear as they were originally written.

  Some of my friends have been kind enough to suggest that they were worth preserving in more durable form; hence this little volume.

J. N. Tillard, December 1, 1911.


Pen Pictures of Friends



Andrew J. Kipple

Time Has Dealt With Him Kindly



Thomas Durbin Hughes

Durb. Hughes, Acute Discriminator



Prof. W. W. Osborne

Has Taught Three Generations



Robert D. Steel

Robert Steel, Railroad Builder



Joseph Terrence Brown

Eventful Life of Joseph Brown


James B. Bowles

Fifty Years a School Teacher



John Peter Levan

Life's Cares Lie To the Rearward



Blain McCormick

Varied Career of Blain McCormick




There's a wondrous lot of power

  In an honest, wholesome smile;

It often starts a blessing

  That will travel for a mile.

Why, when hearts are sad and heavy

And the days are dark the while,

  You can notice that things brighten

 From the moment that you smile.


What the rose is to the bower,

  What the jewel to the ring,

What the song is to the robin

  In the gladsome days of spring,

What the gold is to the sunsets

  That oft our souls beguile,

All this, and more, to people

  Is the blessing of a smile.


When you see a face that's saddened

  By the cruelty of strife,

Into which have come the wrinkles

  From the toils and cares of life,

Just send a ray of sunshine

  To smooth its brow awhile,

And bestow a passing blessing

  By the giving of a smile.


By B. W. BURLEIGH - Advance


Jacob White

Jacob White, Inland Sailor


John H. Law

Splendid Type of Self Made Man



Rev. Philip Bannon Clifford

P. B. Clifford, Preacher and Mechanic



D. Thomas Kantner

Geneal "Father Tom" Kantner



William F. Gable

Pen Picture of William F. Gable



Samuel M. Griffith

He Worked His Way to the Top


John K. Hamilton

Scions of the House of Hamilton



Benjamin Stein

"Uncle Ben" Stein Plays Vesper Tunes



Prof. David S. Keith

Creative Genius and Organizer



Frank McGuire

Frank McGuire, Molder and Merchant



Gottlob Hausser

Thinker, Teacher


John P. Lafferty

An All-Around Man of Affairs



Robert F. Bankert

Soldier, Citizen and Friend



Nicholas J. Mervine

Wrought Righteously and Well



William C. Brennecke

Billy Brennecke, Farmer's Lad



George Metz

A Typical American Citizen


Fred Duany

Fred Duany, Cuban Patriot


Jerry Davis

Great Enough to Grasp Content



Martin H. Mackey

Helped To Make Our City of Homes



Alexander Kerr

One of County's Pioneer Railroaders



Fletcher E. Meek

Famous Singer of the Olden Time



Dr. S. M. Sellers

Druggist, Jeweler and Sportsman



Dr. J. A. Rohrer

Has Made Pain a Pleasure


Conrad Knepley

A Railroader of Ye Olden Time



Alexander Scheeline

The March of a World's Citizen


Wesley H. Schwartz

From Canal Driver to Editor



Robert McBurney

He is Faithful in All Things


John Travis

A Philosopher With a Level Head



Dougle McCartney

Life of Thrilling Experiences



John Rodgers Fraser

He Made the New Land His Own



Charles F. Carpenter

Found Fame in Sporting World



Walter J. Hamor

The Bright Side of City Hall



Maj. John R. Garden

Father of Local Militarism



Bascombe M. Blake

He Has Moved the Town Along



Frederick Hesser

A Representative Citizen


James A. Black

A Long Time Citizen of the Town



L. F. Hinman

Pioneer of The Produce Business



Samuel A. Gailey

Superintends Our Water Department



Maj. Robert B. Adams

The Dean of Hotel Clerks


Thomas Coleman

The Terror of the Valley


"Aunt Sallie" Boyles

Sunny, Cheery Nature


Sketches of Early Local History


  AUTHOR'S NOTE - The following articles were written for the Altoona Mirror at odd times, several years ago, the subject matter having been gleaned by the author partly from various publications; partly from the folk lore stories he heard told in the old Pottsgrove flour mill during his childhood, and partly from personal recollection.

J. N. Tillard

December 1, 1911


Some Local Mineral History

Timber Wasted That Would Be Valuable Now

Corn Huskings of The Long Ago

Famous Mills That No Longer Exist

Clearing the Forests That Once Covered This Section

An Old Time Business That Is About Extinct

Making New Counties In The Olden Times