Pennsylvania USGenWeb Archives

Clearfield County

History of Clearfield County

by

Lewis Cass Aldrich

published 1887

 

Chapter 52

 

Copyright

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HIST0RY
OF
CLEARFIELD COUNTY
PENNSYLVANIA

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS AND BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES
OF SOME OF ITS PROMINENT MEN AND PIONEERS

EDITED BY
LEWIS CASS ALDRICH

SYRACUSE, N. Y.
D. MASON & CO., PUBLISHERS
1887

 

 Chapter 52

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John Patton

William Irvin

John P. Hoyt

Richard H Shaw

Jonathan Boynton

Thomas H. Forcey

Hotel Windsor

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Page 674

HISTORY OF CLEARFIELD COUNTY.

 

CHAPTER LII.
BIOGRAPHICAL.

 

     IRVIN, COL. E. A. The subject of this sketch, Edward Anderson Irvin, was born on the 13th of January, 1838. He was the third child and the oldest son of William and Jane (Sutton) Irvin. His father was an enterprising merchant at Curwensville, and desired for his sons the benefit of a business education. Edward attended the school at Curwensville for some time, and at the age of sixteen entered the academy at Mount Holly, N. J., where he remained two years. He then entered the Edghill school at Princeton, N. J., and continued there one year. In 1857 he returned home and became associated with his father in the mercantile and lumber business. Three years later, 186o, he succeeded to the business, and successfully conducted it until the breaking out of the war.

 

     When the war began in 1861 he was at Marietta with a large amount of lumber of various kinds on hand to sell. Leaving it there, he returned home to Curwensville, gave over to his father the care and management of his business interests, and proceeded at once to recruit a company. Though but twenty-three years of age, he was full of push and enterprise, and with these enjoyed the confidence of the people, and in a short time he had one hundred and twenty brave and determined men enlisted and ready for the service. When officers were elected, Mr. Irvin was made captain. After two weeks of drill the company went to Tyrone, and was there reduced to one hundred men. Shortly after its place of rendezvous was at Camp Curtin, Harrisburg. Captain Irwin was commissioned as such on May 29, 1861. The company was attached to the Forty-second Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, otherwise known as the "First Pennsylvania Rifles," and afterwards, by order of the War Department, were called " Kane Rifles." This regiment, of which Captain Irvin commanded Company K, achieved such a reputation for gallantry during the service that the name " Bucktail " became famous in both armies.

 

     On the first day of McClellan's seven days' operations on the Peninsula, at Mechanicsville, Captain Irvin was taken prisoner and confined in Libby prison for two months, when he was exchanged, and joined his regiment on the Rappahannock, again taking command of his company, and participating in the campaign of General Pope, known as the Second Bull Run, and also in the Maryland campaign. By a commission dated September 10, 1862, Captain Irwin was promoted to the position of lieutenant-colonel of the regiment; but shortly after, on September 14, he was badly wounded while commanding a skirmish line on the advance at the battle of Boonesboro, or South Mountain, by being struck in the head with a " minnie " ball. He was carried to the field hospital and made as comfortable as the situation would permit. The surgeons believed the wound would prove fatal, and the parents of the brave young officer soon came to him. A mother's comforting presence and care soon turned the scale in his favor, and by slow journeying, Colonel Irvin was brought to his home in Curwensville. Gradually he regained his health and strength, under the careful attention of parents, sisters, and other kind friends.

 

     On the 30th of October of the same year, 1862, Colonel Irvin was married to Emma

 

 

 

 

Page 675

COL. E. A. IRVIN.— ISAAC CROSBY MCCLOSKY.

 

A. Graham, a most excellent lady, daughter of Hon. James B. Graham, of Clearfield. Soon after this event he rejoined his regiment, but on the 14th of December, 1862, at the battle of Fredericksburg, he was again severely wounded, having an arm broken by a rifle-ball, and was again incapacitated for duty. In May of the next year, 1863, believing himself fit for duty, he went before the surgeon-general, who made an examination and refused him a certificate allowing him to engage in further active service in the field. Rather than become a member of an invalid corps, Colonel Irvin was granted and accepted a discharge for wounds received in action. He entered the army among the first. His ardent sympathy with the cause and his strong conviction of duty were dominant traits and made him a soldier of the truest and best type. Among those who were loyal to every trust, and at all times unflinching in courage, he held no second place. There were few who suffered more, or saw and felt more of the shock and desolation of battle than he. He was closely identified with the " Bucktail" regiment up to the time of his discharge, and with all the vicissitudes of its eventful history, taking part in all the battles in which it engaged during that time.

 

     Upon returning to his home, Colonel Irvin resumed his former occupation, the lumber and mercantile business, which he conducted with general success until the year 1878, when he quit merchandise, and has since given his entire time to his lumber and coal interests. Upon the death of Associate-Judge James Bloom, in 1865, Governor Curtin appointed and commissioned Colonel Irvin to that office, but he never entered upon the discharge of its duties. Notwithstanding the fact of his busy life, there is no man within the limits of the county who feels greater interest in its social or political welfare than Colonel Irvin, nor is there one more ready to assist in every worthy enterprise. His long identification with the Republican party, and his position as one of its acknowledged leaders, has placed him prominently before the people, and frequently has he been pressed to become its candidate for positions of trust and honor in this section of the State, but as frequently has he declined. Having a pleasant home in the borough of Curwensville, he is more content, after the business cares of the day are laid aside, to seek its enjoyment. Of the marriage of Edward A. and Emma A. Irvin there have been born four children, two of whom are now living, a son and a daughter. The son, Hugh McNiel Irvin (named for a warm personal friend of Colonel Irvin, the gallant Colonel Hugh McNiel, of the famous " Bucktails," who was killed at South Mountain) occupies a position in connection with his father's business.

 

     Colonel Irvin is an active member of the Presbyterian Church. Charities, public and private, and religious institutions as well, receive from him a helping hand. With much of dash and public spirit he combines an earnest desire to be a faithful helper in -every work tending to promote the well-being of his town, his county, and its people.

 

     McCLOSKY, ISAAC CROSBY. In the central part of Karthaus township, about four miles north from the village of Karthaus, is located one of the finest farms in this county, two hundred acres in extent, the property and home of Isaac C. McClosky. He is not a native of this county, but was born in Clinton county on the 8th day of February, 1826, and was the oldest of a large family of children, sons and daughters of Thomas and Sophia McClosky. The family came to Karthaus in the year 1848, and located on lands previously purchased by Isaac, then only one hundred acres in area, and having only about five acres cut over, and with no other improvement. Here the family lived until the month of September, of the year 1854, when the parents and sev‑

 
 

 

 

Page 676

HISTORY OF CLEARFIELD COUNTY.

 

eral of the children went to Iowa, Isaac remaining to improve and cultivate the land, and which was destined, through his enterprise, thrift and energy, to become not only the best and most productive in the township, but one of the best in the county. Enlarging and extending his possessions from time to time, Mr. McClosky has become the sole owner of some six hundred acres of desirable land, besides having a half interest in as much more. In connection with his agricultural pursuit he has engaged extensively in lumbering, and his investments in this direction have been productive of good results. Something like thirty years ago he established a general merchandise store on his farm and did, for many years, a successful business, and upon the starting in trade of his son, at Belford, he discontinued the store at Karthaus Hill, and took an interest in the son's business, the management of it, however, being left wholly to the latter.

 

     In the affairs and well-being of the county and of his township Mr. McClosky has always taken a deep interest, and is identified with every progressive step, yet, he has been no aspirant for political office, and although frequently pressed to become a candidate, he has as frequently declined, and never held any position except that of school director of the township, and perhaps other minor offices, being too much occupied with his own business to give more than his counsel and vote to political matters. In political life he is consistently and thoroughly Democratic, and by his influence and standing in the party is looked upon as its leader in Karthaus township.

 

     On the 25th day of October, in the year 1854, Isaac C. McClosky married Elizabeth Jane, daughter of Thomas Ross McClure, a highly respected resident of Pike township. Of this marriage ten children have been born, five of whom are still living.

 

     BARRETT, GEORGE RODDEN, was born at Curwensville on the 31st day of March, 1815, being the third child and oldest son of Daniel Barrett, who was married to Rachel Rodden, the daughter of Isaac Rodden, of Clearfield. When old enough George attended a private school taught by Miss Ann Reed, this being the only school in that neighborhood. This was the only opportunity furnished him to acquire an education. At the age of fifteen years he was apprenticed to the late Governor John Bigler, of California, to learn the printing trade, in the town of Bellefonte, Centre county. After two years' service he removed to Brookville, Jefferson county, and edited and published a paper named the Jeffersonian. Although at this time but eighteen years of age, he took an active and prominent part in the political discussions of the day. He continued the publication of that paper for about one year. In the month of September, 1834, he was married to Sarah Steadman, the daughter of George Steadman, of Lewisburg, Union county. The next year, 1835, he moved with his family to Lewisburg, and entered the office of James F. Linn, esq., as a student at law. While engaged in the study of law he established and edited the first Democratic paper ever published in Lewisburg, the Lewisburg- Democrat. In the following year, 1836, having been admitted to the bar, he moved with his family to Clearfield, and established himself in the practice of the profession he had chosen.

 

     In the year 1837 he was appointed deputy attorney-general for the counties of Clearfield and Jefferson. While Clearfield county at that time was sparsely settled, and afforded but a narrow scope for a young lawyer to develop himself in the performance of the duties of his office, yet the young deputy attorney-general had hardly entered upon the duties of his office when he was enlisted in one of the most exciting cases ever tried in Jefferson county, and known as the " Green murder trial," the result of which

 

 

 

 

Page 677

GEORGE RODDEN BARRETT.

 

was to establish firmly the reputation of George R. Barrett, and place him at the head of the bar in his own county, which position he maintained until he retired from the practice of the profession to assume his judicial office.

 

     In 1840 he was elected from the district composed of Clearfield, Clinton, and Lycoming counties, to serve in the Legislature, and re-elected the succeeding year. While a member of the Legislature he served upon the judiciary committee, and among his colleagues upon that committee were the late Thaddeus Stevens, the late Chief Justice Sharswood, and Judge Elwell, of Columbia county. During his service the law abolishing imprisonment for debt was passed. It caused, at the time, great excitement, and engendered intense and bitter feeling. Mr. Barrett was the consistent, steadfast and earnest advocate of the measure, and was regarded and looked upon as its champion.

 

     At the close of his second term he returned to Clearfield, with the fixed determination to abandon politics and adhere strictly to his profession, which he practiced with unvarying success; but, being a ready political debater, and of such strong convictions, he found it impossible to keep out of the political discussions of the day; every succeeding fall found him upon the stump. His friend and neighbor, Governor Bigler, having become a candidate for the chief magistracy of Pennsylvania, found a ready, earnest and active supporter in Mr. Barrett, in conventions, caucuses and before the people. This fact, perhaps, more than anything else had the effect of drawing him back into politics and keeping him in its turmoil. In 1852 he was placed upon the ticket and elected presidential elector, and cast his vote in the electoral college for Franklin Pierce for president of the United States. In May of the following year he was appointed, by Governor Bigler, president judge of the twenty-second judicial district, composed of the counties of Wayne, Pike, Monroe, and Carbon, which office he held until the succeeding December, then declining to be a candidate for election.

 

     In the winter of 1852 Congress enacted a law authorizing the president to select and appoint a suitable person, learned in the law, to systematize and codify the revenue laws of the United States. President Pierce appointed Judge Barrett, who immediately entered upon the duties of his position, and, in a little over one year, he completed the work to the satisfaction of the government. He then returned to Clearfield and resumed the practice of his profession.

 

     In the fall of 1855, never having visited the district in which he had temporarily presided, he was nominated by the Democratic party, without his solicitation, as their candidate for president judge. At that time the Democratic party was opposed by a secret oath-bound organization known as the a Know-Nothings." The latter placed in nomination Thomas S. Bell, an ex-supreme judge of the State. During the exciting contest that followed Judge Barrett never visited the district, nor wrote a letter concerning his candidacy, but received most of his news of the canvass through the press. The result was his election by over three thousand majority, which was largely in excess of the party majority that year. He held the office and performed its duties during the entire ten years following. In 1865 he was renominated by both political parties and elected unanimously. In 1869, having tired of the monotony of judicial life, he re­signed the office. Governor Geary, having trouble in selecting a successor, induced him to accept an appointment for one year to enable the people, in the mean time, to elect his successor. In 1870 he retired permanently from office. In 1872 he returned to the practice of his profession at Clearfield and in adjoining counties, forming a partnership with his son, Walter Barrett, who was then engaged in practice. This relation

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Page 678

HISTORY OF CLEARFIELD COUNTY.

 

was continued until 1884, when, on account of ill health, Judge Barrett was compelled to retire permanently from the profession. During the twelve years of his practice he was interested in all the leading cases, civil and criminal, tried at the bar of the county, as well as many in Bedford, Huntingdon, Centre and Montour counties, also in trying important cases in the United States Circuit Court at Pittsburgh. During this time it was a matter of pride with him that he never lost a case in the Supreme Court, and that, during the sixteen years of his service upon the bench, he was reversed but thirteen times, although reviewed in hundreds of instances.

 

     What greater compliment can be paid, or what more fitting tribute can be written upon the professional career of this man than by the statement of fact ; a lawyer pro­found and deep in the knowledge of the law ; a counselor prudent and careful, ever ready, but never over hasty ; shrewed [sic], and able to see quickly and grasp every point in the trial of a case ; using strong argument rather than eloquence in his presentation to the jury, nevertheless a fluent and effective speaker; ever respectful and submissive to the !linings of the court? Possessing, as he did, those qualities that placed him high in the profession as a lawyer, he was eminently fitted for the more exalted station in professional life—the bench. Self-possessed, dignified, courteous, easy and graceful in his bearing, firm in his rulings, logical in his reasoning, kind and forbearing toward the profession generally, and the younger lawyers in particular, Mr. Barrett, during his presidency, acquired the deserved honor of being one of the ablest and most popular judges upon the bench.

 

     Outside of his long and active professional life Judge Barrett was engaged in many enterprises, having, at one time, large lumber interests, and connected with several mercantile establishments ; but more especially did he exhibit a fondness for agriculture, and never was he so happy, apparently, as when superintending his farms. He was also active in promoting railroad enterprises, and spent a great deal of time and money in endeavoring to establish a railway route through Clearfield county, connecting with trunk lines.

 

     He raised to maturity a family of ten children, and, although never a rich man, he always hid sufficient to live in affluence and maintain large, charitable dependencies. In no way do the qualities of the man appear so strongly as in the citizen, friend, and neighbor, in the more private walks of life. His commanding personal appearance, agreeable manners, and his scrupulous attention to the common civilities of life, endear him alike to the old and young. No appeal to his charity was ever made in vain, and now, bearing upon him the weight of advanced years, he recognizes in all the full­ness of his strength, the divine command, "Bear ye one another's burdens."

 

     STEWART, ROBERT SHAW, the subject of this sketch, was born in Bradford township, this county, on the 3oth day of June, in the year 1826. His father, John Stewart, was a native of Ireland, who immigrated to this country and became one of the pioneers of Bradford township in the year 1819. In the family of John Stewart were eight children, of whom Robert S. was the fourth. The children were brought up on the farm, and had but little opportunity to acquire an education, except by experience. The older brothers were among the first lumbermen in this region, and ran lumber to market at a very early day. Until he attained his twenty-first year, Robert S. worked on the farm and in the woods for his father, but on reaching that age he commenced making square timber, on a small scale at first, but gradually increasing as he felt able to do so,

 

 

 

 

Page 679

ROBERT SHAW STEWART.- JOHN PATTON.

 

and as occasion demanded, until he became known as one of the many extensive and successful operators in this locality. For many years he was a lumber contractor for a Philadelphia firm, and ran their timber to market.

 

     In the year 1870 he bought the lands and mill privilege of Irvin & Sons, on the the north side of the West Branch. Here he replaced the burned mill with a substantial new one ; still later he purchased another tract from Gillingham & Garrison, at the mouth of Surveyor's Run, where, in 1884, he built the large steam and water-power saw, shingle and planing mill now so extensively operated by him.

 

     Robert S. Stewart commenced his business career with no capital, except his own determined will and energy, and his success is the result of his own personal efforts and good management. His time and attention are devoted to business, leaving him but little occasion to participate in the political affairs of the county ; nevertheless, as one of the substantial sons of the county, and a resident of Girard township, he takes a deep interest in every move looking to the progress of either. As an earnest member of the Shawsville Methodist Episcopal Church, he contributes both of his means and counsel to the support and maintenance of that society.

 

     On the 6th day of November, in the year 1851, Robert Shaw Stewart married Rebecca, daughter of Robert Wrigley. Of this marriage there have been born eleven children, nine of whom are still iiving [sic].

 

     PATTON, HON. JOHN. Before entering into a narrative of the events of the life and life's work of John Patton, or any comment upon his personal traits of character, it is appropriate that some mention be made of his antecedents; and inasmuch as his paternal ancestors were so intimately associated with the stirring events that gave life and liberty to the nation, a brief mention of those persons and of those events is not only appropriate, but desirable; and, futhermore, furnishes a record of personal sacrifice and personal heroism, in which any descendant may feel just pride.

 

     General John Patton, the grandfather of our subject, was born in Sligo, Ireland, in the year 1745, and emigrated to this country, at Philadelphia, in the year 1761. He engaged actively in the struggle for national independence, as colonel of the Sixteenth Regiment of Pennsylvania troops. For a time he had charge of the defenses of Philadelphia; moreover, he was one of that noble band of merchants of that city, composed of Robert Morris and other patriotic men, who raised, on their own personal responsibility, some two hundred and sixty thousand pounds to relieve Washington in the greatest crisis of the Revolution. He also was a member of the famous Cincinnati Society. In 1791 he moved to Centre county, where he passed the rest of his life. He died in the year 1804. He built, in the latter named county, the old Centre furnace, one of the first erected west of Harrisburg.

 

     John Patton, the father of our subject, was a native of Philadelphia, born in the year 1783, and when eight years of age came with his parents to Centre county. He married Susan Antes, a woman of great strength of character, and loved by all to whom she was known. Prior to the time of his marriage, John Patton served in the navy as lieutenant under Commodore Stephen Decatur. He afterwards moved to Tioga county, having been commissioned by Governor Heister as prothonotary of that county. In 1827 he came to Clearfield county, and, two years later, 1828, made a permanent location at Curwensville. He served one term as associate judge of the county, his colleague upon the bench being Hon. James Ferguson. He died February 2, 1848. His wife,

 

 

 

 

Page 680

HISTORY OF CLEARFIELD COUNTY.

 

Susan (Antes) Patton, survived him many years, and died at the advanced age of ninety- two years.

 

     John Patton, the subject of this sketch, was born in Tioga county, this State, on the 6th day of January, in the year 1823. With his father's family he came to Curwensville in 1828, then being but five years of age. At the age of fourteen years young Patton went into the store of William Irvin, in the capacity of errand boy, and being honest, faithful and obedient, he was soon advanced to the position of principal clerk. On arriving at the age of twenty-one years, and having acquired a fair understanding of the several branches of trade in which his employer was engaged, Mr. Patton embarked for himself in the mercantile and lumbering business. Having borrowed means at the beginning, his operations were necessarily small, but by careful investments and good judgment his means increased, and his field of operation became enlarged, until it extended throughout the county, and he became known as one of the most extensive and successful business men of the region. He was thus engaged until the year 1860. He organized the First National Bank of Curwensville in 1864, and became its president. In this capacity he served for a period of twelve years, when, in 1876, the Curwensville Bank succeeded the First National, and he was made president of that, an office he still holds.

 

     Such is, in brief, a resume of the principal business operations of John Patton. If it indicates anything, it is that he is a remarkable man in his capacity to grasp and successfully direct large enterprises, the details of which would distract and paralyze the powers of men less favorably constituted ; but his manifold interests never worried him ; in all these his power has been found sufficient for any emergency, and his time adequate for all requirements. And he has found time, too, for other duties than those confined to his business operations, and has given his substantial co-operation to every enterprise that tended to promote the interests of his town and county. Unselfish and unstinted have been his contributions for all purposes. For the building of the Tyrone and Clearfield Railroad he donated the gross sum of $12,500 ; the Patton Graded Public School Building, and ground on which it is erected, were his free and voluntary gift (costing over $20,000), and stand an enduring monument to his generosity and public spiritedness.

 

     No less munificent and no less worthy have been his donations for other purposes, particularly the frequent contributions made to church and benevolent institutions; in fact, no worthy enterprise has sought his assistance and been refused. During his long and active business life General Patton (for by this title is he generally known, having held the commission of a brigadier-general in the militia service) formed an extensive and favorable acquaintance throughout this county and others adjoining, and being a man of undoubted integrity, straightforward honesty and recognized ability, he possessed the confidence and esteem of his fellow-men; therefore, it could not be a surprising fact that he should be pressed into the political service as the representative of the party, to the principles of which he held and gave support—the Republican party. In the year 1860 he was elected and represented the Twenty-fourth Pennsylvania district in the Thirty-seventh Congress, serving during three sessions of the Federal Legislature, while our divided country was battling in civil war. Again, in 1884, Mr. Patton became the candidate of the Republican party for the office of representative in Congress, but was defeated at the polls by Hon. Andrew G. Curtin, the candidate of the Democracy, by only twelve hundred votes. In 1886 a third time was General Patton nominated for

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page 681

JOHN PATTON.- ELLIS IRWIN.

 

the same office, and for a second time was he successful, carrying the district by about one hundred and fifty plurality over Hon. James K. P. Hall, the Democratic nominee. At this time the standing Democratic majority in the district numbered some four thousand votes. Prior to his candidacy for any office General Patton was an active worker in the field of politics. He was a Whig, and upon the merging of that party into the Republican, joined with the latter and the principles advocated by it. His first vote was cast for Henry Clay for president. He was a delegate to the National Whig Con­vention in 1852, and also a delegate to the National Republican Convention that nom­inated Abraham Lincoln in 1860.

 

     John Patton has been twice married. He married, June 17, 1847, Catharine M. Ennis, daughter of Alexander Ennis, of Hollidaysburg. Four children were born of that marriage, three sons and one daughter. Catharine (Ennis) Patton died November 28, 1855. On the 18th day of June, 1858, John Patton married Honora Jane, daughter of William C. Foley. Of this marriage eight children have been born, five sons and three daughters, of whom five are still living.

 

     IRWIN, ELLIS. The subject of this sketch was born on the 17th day of June, in the year 1805, near Bellefonte, Centre county. His parents were strictly pious people, members of the Society of Friends, under the teachings of which faith our subject was brought up, and from which he has never since departed. His father was of Irish, and his mother of English descent. Such education as was received by Ellis Irwin, during the days of his youth, was in attending the Bellefonte Academy, and although an academic education at that time fell far short of the present standard, yet young Irwin, by diligence and close application, acquired a sufficient education to not only transact ordinary business, but which stood him in good stead in the various offices of trust and responsibility he was afterwards called upon to fill. In the year 1827 Mr. Irwin married Hannah Iddings, daughter of John and Ann Iddings, of Centre county, and two years later, 1829, moved to Clearfield county, and took their residence on the Grampian Hills (now Penn township), upon a farm with but very little improvement. Here for four years he battered his constitution over pine stumps and other impediments to easy farming, when, finding that his physical strength was not equal to the strain imposed upon it by that occupation, he rented the farm and moved to Curwensville.

 

     In the year 1835 Mr. Irwin was appointed by the governor to the office of prothonotary, register and recorder, and clerk of the several courts of the county, which offices he held for three years. At the expiration of his term, he purchased the store of Richard Shaw, in Clearfield, and commenced merchandising. On the death of Prothonotary William C. Welch, Mr. Irwin was appointed by Governor Johnson to serve out the un­expired part of his term—about one and one-half years. In 1846 he was appointed postmaster at Clearfield, by Postmaster-General Wickliff, during the administration of General Harrison. In 1843 he was elected sheriff of the county, and served three years. In all the offices of the county to which he was appointed and elected, Mr. Irwin served with fidelity and satisfaction. He was a trusted public servant, 'honest and capable, performing promptly and well each and every duty, without fear and wholly unbiased by party or political prejudices.

 

     In 1856 Mr. Irwin moved to Lick Run, Goshen township, where, in company with his brother, William F. Irwin, he had a lumbering business, and where our subject still lives and conducts that business, although at the advanced age of eighty-two years; still

 

 

 

 

Page 682

HISTORY OF CLEARFIELD COUNTY.

 

hearty, reasonably strong, in the enjoyment of good health and the comforts of life, earned fairly and honestly in the busy fields of life, with a consciousness of having done well and right. In 1872 Mr. Irwin was appointed postmaster at Lick Run Mills, and has held that position ever since.

 

     In the month of February, 1881, after a married life of more than fifty-four years, Hannah Irwin, the esteemed and devoted wife and companion of Ellis Irwin, was called from earth. She was a woman loved and admired for her true worth and endearing qualities ; possessed of a quiet and gentle disposition, true Christian character and all wo­manly virtues.

 

     MAXWELL, JAMES ANDREW, M. D., the youngest but one of six children, sons and daughters of Andrew B. and Isabella (Smith) Maxwell, was born at Newport, Perry county, Pa., on the 22d day of March, in the year 184o. At the age of twelve years he entered the office of the Holidaysburg Register, intending to learn the printing trade. At the same time he attended the academy at Holidaysburg. He remained at this place for about four years, after which he returned home. The family then moved to Chambersburg, Franklin county, where James finished his trade on the Franklin Repository, but at the same time went to school at the academy at the latter place. He then determined to enter the medical profession, and, to this end, in the spring of 1861, he commenced a course of medical study with Dr. A. H. Senseny, which continued about three years. During his studies, however, and in the years 1863-64 he attended a course of lectures at the Jefferson Medical College, at Philadelphia.

 

     In April, 1864, he received an appoiutment [sic] as medical cadet in the regular army, and was stationed at the Post Hospital, at Chambersburg, but was afterward transformed to the McClellan U. S. Hospital at Philadelphia. He was so occupied for about one year and managed, during the time, to devote considerable attention to study. He then returned to the college and finished his course, graduating in the spring of 1866, and receiving the degree of M. D. For one year he practiced in Franklin county, after which he came to Curwensville and made a permanent location.

 

     In the practice of medicine and surgery Dr. Maxwell has been successful; nor is this success undeserved, for he has been found ready at all times to attend to the duties of his profession, and, rich or poor, the patient is treated without distinction of position. This, with a thorough understanding of his profession, has brought to him an extensive and remunerative practice, and that which is more to be desired, the respect and confidence of the entire community. In the year 1869, then having been a resident of Curwensville for about two years, Dr. Maxwell married Rebecca L., daughter of Thomas Ross, a respected resident of the place. Eight children have been born of this marriage, five of whom are now living.

 

     IRVIN, HON. ALEXANDER. On the 18th day of January, in the year 1800, Alexander Irvin was born. He was the third child and second son of William and Margaret (Johnston) Irvin, who, at the time of the birth of our subject, were residents of Centre county. In the year 1820 Alexander came to Curwensville, where he was employed as clerk in his brother's store, and otherwise engaged in business of various kinds, and acquired a thorough understanding of each in general and in detail. After a resieence [sic] of about five years in Curwensville, he moved to the county seat, where he engaged in the mercantile business, and also that of a mill-contractor, building mills in

 

 

 

 

Page 683

ALEXANDER IRVIN.- AARON W. PATCHIN.

 

various localities throughout the county. The year following that in which he became a resident of Clearfield town (1826), he married Elizabeth, daughter of William Bloom, an old and highly respected resident of Pike township. From this time forward, Alexander Irvin was one of the foremost men in the affairs of Clearfield county. In business life he was entirely successful, but unfortunately he possessed not the faculty of retaining that which he made ; in social and political life, he made friends and always retained them. He had superior intellect and business qualifications, but they were to him of little avail. The political problems of the day he could grasp and solve to a nicety ; his power of foretelling the result of a campaign was something remarkable, yet he was never boastful of his abilities in this direction, or accustomed to ridiculous or exaggerated statements. " He was a man," says the Clearfield Republican, " of unassuming manners, but of wonderful personal popularity, and thereby vanquished every rival he met on the political battlefield. Although he held numerous public offices, he did not possess the faculty of making money. He was an ardent supporter of the old Whig party, and was one of the organizers of the Republican party, although never the candidate of the latter. In 1872 he was a delegate to the Cincinnati convention, and then supported Mr. Adams; but, upon the nomination of Mr. Greeley, he fully endorsed and supported him as a presidential candidate. After the excitement occasioned by this independent movement had passed away, Mr. Irvin returned to the Republican party.

 

     His first appearance in the field of politics was made in the year 1836, when he was elected to the State Senate over Governor Packer, the candidate of the democracy. In 1842 he was elected prothonotary of Clearfield county, and in 1846 was the successful Whig candidate for congressional honors, he being the first representative in Congress chosen from Clearfield county; Still later, in 1846, he was appointed United States marshal for the Western District of Pennsylvania, during the administration of President Taylor.

 

     During his several political holdings Mr. Irvin was never looked upon as an especially brilliant man ; he possessed not, nor did he claim to possess, superior ability as a legislator, nevertheless, his vote could always be found representing the best interests of his constituents, and his argument was logical and common-sense. His success as a politician lay in his popularity with the people, and his remarkable power as an organizer, in knowing what ought to be done to insure success, and then, how to do it. After his services as U. S. marshal had ceased, Mr. Irvin returned to Clearfield, where he lived during the rest of his life, and where he died on Friday, the 20th day of March; 1874, being aged seventy-four years, two months and two days.

 

     PATCHIN, AARON W. It has frequently been remarked that the " Yankees," from New York and New England, showed the Pennsylvanians how to make lumber, and how to get it to market. Be this as it may, it is nevertheless certain that the " Down­easters," whether Yankees or not, brought into the lumbering country of the " Upper" Susquehanna some of the most enterprising, go-ahead and prosperous people that ever settled and improved any locality. John Patchin and his descendants were excellent types of the class of people referred to, the father, John, having come to this region in 1836, and started in the lumber business in the vicinity of Burnside township, and so continued down to the time of his death in 1863.

 

     Aaron Wright Patchin, the fourth of eight children, sons and daughters of John and Elizabeth (Wright) Patchin, was born in the town of Hague, Warren county, New York

 

 

 

 

Page 684

HISTORY OF CLEARFIELD COUNTY.

 

State, on the 15th day of August, 1822. He was brought up to the lumber business in the vicinity of Lake George, N. Y. (his father's former residence), near the foot-hills of the famous Adirondacks, and here his early life was spent, when, in 1847, he followed his father and came to the " Upper " Susquehanna. He, with other brothers, engaged extensively in the lumber business, a part of the time under the firm name and style of John Patchin & Sons. Upon the death of the father, Aaron, who seems to have been his father's chief assistant and advisor during life, acquired most of his father's real estate, having fully compensated the other heirs for their interests, and by him the vast business was successfully continued. He also was one of the executors of his father's will, his co-executor being Jackson Patchin. The extent of the lands acquired by our subject, upon his father's death, numbered some thousands of acres, but in enlarging his lumbering interests he has purchased much other lands, and now owns several thousands of acres scattered about in various localities, and much greater in amount than that originally given him. He, too, became the owner of the mercantile business, at Patchinville, which he has ever since continued, this being the only store in the immediate vicinity. He is the owner of the extensive saw-mill at that place. During the month of April, 1887, Mr. Patchin established an extensive works at Camden, N. J., for the manufacture of spars, the material therefor being cut from his lands in this locality. At the same place he also has a lumber saw-mill. Aaron W. Patchin has not been in any sense a public man ; he had neither the disposition nor the time to indulge in the worry of political life, although frequently pressed to become the candidate of his party—the Republican; he sought no office nor station except that to which he was clearly entitled—that of a leading business man in the county. Upon this record is he content to live, seeking no other position but enjoying fully in his rural home, surrounded by family and friends, the fruits of years of honest toil.

On the 26th day of June, 1862, Aaron W. Patchin married Elizabeth, daughter of George Barrett, of Indiana county. Of this marriage ten children have been born, eight of whom are still living.

 

     IRVIN, WILLIAM. About the year 1820 William Irvin, jr., as he was then known, came to the mouth of Anderson's Creek, at a point now occupied by the borough of Curwensville. Here his father had purchased a tract of about three hundred and thirty acres of land, built a dam across the West Branch, and erected a mill. In the year 1828 William, jr., and John Irvin purchased this mill property from their father and managed it for two years, when, in 1830, John bought William's interest. The latter then engaged in the mercantile business, conducting a large general store, and also became an extensive lumberman. His investments were remunerative, and he acquired large means. There being no banking-houses in the vicinity during, a greater part of his business life, Mr. Irvin invested his surplus funds in real estate, which brought him handsome returns in later years, and left an exceedingly valuable estate to be divided among his heirs at his decease.

 

     William Irvin is remembered as a man of excellent business qualifications, possessing good judgment, honest in every transaction, correct in his habits, unassuming in manner, and inclined to be conservative, yet generous and enterprising in all that pertained to the welfare of his town, county, and its people. In the various enterprises that contributed to the development and improvement of the county, he was a leader, and gave largely both of his time and means. For the construction of the Tyrone and Clearfield

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page 685

WILLIAM IRVIN— RICHARD SHAW.

 

railroad he contributed liberally, and was made one of the directors, although he did not live to see the road completed ; but his estate contributed twenty thousand dollars after his death in accordance with his wish. Out of his own funds he caused to be built a brick school-house at Curwensville, and, for a time, paid the expenses of its maintenance. He was a man of broad views on all subjects ; possessed a mind capable of grasping large enterprises and conducting them to successful issues; far-seeing judgment, and a character founded upon principles of justice and integrity. It cannot be said that any good work ever appealed to him in vain; at the same time his best deeds were not clone in a manner to draw attention to himself, his chief, aim being to be considered one of the staunch business men of the town, and to so order his daily life as to secure the respect and esteem of his townsmen. All religious organizations received his sympathy and material aid. He was an earnest worker in the political field, on the Republican side, though never for his own advancement ; he never sought an office, and accepted but one, that of United States marshal of the Western District, but his time and means were always ready for the good of the party, and when the government was threatened with internecine foes, none was more active and liberal in its support than he.

 

     In 1860 Mr. Irvin was succeeded in the mercantile business by his son, Edwin A. Irvin, but, in the year following, the latter entered the army, and during his absence the father managed the store. Aside from this, Mr. Irvin may be said to have retired from active business in the year 1860, and thereafter, and until the time of his death, December 29, 1869, his time was given to the care and management of his estate.

 

     William Irvin, jr., of whom the above is written; was born in Penn's Valley, on the 1st day of December, in the year 1801. His father, William Irvin, sr., was a native of Ireland, and came to this country in the year 1789. He married Margaret Johnston, by whom he had nine children, William, jr., being the fourth child and the third son. In the year 1830, March 2, William Irvin, jr., married Jane Patton. The fruit of this marriage was fifteen children, four of whom died in infancy. Of the life and Christian example of Jane Patton Irvin, enough might be written for a complete' chapter. She was a woman of fine intelligence and great force of character. To her husband and children she gave her unbounded love, her greatest earthly affection, every attention, every thought, every care. In time of trial she proved a comfort, and in time of triumph a joy ; her force of character, her patience, her resignation, and her very presence were, in themselves, noble examples ; her worthy charities, dispensed here and there among the poor and the afflicted, quietly and without display ; her loyal devotion to country and the Union arms that led her thrice within the lines, administering help to the sick and wounded, and comfort and consolation to the dying comrades, can never be forgotten ; and finally her patient resignation to her physical suffering during the last sixteen years of her life, were traits of her character that endeared her to a large circle of friends and relatives ; and in her death the whole community lost a dear friend. She died September 4, 1881, having survived her husband nearly twelve years.

 

     SHAW, RICHARD. There was, perhaps, no man who occupied a more prominent position, or took a more active part in all that pertained to the general welfare of this county during the days of its infancy, than Richard Shaw. In every project look­ing to the advancement of the interests of the county and the prosperity of its people, he was foremost, and at the same time fully mindful of his duties to himself and his fam‑

87

 

 

 

 

Page 686

HISTORY OF CLEARFIELD COUNTY.

 

ily. Mr. Shaw was born in the county Derry, Ireland, February 2, 1792. He was the second of eight children, sons and daughters, born to Archibald and Mary Shaw. Each of these children grew to manhood and womanhood.

 

     The settlement of the family in this county dates back to the year 1810, at which time Archibald Shaw and family located on the Mount Joy ridges, a few miles north from Clearfield town.

 

     On the 14th day of May, in the year 1816, Richard Shaw united in marriage with Mary Irwin, daughter of Henry Irwin, who also was one of the pioneers of the county, and one of its respected men. The children of this marriage were eleven in number, and are elsewhere mentioned in this volume.

 

     Soon after marriage Mr. Shaw moved to Bradford township, on a hundred-acre tract known as the Bird lands. Here he lived but four years, when he located on land at the mouth of Montgomery Creek, in Lawrence township, but soon again moved further up the river to the site of the present farm of Leander Denning. The places last named were not owned by Mr. Shaw, his interest being only a leasehold.

 

     Having purchased the extensive tract of lands which have subsequently been known as the Shaw lands, situate on the west side of the river, opposite Clearfield town, he moved there and made that his residence during the remainder of his life. As a farmer, merchant, and lumberman he was energetic, 'thrifty, and consequently prosperous. As his means accumulated he invested them in real estate, and watching the gradual growth of the county seat, made most of his investments in that locality. In 1840 he became the owner of the property known as the " Red Mill," which he owned, or controlled, up to the time of his death. His investments in Clearfield were, too, quite extensive, and by various purchases he became sole owner of all the property on the north side of Market street, that lay between First and Second streets, with a considerable frontage on either of the last named thoroughfares. This land lay in the heart of the town, and rapidly increased in value, and, as occasion seemed to require, he caused to be erected thereon buildings suitable for mercantile and other purposes; besides these lands he made extensive purchases in other localities, each of which was improved and turned to good purpose.

 

     While thus actively engaged in his personal affairs, Mr. Shaw was not neglectful of the interests of his children, but gave each of them the benefits of his own business experience, and a good start in life on their attaining a proper age.

 

     In political affairs he always took an active interest and warmly advocated the doctrines of the Democratic party. He was at one time appointed justice of the peace for Lawrence township, and still later chosen to fill the more elevated and dignified office of associate judge of the county, his colleague on the bench at that time being Dr. John P. Hoyt. From his incumbency of this office, Mr. Shaw was ever afterward known by the title of " judge."

 

     For many years he was a member of the Presbyterian Church, in the interests of which he took an active part, contributing both of his attention and means for the welfare of that society and its members. In this as in other respects, his example has been followed by a majority of his descendants.

Richard Shaw died on the 17th day of August, 1876, having passed the eighty-fourth year of his life. His remains were interred in the Shaw family burying-ground, opposite the borough of Clearfield.

 

 

 

 

Page 687

ALEXANDER MURRAY.

 

     MURRAY, ALEXANDER. During the infancy of Clearfield county there were but few of the pioneer families that settled within its borders but that were subjected to untold hardships and privations for many years ; and of those who made the attempt none, or at the greatest, but very few, hoped for any greater acquisition than a comfortable living. In the year 1821, John Murray and Mary, his wife, with a family of small children, came from Huntingdon county and took up their abode in that part of the county that was, in later years, erected into Girard township, upon lands for which the father had a contract of purchase, but for which no payment had then been made. After three years passed in clearing the land, for it was a dense forest, and erecting a cabin in which to live, the head of this family was taken away by the hand of death, leaving to the widowed mother the care of the children, and with no hope for future comfort save her great mainstay and support,—faith and trust in God. Armed with these, and being possessed of much courage and energy, she commenced the battle for life. She was a woman of much force of character, and is kindly remembered by many of the older people of the county, to whom her sterling worth, and her faithful struggle to keep together and maintain her children, were well known. She lived to an advanced age, and died April 7, 1871, which was the fiftieth anniversary of her advent to this county.

 

     Alexander Murray, the subject of this sketch, then being in the twelfth year of his age, did much to help in the care of the family. He cultivated a little land and farmed some with one horse. The mother was skilled in the art of weaving and made the cloth for her family wearing apparel, and for other families as well, receiving as compensation commodities for home consumption. Young Alexander soon grew strong and worked at Karthaus in the winter. When fifteen years old he drove team and received the same pay as older men. But little cash found its way to the family purse, only food and clothing being paid as wages, and that at very high figures. The first money received by our subject he earned by building sixty rods of the old Milesburg and Smithport turnpike. For this he got $50 cash and an order for $45 more, the latter, however, was never paid, owing to some default on the part of the treasurer of the company.

 

     Mr. Murray then commenced lumbering on a small scale, and saved some money with which he paid for the homestead and bought more land, and never thereafter did the family suffer for the necessaries or comforts of life.

 

     On the 23d day of February, 1843, Alexander Murray married Isabella M., daughter of Thomas Holt, of Bradford township. Of this marriage nine children were born, five of whom are still living : Warren P., the oldest son, now living at home ; Thomas H., of Clearfield ; William E., who died in his twenty-first year ; Alfred A., who manages the farm ; Martha A., the oldest daughter, who married Dr. W. S. Gilliland ; Sarah B., who married Robert C. Gilliland, of Snow Shoe, Pa. The other children died young. On the 1st day of October, 1879, after a pleasant journey along life's path of nearly two-score years, marred by no unhappy event save the loss of four children, the wife of Alexander Murray died : a devoted companion, a loving and affectionate mother, a kind and Christian friend and neighbor. Three years later, January 19, 1882, Mr. Murray married Mrs. Ermina J. Spackman, a lady of gentle manners and loving disposition, and with whom he hoped to pass his remaining year ; but the destroyer was not idle, for on the 5th day of May, 1885, she, too, was called from earth, leaving her husband, now on the shady side of life, not rich, nor poor, but with a glorious hope of an inheritance in heaven that is incorruptible and fadeth not away. A man of temper‑

 

 

 

 

Page 688

HISTORY OF CLEARFIELD COUNTY.

 

ate habits and correct life, and though full of years, he is an exceedingly well-preserved person, and a good type of that sturdy class who have endured so much privation, and contributed so largely to the growth and well being of the county.

 

     POTTER, DR. J. W. Johnson W. Potter, son of John and Nancy (Thompson) i Potter, was born in Clarion township, Clarion county, on the 6th day of March, 1835. Until he attained the age of eighteen years young Potter lived with his parents on the farm, where he was employed at work, and in attending the common schools of the county, but he then went to Indiana county where he obtained a clerkship in a store, and worked there about one year. He then came to this county. For two winters he taught school in Lawrence township, and during the summer months read medicine with Dr. Matthew Woods, then a leading physician of the county. After a short time spent in the West, Mr. Potter, through the influence of Gov. Bigler, received an appointment for instruction at the National Medical College, an institution under the support of the government at Washington, D. C. Here he pursued his studies and attended lectures during the years 1859-60, but the building and premises were then taken by the national authorities for military purposes, and have never since been revived for collegiate use.

 

     In the early part of the year 1860 Dr. Potter located at Mulsonburg, in this county, and commenced the practice of medicine. Here he remained eight years, when, his health failing, and seeing better results in the lumber business, made investments therein and started a mercantile business at Three Runs, Karthaus township. In this new occupation Dr. Potter engaged extensively, and, in connection therewith, built a saw and grist­mill, which he still owns, although now retired from active business life. In the year 1877, having, through energy and good management, acquired a comfortable fortune, he came to Keewaydin, Covington township, and purchased a finely located farm of about fifty acres, upon which he built an elegant residence and other fine buildings. In 1883 he built a commodious hotel at Karthaus village, and established a mercantile business at the same place, the latter now being owned by his son.

 

     During his many years of residence in the county, both as a citizen arid as a professional man, Dr. Potter formed an extensive and favorable acquaintance, and, although he never possessed any political ambition or sought political preferment, yet he has occasionally been pressed into the political arena when strong men were needed. He had, moreover, strong convictions, and openly opposed every movement that tended toward political " bossism " or " rings," in his own or the opposite party. In the year 1868 he became a candidate for the Lower House of the State Legislature, but was defeated in the primary election, Thomas J. McCullough being the successful candidate. Again, in 1873, he was run as an independent candidate, having been nominated by the independent and conservative Democrats, and receiving a strong support from the Republican ranks, against Thomas J. Boyer, the " machine " candidate of the Democracy. In the hotly contested campaign that followed, Dr. Potter showed great strength and was elected at the polls. This victory practically terminated the existence of " the rings " in Clearfield county .

 

     For one term Dr. Potter served, with credit to himself and county, in the Legislature. The next year, 1874, he was re-nominated by the independent Democrats, but was defeated by Col. W. R. Hartshorn, the regular nominee, a man of large and favorable acquaintance throughout the county. In the year 1858, at New Bethlehem, Clar‑

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page 689

DR. J. W. POTTER.-JOHN P. HOYT.

 

ion county, Johnson W. Potter married Alamanda Hoffman. Of this marriage eight children have been born, four of whom are still living.

 

     HOYT, HON. JOHN P. In the early part of the year 1819, there came to Clearfield county a young man, just turned of his twenty-fifth year, who took up his residence at a point in Pike township, about two miles southwest from Curwensville, and there commenced the practice of medicine. In this event alone there was nothing unusual, but as years came and went he began to attract considerable notice and attention from the sturdy pioneer residents in that vicinity and in the country roundabout the county seat, and the name and fame of Dr. John P. Hoyt spread throughout the entire county : from Cherry Tree to Karthaus, and from the southeast to the northwest of the county's boundaries, and even beyond it, there came calls for the professional services of this man. In the year 1824, then having been a resident of the county for about five years, there was no man more pressed, more occupied or more wearied with unceasing toil and sleepless nights, than he ; the terrible scourge, well remembered as the " dysentery plague," taxed the skill and the endurance of the few resident physicians of the county, and none more than Dr. Hoyt. Yet, it was not in this year alone that Dr. Hoyt acquired his enviable reputation as a practitioner and as a man. From his first coming to the county until the time of his death, he was respected and esteemed as a man of professional skill and understanding, a close and thorough student, a wise counselor and a candid advisor; a man of kind disposition and generous heart. The rich and the poor alike shared his attention. No matter how far distant, or how doubtful the probability of pay for service, he never refused to attend a call from the sick or the distressed.

 

     Aside from his regular duties as a physician, Dr. Hoyt was, for some time, engaged in the mercantile business at Curwensville ; moreover, as by his practice and business he acquired some means, this he put to good use by real estate investments, and by the gradual advance in values he accumulated a comfortable fortune.

 

     In the year 1846, having become somewhat broken in health, the result of over-care and over-work, he retired from the busy field of life to the comforts and retirement of a pleasant home on the bank of the Susquehanna, about three miles above Lumber City, where, surrounded by family and friends, he passed the remainder of his life.

 

     John Pennoyer Hoyt, the subject of this sketch, was born in the city. of Hudson, New York State, on the 12th day of September, in the year 1793. His father, Phineas Hoyt, was a New Englander by birth, while his mother, whose maiden name was Julia Pennoyer, was a native of the Empire State. Having acquired a preparatory education, young Hoyt entered Dartmouth College, a famous educational institution of New England, where he completed his education and laid the foundation for a practical knowledge of the medical profession, which he had determined to enter. He then read medicine with Dr. Woodward and Dr. White, both practicing physicians of Otsego county, N. Y., and still later with Dr. Wing, of Tioga county, N. Y. At the latter place he finished his course of study and was regularly admitted to practice in the early part of the year 1818. Soon after he came to Half Moon, Centre county, and in the next year, 1819, located near Curwensville.

 

     On the 20th day of January, 1820, John P. Hoyt married Mary, daughter of Thomas McClure, one of the pioneers of the county. Of this marriage ten children were born, viz. : Hiram, who died in 1824 ; Julianna, who died in 1824; Harriet ; a son who died in infancy ; David Wilson, of Louisiana ; Elizabeth M., wife of Martin Watts; Mary E.,

 

 

 

 

Page 690

HISTORY OF CLEARFIELD COUNTY.

 

wife of Martin D. Stirk,'and who died in 1863 ; a son who died in infancy ; Margaret ; Christiana T., who died in 1843. In the year 1852 Mr. Hoyt was honored by his fellow-citizens in his election to the office of associate judge of the county, in which capacity he served until 1857, his colleague on the bench at the time being Judge Richard Shaw, of Clearfield.

 

     Judge Hoyt died on the 26th day of February, 1885, in the ninety-second year of his life. His wife, Mary, survived him about one and one-half years and died September 6, 1886, having passed her eighty-seventh year.

 

     Upon the occasion of the death of John Pennoyer Hoyt, the following resolutions were passed and adopted by the Clearfield bar, and ordered to be placed upon the minutes of the court :

     WHEREAS, We have learned with deep regret of the death of Hon. John P. Hoyt, who died at the ripe old age of ninety-one years and upwards, on the evening of the 26th of February, A. D. 1885, at his residence in this county, after having been an upright, honored and influential citizen of the same for a period of nearly three-score and ten years ; therefore, be it

     Resolved, First—That lion. John P. Hoyt, having performed the duties of associate judge of this county for a period of five years from December 1, 1851, in a manner honorable to himself and acceptable to the people, is entitled to our grateful remembrance.

     Resolved, Second—That the sympathy of the court and members of the bar are hereby extended to his family in this their sad bereavement.

     Resolved, Third—That in token of respect to his memory these proceedings be entered upon the records of this court, and that a copy of them, with the seal of the court attached, be furnished to the family of the deceased.

G. R. BARRETT,

J. B. MCENALLY,

SMITH V. WILSON,

Committee.

 

     DILL, WILLIAM H. William Henry Dill, son of Rev. Henry G. and Sarah A. (Gilbert) Dill, was born at Sunbury, Northumberland county, Pa., on the 28th day of September, in the year 1838. In the family were eight children, and, in the order of their birth, William H. was the fourth. The father was a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and, as such, was called upon to make frequent changes in place of residence, as designated by the conference to which he was attached.

 

     At the age of twelve years William began to take care of himself, and entered a drug store at Berwick, Pa., in the capacity of clerk, where he remained about one year, working for the modest compensation of board and twenty dollars cash. After that he found employment in a dry goods establishment at Middletown, Md., whither his father and family had been called in the line of his ministerial duty. In the month of September, 1855, our subject commenced a course of study in the Williamsport Dickinson Seminary, where he remained two years, and graduated in June, 1857, taking first honors, and delivering the valedictory of the class. He then taught school for a time at Berwick, and with such success that he was, in 1858, awarded a professor's certificate by the superintendent of common schools of Columbia county. In the month of April, 1859, Mr. Dill entered the junior class of the Pennsylvania College, at Gettysburg, for the regular classical course. His advanced position here was granted from the fact of his

 

 

 

 

Page 691

WILLIAM H. DILL. — REV. FREDERICK G. BETTS.

 

having attained a sufficient degree of proficiency in scholarship in the Dickinson Seminary to entitle him thereto. From this institution he was graduated in the month of September, 1860, receiving the degree of Bachelor of Arts, and subsequently, at the end of three years, the further degree of Master of Arts was conferred on him. In the month of April, of this same year, and prior to his graduation, Mr. Dill was elected professor of ancient and German languages of Williamsport Dickinson Seminary, which professorship he was allowed to accept by the faculty of the Pennsylvania College on condition that he present himself at the regular examinations of the senior class of that institution. In the Dickinson Seminary he filled the chair of languages from the time of his first election until the latter part of the year 1865, having been elected to that position by the board of directors, or so appointed by the bishop in charge, each successive year. Furthermore, during this same period and in the year 1861, Mr. Dill became a traveling minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and attached to the Central Pennsylvania Conference. Five years later, March, 1866, he entered the active work of the pastorate, filling such charges as were designated by the conference, and in March, 1868, he came to Clearfield.

 

     In July, 1870, under the advice of his physician, Mr. Dill discontinued his relation with the active, traveling ministry and accepted a business position as cashier of the First National Bank of Clearfield, still maintaining, however, his ministerial position in connection with the church at Clearfield and other points in the vicinity. In the year 1882, at his own request, he was granted a location, and thereby practically severed his connection with the active ministry. While occupying the position of professor of languages at Dickinson Seminary, he became acquainted with Edith, daughter of Jonathan Boynton, of Clearfield, and subsequently, on the 31st day of July, 1865, Edith Boynton and William H. Dill were united in the bonds of matrimony. Of this marriage six children have been born, two sons and four daughters.

 

     The life of our subject since his retirement from the ministry, has not, by any means, been one of inactivity, as there is, perhaps, no man in the entire county whose time is more wholly employed. Besides his duties as cashier, he is extensively engaged in the lumber business as one of the firm of Dill, Watson & Co., of Myersdale, Somerset county, and also a partner in the firm of A. W. Lee & Co., at Belsena, in this county.

 

     His public spiritedness too, is undoubted, as every effort in the interest and welfare of his county, its institutions, and its people, meets not only with his hearty approval but his cordial support. The part taken by him during the strike in the coal region, in the year 1886, and in bringing about an amicable adjustment of the difficulties there existing, brought to him and to those with whom he was associated, the gratitude of thousands of laboring men. His standing in the Masonic fraternity is also worthy of notice, he having filled numerous offices of trust and responsibility therein, and advanced, step by step, until he occupies an elevated and enviable position at the halls of that most ancient and honorable institution.

 

     BETTS, REV. FREDERICK G., was born in Philadelphia, August 14, 1812 ; his parents were New Englanders. In the year 1840 he was licensed as a Presbyterian minister by the Huntingdon Presbytery, and accepting a call from the congregation at Clearfield, he was ordained and installed as its pastor in November, 1840. Moving with his family from Boolsburg, Centre county, to Clearfield, he continued in charge of the congregations at Clearfield, Curwensville and Forest Hill, until his death, in January, 1845.  His widow, Cornelia (Finley) Betts, died eight years later, 1853.

 

 

 

 

Page 692

HISTORY OF CLEARFIELD COUNTY.

 

     Of their six children, the third, William Wilson Betts, the subject of this sketch, was born at Newark, N. J., on the first day of May, 1838, therefore ; at the time of his parents coming into this country, he was less than three years of age. At the age of about thirteen years William went to Meadville, this State, where he entered the office of the Crawford journal, intending to learn the trade of a printer; but after remaining there nearly a year he was obliged to abandon it on account of defective eyesight. Returning to Clearfield in 1853, he was offered a situation in the store of Reed, Weaver & Powell, where he remained until, having attained the age of twenty-one years, he was taken into the firm as a partner, and the firm became Reed, Weaver & Company. Nine years later, 1869, G. L. Reed and William Powell retiring, the style of the firm became Weaver & Betts, and has so continued to the present time. This firm has been among the heaviest and most extensive lumber dealers on the West Branch of the Susquehanna. In the year 1880 the firm ceased merchandising, and have since given sole attention to their still extensive lumber operations, and the development of their coal properties situated in different sections of the county.

 

     On the 28th day of October, 1862, William W. Betts married Margaret J. Irvin, daughter of William Irvin, of Curwensville. Of this marriage six children have been born, four of whom are still living.

 

     In every enterprise looking to the general welfare of the people of the county and the development of its resources, Mr. Betts has always occupied a prominent position, contributing of his means and personal attention to the advancement of the interests of both borough and county, and actively aided the organization of such public improvements as the Water, Gas and Cemetery Companies of Clearfield, as well as most of the manufacturing industries of that place.

 

     Although Mr. Betts is not a politician in the ordinary acceptance of that term, caring nothing far political power or place, yet he has ever been an active and straightforward Democrat, aiding the success of his party with his means, and active in its councils, and though frequently urged to become a candidate for political position he invariably refused ; although, in 1876, and again in 1878, he accepted the instructions of his county for the office of State Senator, but made no special effort to secure the nomination in the district. But in 1886, the senatorial conference, composed of Clearfield, Centre and Clinton counties, failing to select a candidate from among the aspirants for the office of State senator, unanimously tendered the nomination to him. Feeling that he could not refuse a nomination so generously offered, and coming entirely without solicitation, he accepted, and was elected for the term of four years, without opposition, the Republicans placing no candidate against him.

 

     SHAW, RICHARD HENRY. The subject of this sketch is a native of this county, born in Lawrence township on the 7th day of November, 1833. He was the youngest, save one, of ten children born to John and Sarah (Lee) Shaw. Young Richard was brought up on the farm of his father and lived there until he attained the age of twenty-one, when he purchased a part of the home farm, and at once commenced its improvement and cultivation, still making his home at his father's residence. For several winters he taught school in Girard, Pike, Bradford and Lawrence townships. In 186o Mr. Shaw made a trip to Iowa with a view of locating in that country. He purchased some land and remained there a short time, when he returned home.

 

     On the 23d day of September, 1861, he enlisted as a private in Company K, of the

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page 693

RICHARD HENRY SHAW.

 

Eighty-fourth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, for the three years service. He served with the regiment in every engagement, except at the battle of Gettysburg, when the command were guarding a wagon train, and this service was rendered notwithstanding the fact that our subject had in the mean time been promoted to the position of hospital steward. Mr. Shaw retired from the service December 4, 1864. No better estimate of the character and worth of this man can be formed than is shown by the testimonial granted him by the officers of the regiment, upon his retirement from duty ; and what­ever is there said of him can be fully reiterated at the present day as indicating his moral character, integrity and position among his fellowmen. The testimonial reads as follows :

 

     " HD. QRS. MED. DEPT., 84TH REGT. PA. VOL'S.,

        " 2D BRIGADE, 3D DIVISION, 2D ARMY CORPS,

          " NEAR PETERSBURG, VA., Dec. 5th, 1864.

     " Richard H. Shaw enlisted as a private in the 84th Regt., Penn. Vols., September 23, 1864; was promoted to Hospital Steward, October 1, 1862, which position he has held until the term of his enlistment expired, December 4, 1864.

     " A few of his many friends desire to add an expression of their appreciation of his high-toned moral character as a man and officer ; his courteous and gentlemanly manner on all occasions, and the promptness and dispatch with which he has managed the business connected with his office. Possessing an unblemished private character, and superior business qualifications, we predict for Mr. Shaw success in any walk in life in which it shall please Providence to place him. While we sincerely regret the necessity which calls him from amongst us, we cannot but rejoice that he can, with so fair a record, leave the toils and hardships of the camp, and the battle-field, to return to his family and friends, away from the crimson field, and far from the shock of contending hosts. S. B. Sturdevant, surgeon ; William Jack, asst. surgeon ; John Thomas, chaplain ; C. W. Forrester, adjutant, and asst. adjt.gen.; Samuel Bryan, capt.; J. Edward Merchant, 1st lieut. and act adjt.; Joseph W. Dougherty, capt.; James H. Moore, lieut.; A. H. Taylor, 1st lieut.; John C. Wolf, 2d lieut.; John S. Jury, lieut.; James M. Lewis, 2d lieut.; L. B. Sampson, 1st lieut.; S. S. Fowler, sergt-maj.; Wm. H. Ruch, Henry Hayden and William A. Wilson, lieuts."

 

     On the 25th day of May, 1865, Richard H._ Shaw united in marriage with Sally J. Milligan, daughter of William Milligan, of Centre county, of which marriage one child has been born.

 

     The excellent work done by Mrs. Shaw in the great cause of temperance, in the interest of humanity, is only emblematic of her true Christian character. The part taken by her in the organization and promoting the association of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, is certainly commendable and worthy of the highest praise. Since the year 1885 she has filled the office of president of the County Union, and is, ex-officio, vice- president of the State Union ; also she is general vice-president of the Clearfield Union.

 

     In 1862, after having engaged for a time in farming, and holding a clerkship in Clearfield, and a few months spent in Illinois for his health, Mr. Shaw established a cigar and tobacco business in Clearfield, in which he engaged for several years, but sold out, and some months later went into the general merchandise business at Houtzdale. After remaining there about five years, he again sold out and returned to Clearfield, where, about one year later, he opened a store in the dry goods and notion branch of trade. The latter he disposed of in 1886, since which he has not actively engaged in any busi-

88

 

 

 

 

Page 694

HISTORY OF CLEARFIELD COUNTY.

 

ness. Although frequently changing in location, Mr. Shaw has been reasonably successful in his various enterprises, and has been enabled to acquire sufficient means to live in comfortable retirement. During the last seven years of the life of his father, John Shaw, the latter made his home with our subject and his family, with whom his declining years were made perfectly comfortable and happy.

 

     SHAW, WILLIAM M. William Milton, the youngest son, and the youngest of the children, but one, of Judge Richard and Mary Shaw, was born at the Shaw homestead, on the west side of the river, opposite Clearfield, on the 28th day of November, in the year 1832. Up to the time of arriving at the age of twenty-one years, William lived at the home of his parents, rendering them such assistance in the care and cultivation of the farm as was required of him, and in attending school at the old academy. On attaining the age of twenty-one, he married Martha Jane Irwin, daughter of Jacob Irwin, and thereafter for a period of about six years, he continued his residence on the farm. He then went west where he established a mercantile business at Lowden, Cedar county, Iowa. Just as he became fairly engaged in a successful business the war commenced, and, owing to the disturbed condition of the country, and the uncertainty and doubt that clouded every branch of trade, he deemed it prudent to, and did sell his business and stock.

 

     Although Mr. Shaw never became a regularly enlisted volunteer in the service, he joined with the Fourteenth Iowa Volunteer Infantry in the capacity of hospital steward, and passed one winter with the regiment at Helena, Ark. He then came back to Pennsylvania and resided for about a year at Hayesville, a small town a few miles distant from Pittsburgh, where he was considering a business proposition; but believing the investment to be unwise, he returned to Clearfield. After a short time he entered the office of Dr. Ashley P. Hills, with whom he learned the art of dental surgery, and up to the year 1886 the practice of dentistry was his chief occupation. In the last named year he entered the County National Bank, in the capacity of teller, and so continued until the year 1871, when he was advanced to the position of cashier, which he has since held.

 

     As one of the sons of Judge Shaw, our subject was given not only the advantages of early education in the academy of Clearfield, but was instructed by his father in such branches of business as he was for many years engaged, This training seems to have been well bestowed, as William M. Shaw is reputed to be one of the most careful, thorough and capable business men of the county; and not only that, he is known to be a man of strict integrity and honesty, in each and every business transaction ; generous, and ever willing to yield a point rather than to be considered in the slightest degree unfair. Of the start in life given him by a kind father, and a subsequent goodly inheritance from the same source, Mr. Shaw has made profitable use, and now lives in the full enjoyment thereof, and the respect and confidence of his fellowmen as well. His residence is one of the finest of the many that adorn the county-seat. While he has never been a conspicuous or enthusiastic advocate of the various affairs or measures that have been proposed for the benefit of the county, he is none the less interested in each of them, and renders such assistance and support as is productive of the most substantial results.

 

     Both he and his wife are members of the Presbyterian Church, and of their means contribute generously to the support of that church.

 

 

 

 

Page 695

JOHN MITCHELL CHASE.

 

     CHASE, JOHN MITCHELL. The subject of this sketch was born in Cuyahoga county, Ohio, on the 11th day of March, in the year 1820. Of the children born to Benjamin and Eliza (Swan) Chase, he was the fourth, there being three older and one younger than he. In the year 1823 the family left Ohio, and took up their residence in Broome county, N. Y., where, in the next year, the father died, leaving to the mother the care of the children, and with no means for their support, save alone that acquired by the labor of her own hands. At the age of seven years John M. was placed under the care of strangers, and performed such work as could be done by a child on a farm, In this manner, living about, he passed about six years, when, with an uncle, John Swan, father of " Squire " Henry Swan, of Ansonville, he came to Pennsylvania and stayed about three years, working on Mr. Swan's farm and elsewhere. After this he returned to Broome county, traveling the entire distance on foot ; in fact he thrice made this journey, a distance of nearly two hundred and fifty miles between these points. After working in various places about Binghamton for about two years, and boating on the old Chenango and Erie Canals, rendering his mother and step-father (his mother having remarried) such assistance as lay in his power, young Chase returned to this county. He made a purchase of a parcel of land and commenced an improvement, but through disappointment, not discouragement, for the latter was foreign to his nature, he gave up this land, and thereafter worked around for about two years. He next bought a piece of land on Little Clearfield Creek, and built thereon a small cabin in which he lived. This cabin, or shanty, was a rudely constructed affair, having a small opening for means of entrance, and before which he rolled a log to prevent intrusion by wild animals which infested the locality. Having enlarged the building and made it a fit habitation, he sent for his parents, and for the remainder of their days upon earth this son was their main stay, comfort and support.

 

     On the 18th day of September, in the year 1845, then being twenty-five years of age, John M. Chase united in marriage with Tobitha, daughter of William Williams. Of this marriage eleven children have been born, nine of whom are still living.

 

     Being possessed of indomitable courage, and good, sound judgment, Mr. Chase successfully overcame the poverty, trials and hardships incident to pioneer life, and happily and deservedly acquired a home in the county, bordering on Clearfield Creek, but, in 1852, moved over into the northwest part of Woodward township, where he made a comfortable home, and where he has ever since resided. His chief occupation in life has been lumbering, and it is a well and authenticated fact, that in this pursuit, he has been eminently successful, and acquired vast tracts of land, aggregating about seven thousand acres in extent, and on these tracts there still stands some of the best timber in the county ; moreover, large areas of the land are known to be underlaid with valuable coal deposits, but the latter have not been developed to any considerable extent.

 

     On the 14th day of August, 1862, in pursuance of what he believed to be a plain duty, Mr. Chase enlisted in Company B, One Hundred and Forty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, and, at the organization of the company he was elected to a lieutenancy, but Governor Curtain, whose personal friend he was, soon after appointed him to the position of regimental quartermaster. Mr. Chase remained in the service about nineteen months, when, having lost the use of his limbs, he was discharged upon the surgeon's certificate of disability.

 

     No less noticeable and no less eventful than his life as a man of business, has been the life of John M. Chase as a Christian gentlemen. In early life he was, in a measure,

 

 

 

 

Page 696

HISTORY OF CLEARFIELD COUNTY.

 

under the teachings and influences of Universalism, to which, for a time, he had strong inclinations ; but, having been brought into frequent residence with families whose faith and tendencies was more orthodox, and where daily prayer was observed, he gradually changed his views, and, as a result of earnest thought and deep conviction, he became converted. Later in life he was led under the influences of the Baptist Church, of which he became a member, and still later, a minister He was regularly ordained in the year 1870, and for a period of nine years, officiated in various localities in the county, but his health failing, he was advised by physicians to retire from active ministerial labor.

 

     Although he has never been an aspirant for political preferment, Mr. Chase has been an active thinker and worker in such causes as he believed to be for the general well- fare. He was before the war, a thorough and proclaimed abolitionist, and as such " shouldered a gun." He afterward held to the principles of the Republican party, but finally became an outspoken advocate of prohibition, working zealously in that cause.

 

     McENALLY, HON. JOSEPH BENSON, was born in Lycoming county, this State, on the 25th day of January, in the year 1825. Of the children born to Rev. Peter and Margaret (Bloodhart) McEnally, he was the youngest, and the only one that survived the years of childhood. His father was a traveling minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and was twice pastor of the church of that denomination in Clearfield ; first in 1831, and again during the years 1848-9.

 

     Following that which seems to have been an established precedent among those who, at that time, aspired to professional life, our subject, after having acquired an elementary education, became a teacher, and, as such, taught school at various places, among them Philadelphia, the vicinity of Baltimore, Md., and Curwensville, in this county. He underwent a preparatory course at Carlisle, after which he entered Dickinson College at that place for the regular classical course, and from which he graduated in the month of June, of the year 1845. During his years of study, however, Mr. McEnally had in mind an intention of becoming a member of the legal fraternity, and to this end devoted his leisure time to the examination of such works as would best school his mind for that profession ; and still later he registered as a law student in the office of Alexander (afterward President Judge) Jordon, at Sunbury. In the year 1849 he was admitted to the bar of Northumberland county. He entered upon the practice of his profession at Tamaqua, Schuylkill county, where he remained about one year, after which he came to Clearfield and was admitted to practice at the bar of this county. After a short time he was appointed deputy attorney-general of the county, succeeding in the incumbency of that office Clinton Welch, esq., and was in turn succeeded by Joseph S. France, esq. He applied himself diligently to the labors of his profession, and at once assumed, and to this present time has maintained a distinguished position among its ablest members. In the conduct of his legal business he is methodical, cautious, laborious. It is his policy to discountenance, rather than to promote litigation, and in his intercourse with clients, mature deliberation always precedes counsel. Before the jury, he addresses the understanding of his hearers instead of appealing to their passions, and approaches the subject in hand with dignity, self-possession, and in the light of principle and common sense.

 

     Naturally enough, a man possessed of these characteristics, and possessing, moreover, the respect, confidence and esteem of his fellow-men, could not well avoid being drawn somewhat into the arena of politics. Having, in the course of his extensive

 

 

 

 

Page 697

JOSEPH BENSON MCENALLY. -WILLIAM PORTER.

 

practice, become familiar with the law bearing on all such cases as might arise within the jurisdiction of the courts of the district, he was, on the 2d day of July, 1868, ap­pointed by Governor John W. Geary to the office of president judge of the Twenty-fifth Judicial District, in place of Judge Linn, resigned. The district then comprised the counties of Clearfield, Centre and Clinton. Although his incumbency of the office was of brief duration, it was, however, characterized by that fairness, candor, earnestness, and entire impartiality, together with a thorough knowledge of law principles, and of the rules of evidence as well, that have ever marked the man. So pleasant, indeed, were the relations that existed between Judge McEnally and the laymen of the legal profession, that, upon the occasion of his retirement from the bench, he was the recipient of a most gratifying testimonial of appreciation and regard from members of the Centre county bar, the largest and strongest of the district. At the earnest solicitation of friends, members of the profession and others, Judge McEnally became the candidate of the Republican party for election to the office that he had held by appointment, against Charles A. Mayer, the Democratic nominee. The latter was elected, there being a majority in the district so great that even the personal and professional popularity of Judge McEnally could not overcome it. After leaving the bench our subject resumed the practice of his profession at Clearfield. In the year 1872 he formed a law partnership with Daniel W. McCurdy, a former student in his office. Upon the occasion of the formation of Clearfield county into a separate judicial district, Judge McEnally was made the candidate of his party for the office of president judge, but being so engrossed with the care and importance of his business, absolutely declined the nomination.

 

     As may be seen from this, Judge McEnally has been no office-seeker, but, on the contrary, a man whose elevated tone rendered him the reverse of all that constitutes that character. However gratifying might have been the confidence of his fellow-citizens, so often expressed in his behalf, the offices he has held, and the nominations he has received, always came entirely unsolicited. Upon all the political issues of his time he entertains clear and well-settled convictions, and is frank and open in the expression of them. His sentiments, too, are emphatically conservative—naturally inclined to adhere to the established order of things, and not easily drawn into the advocacy of any of the isms of the day. The principles he has maintained and advocated are not in accordance with those of the dominant party of the county ; nevertheless, a man of his mark could not well avoid being occasionally pressed into the political arena, when personal influence and popularity, it was hoped, might turn the scale of doubtful contest.

 

     In the year 1852 Joseph B. McEnally united in marriage with Amelia, daughter of Abram K. Wright, an old and respected resident of this county. Of this marriage one child, a son, has been born.

 

     In affairs pertaining to religion Mr. McEnally takes a deep interest in the progress and welfare of the Methodist Episcopal Church, to the maintenance and support of which society he generously contributes of his means.

 

     PORTER, WILLIAM, the subject of this sketch, was born in the County Tyrone, Ireland, on the 3d day of April, 1807. His father's name was Patrick, and his mother's, Elizabeth Porter. In the family were six children, viz. : Eliza, William, Rob­ert, John, Sarah, and Jane. The father died while the children were still young, the care of the family thereafter devolving upon the widowed mother.

 

     In the year 1829 William Porter emigrated to this country, and lived for four years

 

 

 

 

Page 698

HISTORY OF CLEARFIELD COUNTY.

 

in Lycoming county. He then came to Clearfield county and settled on the ridges, in the south part of Lawrence township. Subsequently, the mother and other children came to this country and made this county their home.

 

     William Porter first turned his attention to lumbering, and, through his business life, this was his chief occupation, although at different times he has engaged in other enterprises. We find him first employed on Clearfield Creek, near the site of the old bridge, where he, with others (Boone and Long), built a mill and commenced manufacturing lumber for the market. This business relation was continued until 1837, when, through the treachery of his partners, the business failed of success. He then made a contract for the construction of a part of the Snow Shoe turnpike, one section of which he built entire, and completed another that had been partially built by other parties. About this time he met with a serious accident, by which his leg was injured, and from this cause was unable to work for about one year. During this time he was employed in teaching school; first at the old Thompson school-house, and afterwards at the Reed school­house, both in Lawrence township. He also held at the same time some lumbering interests, but could not give it his personal attention. Mr. Porter, as a teacher, proved efficient, and soon had charge of the Wolf Run school, on the river below the county seat ; still later, in 1844, he was advanced to the position of teacher in the academy at Clearfield. In this same year he purchased a farm in Lawrence township, but did not move there until the following spring. In the fall of 1847 he again started into lumbering by stocking, during the following winter, the Lick Run mills ; but another accident soon befel him, by which his leg was broken, and he was again incapacitated for work. He soon afterward started a boarding-house at Bald Hills, the center of an extensive lumbering region in Girard township. In the fall of 1848 he returned to his farm and remained there about two years.

 

     In the year 1850 Mr. Porter became the Democratic nominee for the office of prothonotary of the county, to which office he was elected. He then moved to Clearfield, where he purchased, from Josiah W. Smith, esq., the property at the corner of Second and Walnut streets, and where he has ever since resided.

 

     In such public offices as he has been chosen to fill, Mr. Porter always proved faithful and efficient. Upon the expiration of his first term he was re-elected, serving in all six years. In 1858 he was elected justice of the peace, and held that office twenty consecutive years. Besides these he has held various other offices of the borough and county. In political affairs Mr. Porter has always taken an interest in the success of Democratic principles, but has been by no means radical in his support of that party.

 

     Notwithstanding the losses suffered by him through the acts of his partners, and despite the personal injuries received by accident, necessitating frequent changes in occupation, Mr. Porter's business life has been successful, and enabled him to accumulate a comfortable fortune. Honesty and integrity have characterized his every act ; his patient toil, prudent investments, and exemplary habits have been rewarded.

 

     Many years ago he became a member of the Presbyterian Church, and of his means has made generous contributions to that society and other worthy institutions. William Porter never married.

 

     GOODLANDER, GEORGE BREON, was born in Lycoming county, this State, on the 27th day of April, in the year 1827. His father, Henry Goodlander, was a native of Pennsylvania, born near West Milton, Union county, March 17, 1805, and his

 

 

 

 

Page 699

GEORGE BREON GOODLANDER.

 

mother, Margaret (Breon) Goodlander, was born at New Berlin, Union county, March 5, 1809. In the month of March, 1837, the family came to Clearfield county and settled near Luthersburg, Brady township, where the father worked at his trade (shoemaking), and also farming.

 

     At the age of eighteen years George, who was the oldest of thirteen children, was apprenticed to Miles Hartsock, of Curwensville, to learn the trade of wagon-making. He remained at work with Mr. Hartsock for a term of three years and three months, the only compensation received by him, besides instruction in the art referred to, being board and clothing. It is a well authenticated fact that George B. Goodlander was the first regularly apprenticed person of Curwensville, who served the full time of indenture, and went therefrom with a full and complete knowledge of the craft that he had chosen. After the expiration of the term of his apprenticeship, Mr. Goodlander returned to Luthersburg, where, from 1848 to 1858, he was established in business, working at the trade he had previously learned. During eight of the ten years in which he was so employed, Mr. Goodlander held township offices, three years as constable and five years as justice of the peace.

 

     In the year 1859, having acquired an extensive and favorable acquaintance through­out the western portion of the county, and being well supported in other quarters, he was nominated as a candidate, on the Democratic ticket, for the office of county treasurer, and, in the fall of the same year, was elected.

 

     In the month of March, 1866, Mr. Goodlander became a resident of Clearfield. During the same year, at the earnest solicitation of some of the leading citizens, among them Governor Bigler, Judge Barrett, Senator Wallace, Judge Leonard, and others, he purchased a half-interest in the Clearfield Republican, and became associated in the management of that paper with Daniel W. Moore. From July, 1864, to July, 1865, he held the position of deputy sheriff of the county. In the last named year he became sole owner and editor of the Republican, and immediately commenced the task of placing that paper upon a substantial and profitable basis. His success in this direction is shown by the paper itself, as it soon became, and still is, the recognized organ of the Democratic party in the county, and leads all others in point of circulation and influence. Three times during Mr. Goodlander's occupancy of its editorial chair has the paper been enlarged : first, in 1867, from a six to a seven-column; second, in 1869, to an eight-column ; and lastly, in 1874, from an eight to a nine-column paper. It now appears as a thirty by forty-six sheet. The present circulation of the Republican reaches nearly two thousand.

 

     The fixed and determined policy of this publication has been to represent the interests of the Democratic party and the public weal, and not for individual advancement, or the advocacy of the cause of personal friends or relatives; and any perversion of this policy by other papers, or requests to the contrary by political aspirants, meets with vigorous opposition on the part of its editor. Of these principles he has always been a warm advocate. At a convention of the State Editorial Association, held twenty-two years ago, he favored this position ; ever since has he battled for it, until at last, the policy has been adopted by a majority of the papers of the State.

 

     In the year 1849 Mr. Goodlander united in marriage with Sophia Jane Evans, daughter of Josiah Evans, an old and highly respected resident of Curwensville. Of this marriage no children have been born.

 

 

 

 

Page 700

HISTORY OF CLEARFIELD COUNTY.

 

     BOYNTON, JONATHAN, was born in the town of Monkton, Addison county, Vt., on the 9th day of September, in the year 1810. His parents were Jonathan and Betsey (Lawrence) Boynton. In the family were five children, of whom, save one, the subject of this sketch, was the youngest.

 

     During the infancy of our subject the family moved to Franklin county, New York State, where they lived about seven years, when they moved to Onondaga county, and resided there about ten years; after this the family took up their residence at Oswego, from which place Jonathan came to this county. His boyhood days were spent at home attending school and working with his father, who was a cooper by trade, and with whom young Jonathan learned that trade, but not to follow it as an occupation after leaving home.

 

     In the year 1832, then being arrived at the age of twenty-two years, he came to the Sinnamahoning (then a part of this county, but now Cameron county), where he received his first experience in the lumber business. With ax in hand he went into forests, where his first winters were passed. During the warm months, however, he was employed at such work as presented itself and furnished the means of an honest livelihood, Having accumulated a small sum of money, he commenced dealing in timber, buying and running to market. In the year 1836 he formed a copartnership with Ai Fitch, under the name and style of Fitch & Boynton, and at once commenced dealing more extensively. As this business increased they extended their field of operations, and soon became recognized as one of the heaviest and most successful lumber dealing firms on the West Branch. The relation of these partners was one of the most agreeable character, and continued for a period of thirty-six years, having dissolved in the year 1872.

 

     The business of this firm, however, does not represent the entire interests of Mr. Boynton in this line, as he has been extensively engaged with various other persons, and in other locallties [sic], but the latter were not under his personal supervision.

 

     In the year 1837 Mr. Boynton resided at Smith's Mills, in the south part of the county. Five years later, 1842, he married Mary Nevling, daughter of Adam Nevling, by which marriage there has been born three children, viz.: Ai F., of Clearfield ; Edith, the wife of Rev. William H. Dill, and Ira N., who died August 29, 1865.

 

     After a residence at Smith's Mills of about eight years, Mr. Boynton and family came to Clearfield, where he purchased from Robert Wallace, esq., the property on Second street, upon which he erected an elegant house and in which he still resides.

 

     At the time of the organization of the First National Bank of Clearfield, December, 1864, Mr. Boynton was elected as its president, and has so continued, without intermission, to the present time.

 

     Although he began life with but small means, his prudent habits, excellent judgment, and firm adherence to the rule that " whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well," brought to him most gratifying success and enabled him to accumulate a fortune. Of quiet disposition, kind of heart, and generous to all good causes, he has won the respect and esteem of all who know him.

 

     During his long and varied business life and intercourse with his fellowmen, no man has ever had just cause to doubt his honor and probity. But his worth does not arise merely from his capacity as a man of business. His kindly disposition, his quiet, yet earnest support of the church, his tenderness and kindness as a husband and parent, relative, and friend have endeared him to them all. The land upon which the Metho‑

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page 701

JONATHAN BOYNTON.- JOHN IRVIN.

 

dist Episcopal Church now stands, the memorial windows that adorn that edifice, the commodious pastor's residence, and a goodly cash contribution to the society were his free and voluntary gift. These, with his recent munificent provision for his son and daughter, are but characteristic of the man.

 

     IRVIN, COLONEL JOHN. A correct and intelligent narrative of the events of the business career of John Irvin cannot be stated without referring, in a greater or less degree, to the persons who laid the foundation for that business, and which has been continued and extended by him ; and inasmuch as his early experience and education in that direction was transmitted from father to son, it is eminently proper that the earliest years of that business and its extent should be reviewed in this connection.

 

     The pioneer ancestor of this family that became a resident of Clearfield county was William Irvin, a native of Ireland, but before settling in this region was a resident of Penn's Valley, Centre county. The exact time of his coming here cannot be definitely fixed at this time. His first purchase of land (three hundred and thirty acres) was made on the 2d day of November, in the year 1811, and it is quite probable that he permanently located here soon after that purchase was made. His children were : John, William, jr., Alexander, Matthew, David, Jared, James, Margaret, and Mary.

 

     John Irvin, father of our subject, and the oldest of these children, seems to have been his father's chief assistant and advisor. The land referred to above as being acquired by William Irvin, was situate on the West Branch River at or very near Curwensville. One of their first business ventures was the construction of a dam across the river, that sufficient water-power might be obtained. This work was performed during the year 1819. The land was William Irvin's, the funds, also, for its prosecution were his ; but the work was mainly performed under direction of John Irvin. It may here be stated as a fact, that it was the first dam constructed on the river from its head to tide­water. The dam being finished, a mill was, in due time, erected. William Irvin maintained and conducted this mill and its consequent business until February, 1828, when it was sold to his sons, John and William, jr. The father died during the latter part of the year 1830, or in the early part of the year 1831. John was chosen to settle the estate.

 

     John Irvin was born in the year 1796. As before remarked, he was the chief adviser and assistant to his father, and had, during the father's life, the charge of his business. About the time that the mill was completed, and its financial success became an assured fact, he started a mercantile business on the hill, a short distance from the river ; still later he bought lands just northeast of the town, from George F. Curwen, upon which he built a store and distillery. In 1830 John Irvin purchased from his brother, William, his interest in the mill property, and became sole proprietor of the entire business. He was an energetic, thorough and competent person in the transaction of every branch of business. He acquired considerable real estate and lumbered extensively; he also ran large quantities of coal and grain down the river to the markets.

 

     Mr. Irvin married Eliza Lee, daughter of Jacob Lee, of Chest township, but formerly a resident of Centre county. Of this marriage seven children were born, viz : Martha, who married Dr. H. P. Thompson; William, who died in 1872; John, who died in infancy ; John (the second), Jared F., James A., and Annie M. John Irvin, the father of this family, died in October, 1848. His widow still lives, at the advanced age of nearly eighty-four years.

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Page 702

HISTORY OF CLEARFIELD COUNTY.

 

     John Irvin, the second child so named, of the sons and daughters of John and Eliza Irvin, was born on the 8th day of March, in the year 1836, at Curwensville. At the time of his father's death he was but twelve years of age. He attended the common schools in season, and spent the remainder of his time in the store as clerk for his mother, who continued the business after the death of her husband. In the spring of 1854, William and John Irvin were given, by their mother, an interest in the business, the firm thereafter being known under the style of E. Irvin & Sons. This relation was maintained until the year 1859, when John Irvin purchased the entire business, and conducted it about one year, when, in 1860, he took as a partner, his brother, Jared F. Irvin. They managed the business until the latter part of the summer 1862, when John, the senior partner, entered the army. Jared continued the business thereafter in his own name, but eventually closed the store.

 

     John Irvin enlisted in Company B, One Hundred and Forty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, and was mustered into service August 26, 1862. He was elected captain, and received his commission as such, at Harrisburg. He served with the company continuously, and was promoted to major March 23, 1863, in place of Major Speer, who was discharged for disability. At the battle of Gettysburg, July 1, 1863, he was wounded by the bursting of a shell, and was taken to the hospital. While there the hospital fell into the hands of the Confederate soldiers, so he was a prisoner for a time; but the enemy soon evacuated the place, leaving the inmates undisturbed. Soon after Major Irvin rejoined his regiment. On February 10, 1864, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and, later, April 22, 1865, was again advanced to colonel, commanding the regiment. He further served until mustered out by special order, August 4, 1865.

 

     It is said of Colonel John Irvin that he was a good commanding officer ; that his bravery was undoubted; that he never flinched in time of danger, and that he never ordered his command to any position in which he was not willing to lead them.

 

     After returning from the service Colonel Irvin (for by this deserved title has he ever since been known) resumed his former business as merchant, at Curwensville. In 1874 his brothers, Jared F. and James, entered the firm as partners, since which, with a brief intermission in 1880, they have continued in the mercantile, milling, and lumbering business under the name and style of John Irvin & Brothers.

 

     FORCEY, THOMAS H., was born in Bradford township, Clearfield county, on the 9th day of April, 1829. Of the children born to Matthew A. and Margaret (Murray) Forcey, he was the second child. The father, Matthew A., was for many years engaged in business in Bradford as a farmer, merchant, and lumberman, and here Thomas acquired his first experience in business life, rendering such services as his father's extensive operations demanded.

 

     In the year 1848 Thomas H. Forcey married Anna, daughter of Thomas Leonard, of Bald Hills, Girard township, and soon after located in that part of Bradford that was subsequently erected into Graham township, where he engaged in farming and lumbering. On the 10th day of August, 1859, Mr. Forcey established himself in the mercantile business at Grahamton, which business he has ever since retained, although, for a number of years past the management of it has been entrusted to others.

 

     The year 1861 was an eventful one in Mr. Forcey's business career. He had been for some years engaged in manufacturing and rafting lumber to the markets down the

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page 703

THOMAS H. FORCEY.- LEON M. COUDRIET.

 

river, and having no capital save a good and well used credit, he was considerably in debt. He had at that time no less than twenty-eight rafts lying in the river awaiting sale. Other large dealers had their rafts in the same place, and were selling at " five cents." Mr. Forcey's had cost him eight cents, and to sell at five meant financial ruin. The war was imminent, and rafting through Maryland was hazardous. Old rivermen advised him to sell, but he determined to hold on. A proposition was offered by a party of raftsmen that they would take the chances of getting the rafts safely through the State of Maryland, and thence by the usual route to New York City, at an expense of five cents additional per foot, and wait for their pay until a sale was made. To this Mr. Forcey assented, and the task attempted, and, fortunately, successfully accomplished. The next year, 1862, he sold at fifteen cents, and pocketed a handsome profit as the result of his good judgment. By that act Mr. Forcey's business ability and sound judgment became recognized, and he became the adviser, not the advised. His successful operations were noticed by the sound business men of Clearfield, and he was made one of the board of directors, and afterward vice-president of the County National Bank.

 

     In April, 1881, he moved to Clearfield and purchased the elegant residence of Judge Leonard, on Second street, where he now resides. Upon the death of Mr. Leonard, in July, 1882, he was appointed, and at the next annual meeting of the board was duly elected president of the bank, an office he has ever since most satisfactorily filled, the present healthful condition of this institution being in a measure due to his sagacity and foresight.

 

     In business life his dealings have been characterized by honesty, frankness, and entire fairness, and no person can well charge to the contrary. As a result of hard work Mr. Forcey has acquired a handsome fortune, fairly earned in the busy fields of life. For nearly forty years he has been interested in farming and lumbering enterprises, and now owns nearly five thousand acres of land in Bradford and Graham townships.

 

     In early life he was brought up under the teachings of the Methodist Episcopal faith, but since their residence at the county seat both he and his wife have united with the Presbyterian Church.

 

     COUDRIET, LEON M. The portion of Clearfield county that is embraced within the township of Covington, was settled between the years 1830 and 1840 by French colonists, who were induced to locate there by the proprietors of a large tract of land for which they held warrants. Among the first of these colonists was Francis Coudriet and his family. Both he and his wife were natives of France. They came to America in the year 1831. When at Lebanon, Pa., they stopped for a short time, and there the subject of this sketch, Leon Mitchell Coudriet, was born, on the 10th day of May, 1831. Soon after this event the family came to Bellefonte, Centre county, where Francis was, for a time, employed working at the furnace. While so engaged he made one or two trips to this region, and to the " Keating lands " (such being the name by which the lands in Covington were styled), and subsequently he made a purchase of fifty acres, receiving as a bonus, twelve acres additional. Soon after this the family moved to Clearfield town. From this point the father would walk to his tract, which was entirely covered with timber, and, with his ax alone, cleared the land sufficient for the erection of a log house, after which he, with his family, moved to the place.

 

     Francis Coudriet was an enterprising, thrifty, honest, and progressive man. By hard work and good judgment he acquired a comfortable fortune, and by his integrity

 

 

 

 

Page 704

HISTORY OF CLEARFIELD COUNTY.

 

and moral worth he gained that which is more to be desired, the respect and confidence of his fellowmen. The stone used in the erection of St. Mary's Church at Frenchville was contributed by him, and taken from his land. For a period of eighteen years he was postmaster at Frenchville.

 

     Leon Mitchell Coudriet, the second of eleven children, sons and daughters of Francis Coudriet, seems to have possessed much of his father's enterprising spirit, and to have taken up that father's business upon the death of the latter in 1877, although Leon commenced his business operations several years earlier. Up to the age of twenty-three years he worked at home with his father on the farm and in the woods, and having but little chance for an education. In the year 1853 he married Gonpiere Guenot, an orphan girl, who had come to this country with relatives. Of this marriage twelve children have been born, ten of whom are still living. For a period of nearly a year after marriage Leon lived with his parents, working at such business in which his father was engaged, and receiving no money compensation for his service. He then moved to Girard township and began life for himself. In 1866 he opened a store on Buck Run, which he managed successfully until 1866, when he succeeded to the business formerly managed by Captain P. A. Gaulin, at Mulsonburg, and then moved to that point. Besides this mercantile business Mr. Coudriet has been, and still is engaged in extensive lumber operations, and in this direction has acquired a vast amount of real estate and some of the most desirable timber lands in the county. By his several purchases his land, in acres, reaches an aggregate of nearly ten thousand, and much of it is underlaid with valuable coal deposits. Upon the division of his father's estate he became the owner of most of it by purchasing the interests of the other heirs. He is the owner of the flour and grist-mill at Frenchville ; also has a saw-mill at the same place, and owns in other places, in whole, or in part, several saw-mills, all of which are in successful operation. More than this he has, at Middletown, Dauphin county, an extensive sash, blind and door factory, and saw-mill.

 

     From his vast business interests it will be observed that Leon M. Coudriet is a very busy man, and finds but little time to devote to public affairs ; nevertheless, there is no man in the northern part of the county that takes greater interest in the welfare of the community, or of his people, than he. His sound judgment and business capacity, together with a reputation he bears for honesty and integrity, places him in an enviable position before the people, and has gained for him their unbounded confidence and respect. Political aspirations, he has none, yet in every campaign his influence is felt in support of the Democracy. To the building and support of St. Mary's Church he contributed generously of his means. For about eight years he has been the postmaster at Frenchville post-office.

 

    MAHAFFEY, JAMES. The subject of this sketch was born in Bell township, this county, on the 4th day of November, 1843. His father was Robert Mahaffey, one of the pioneer and enterprising business men of the " upper country." His mother was Mary (McGee) Mahaffey, daughter of Rev. James McGee, also a pioneer of the same region. The children of Robert and Mary Mahaffey were three in number, of whom our subject was the second. His father, Robert, was an extensive lumberman, farmer, and merchant ; and, until he reached the age of twenty-one years, James remained at home, where, by experience, he acquired a thorough knowledge of all branches of business in which his father was engaged.

 

 

 

 

Page 705

JAMES MAHAFFEY. - DR. ROBERT V. WILSON.

 

     Having attained his majority, James Mahaffey engaged in the lumber business and farming, in both of which he has been quite successful. On becoming a resident of Clearfield borough he disposed of his farm, but has carried on lumber dealing to a greater or less extent ever since.

 

     On the 18th day of March, 1872, Mr. Mahaffey married Samantha Jane, daughter of James Thompson, of Curwensville. Of this marriage six children have been born, six of whom are still living.

 

 

 

     In 1879 he received the nomination in the Democratic County Convention for the office of sheriff. He was elected by a good majority, and entered upon the duties of the office in January, 1880, and in the same year moved to Clearfield borough.

 

     In the fall of the year 1884 he purchased land and commenced the erection of the Hotel Windsor, a large and finely appointed building. From that until the present time he has managed the house, which is known to be one of the best in this section of the country, and he one of the most popular and accommodating of landlords.

 

     WILSON, DR. ROBERT V. In the year 1850 Robert Van Valzah Wilson, then just admitted to the medical fraternity, came from Spring Mills, Centre county, and took up his residence at Curwensville, in this county. Soon after he moved to Clearfield and commenced the practice of medicine and surgery. Although a young man, just being passed his twenty-first year, and having but little acquaintance in this locality, he possessed certain traits of character as a man, and certain qualifications as a physician, that soon brought to him a wide circle of friends and an extensive and remunerative practice. Dr. Wilson had much acuteness of mind and accuracy of judgment. His independence was remarkable and was not infrequently exercised in the maintenance of his personal opinion in the councils of his brethren; yet, he was by no means self-willed or obstinate. It generally proved that he was in the right. His sincerity was equally remarkable, and in speaking he was wont to express what he thought rather than that which another might be pleased to believe that he thought. A man of good natured abilities, and quick of apprehension, he would often arrive at a diagnosis of disease by a sort of intuition, and was seldom mistaken in his conclusions; furthermore, he was a man of sterling integrity and worth, of genial and pleasant dispo‑

 

 

 

 

Page 706

HISTORY OF CLEARFIELD COUNTY.

 

sition, kind of heart, generous and forgiving in his nature, true to his friends, and him­self, and his family, frank and outspoken in his opinions on all topics of general interest. These qualities placed him high in the esteem and confidence of his fellowmen, and gained for him the enviable reputation of being a leading physician, not only of the county, but of the State as well, a reputation that he maintained to the end of his life, and upon which there fell no blot. He loved his profession, and by his life and connection with it he honored and adorned it.

 

     Robert Van Valzah Wilson was born at Spring Mills, Centre county, in the month of October, 1828. He studied medicine with Dr. Robert Van Valzah at Millheim, Centre county, and afterward attended a course of lectures at the Jefferson Medical College, and graduated threfrom [sic] in 1849. The next year he came to this county. In the year 1852 he married Carrie Smith, daughter of Josiah W. Smith, esq., a prominent member of the Clearfield bar. Of this marriage seven children were born. Dr. Wilson died, after a long illness, on the 13th day of February, in the year 1878.

 

     No better estimate of his worth and attainments can be produced than by the obituary sketch written soon after his decease, by his near friend, ex-Governor William Bigler : " Dr. Wilson ranked with the first men in this section of the State as a man of talent, intelligence and polite accomplishments. In his profession he had attained to marked eminence, and was held in the highest esteem by the medical profession, not only in this locality, but in many parts of the State, and especially by such eminent men as Drs. Gross and Pancost, of Philadelphia. This high appreciation was manifested mainly by the frequent calls that were made upon him for his opinion and advice in cases of rare difficulty in the line of his profession."

     " At the time of his death he was a member of the Geological Commission, created by an act of the Legislature, to perfect the geological survey of the State."

     " The opinion he expressed on any question of medicine, science, morals, or politics, was strictly his own. Treating the views of others with respect, he followed none. He was a close reader and thinker, and made out his own conclusions; and, while he was not wanting in political ambition, he could not restrain his contempt for the low means too often resorted to by many to gain political preferment. He made no pretension as a public speaker, and yet in the school, and other addresses which he occasionally delivered, he showed a pure taste and liberal reading. In short, he was a man of clear, keen, intellect, and of very handsome attainments in all departments of life. In his intercourse among men, his friendships were unfaltering, while his aversions were exceedingly sturdy ; but, on the whole, his heart was full of generosity and kindness."

 

     No less eulogistic, and no less gratifying to his friends and family were the resolutions adopted by the medical society upon the occasion of the death of Dr. Wilson, he having been a member of long standing in that society, and one whose counsels were frequently called for, and freely given.

 

     MURRAY, THOMAS HOLT, was born in Girard township, this county, on the 5th day of April, 1845. He was the second of nine children born to Alexander and Isabella (Holt) Murray. The early life of Thomas was passed with his parents on the farm, where his time was employed in the summer, and cutting and getting out lumber during the winter, except a short time spent in the schools of the township.

 

     When about seventeen years of age he entered Dickinson Seminary, at Williamsport, intending to remain there one year, and lay the foundation for such an education as

 

 

 

 

Page 707

THOMAS HOLT MURRAY.

 

would not only enable him to transact ordinary business, but with a fixed determination to enter professional life. From January 8, 1862, until the time of the completion of the June examinations of that year, he remained at the seminary prosecuting his studies, but failing health then compelled his return home, where he lay sick the rest of the summer. The following fall and winter he found employment in teaching at the Union school in Covington township. In the spring and summer of the year 1863 he was engaged in getting out and rafting timber, mainly in Karthaus and Goshen townships. That winter he taught the Mulsonburg school, Covington township. The early part of the next year was spent in the woods and on the river, until the month of May, when he commenced and thereafter taught a four months term of school at Curwensville ; from this place he frequently walked, after school hours on Friday night, to the home of his parents in Girard township, twenty miles distant.

 

     His health being restored, Mr. Murray, in September, 1864, returned to Dickinson Seminary, and resumed his course of study in that institution. During this time, however, and in the early part of the year 1865, he registered as a student at law with Gen. Robert Fleming, of Williamsport, devoting his leisure hours to the study of Blackstone and such other text works as would train his mind for the legal profession, which he had then fully determined to enter. Before fully completing his course at the seminary, and while thus engaged, he went to Blossburgh, Pa., and for a time engaged in the sale of books. This venture proved quite successful, and enabled him to acquire sufficient means to complete his course and leave him a moderate surplus upon his return home. Furthermore, during this same period he taught a three months term of school at Montoursville, in this State. In June, 1867, he was called back to the seminary to undergo the regular examinations preceding "commencement day." Having been entirely successful under this trying ordeal, Mr. Murray graduated from Dickinson Seminary on the 19th day of June, with the highest honors of his class. The following winter he taught school in Bradford township.

 

     On the 29th of May, 1868 (having, however, duly registered nearly a year earlier), Mr. Murray entered the law office of H. Bucher Swoope, of Clearfield, in order that his course of legal study might be completed ; and nearly a year later, May 24, 1869, after a public examination in open court, he was admitted and sworn as an attorney of the courts ; and on the last day of June following, he opened an office in Clearfield for the general practice of the law. Five years later, at the city of Philadelphia, he was admitted to the Supreme Court of the State.

 

     Digressing briefly from the narrative of the events of his life down to this time, some thoughts suggest themselves that faithfully and correctly portray the personal characteristics of Thomas H. Murray, and are fully evidenced by his subsequent life, and, fur­thermore, furnish an example worthy of emulation. These thoughts are more aptly expressed by words and phrases than by sentences—first, honest determination ; next, application ; then, perseverance, and lastly, the result, the successful accomplishment of that which is undertaken. While any of these elements may be sufficient for the successful transaction of ordinary business, the whole are, in professional life, sine qua non.

 

     For a period of more than five years Mr. Murray practiced without a partner, but in September, 1874, he formed a copartnership with Cyrus Gordon, a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University, and also the Law Department of the University of Michigan, at Ann Arbor. From that until the present time their relation as partners has been maintained, and it is a conceded fact that this firm is among the leaders of the Clearfield bar.

 

 

 

 

Page 708

HISTORY OF CLEARFIELD COUNTY.

 

     The fact that Mr. Murray has been successful in the profession, goes without saying. In a major part of the leading cases tried at the bar of the county, he is, on one side or the other, represented. His practice is general ; but if there is any class of cases for which he has a preference, it is that usually termed " land cases." In the conduct of a case he is wholly devoted to the interests of his client ; ever on the alert for opportunities, but never taking an unfair advantage ; courageous, and at times aggressive, but never carrying personal feeling beyond the doors of the court-room ; possessed of a good understanding of the law, and not given to a misconstruction of doubtful cases ; strong and in favor with a jury, and scorning all that is mean, and narrow, and low ; but it is as an advocate before the court and jury that he is at his best. Lawyers who, perhaps, are his superiors in all the niceties of legal lore, and in the training and polish of the schools, are not infrequently amazed to find their firmest logic and finest rhetoric of no avail, as against his native power and ability to convince. His strong personality, combined with an intuitive perception of the hidden springs that impel men's conduct and thoughts, enable him to seize upon and express just the facts and illustrations which coincide with the half-formed ideas in the minds of the jury, and lead them in his favor; to this end the whole language and manner of the man are all powerful. All this is said of him by his fellow-men and associates at the bar, and more, that throughout the whole scale of human feelings he makes himself felt with a mastery, which, in its sweep and intensity, at times is nothing less than the inspiration of power.

 

     While Mr. Murray stands pre-eminent in his chosen profession, yet the scope of his abilities and attainments is by no means encompassed by his knowledge of law alone ; his achievements in the field of literature, both as an essayist and as a lecturer, are no less prominent and no less worthy, and are only abridged by the arduous duties of professional life. His first appearance upon the rostrum was made during the year 1871, at the re-union of the Belle-lettres Union Society, of Dickinson Seminary, of which he was a member. The subject of that dissertation was "Little Things." Since that time he has prepared other lectures, prominent among which were " The Heroism of St. Paul," and " How to Grow." These have been delivered in several prominent places throughout the State, and were invariably received with the greatest favor by those competent to judge, and the press as well. In 1883 he became connected with the Pennsylvania Lyceum Bureau, and devotes such time to his literary work as can well be taken from regular duties.

In the political affairs of the county Mr. Murray has been a no less powerful factor as the advocate of Republican principles and the champion of Republican rights. His entry into politics dates as far back as the year 1861, at which time his first political speech was made. In 1869 his power as a leader was acknowledged, and he was placed at the head of his party organization in the county, which, during the succeeding eight years was under his management. During this period, by his advice, the party made a departure from regular methods, and succeeded, not only in forcing the opposition into the nomination of proper candidates, but eventually in capturing to the Republicans some of the most desirable county offices, and this in the face of a standing majority of something like two thousand votes. Upon two occasions, by his counsel and advice, the party made no county nominations, but joined with the conservative and indepen­dent Democrats, as against the " machine " candidates, and administered to them a most severe chastisement, and thus was overthrown what was at the time known as the " Court-house ring." He has frequently been a delegate to the State conventions of his

 

 

 

 

Page 709

THOMAS HOLT MURRAY.— WILLIAM BIGLER.

 

party, and, in 1876, was elected by the State Convention as delegate to the National Convention at Cincinnati, where he was an active supporter of Blaine for president.

 

     In October, 1880, Mr. Murray was placed in nomination by the Republican district convention as a candidate for Congress, from the twentieth congressional district of Pennsylvania, against Ex-Governor Andrew G. Curtin, the candidate of the Democracy. Although defeated at the polls, he succeeded in reducing the standing majority of the district by more than one thousand votes.

 

     Notwithstanding the active and earnest work performed by him in the arena of politics, Mr. Murray never so engaged willingly, but with the greatest reluctance, as all such participation ran directly counter to his inclination and taste. But the party lacked organization and leadership, duty called him there, and there could he be found until of late the press of professional business has compelled less active work in that field of labor.

 

     In the cause of temperance Mr. Murray has been an active worker. He has never consented to act as attorney for an applicant for license, but when connected with such cases has invariably opposed the application. Brought up under the teachings of the Methodist Church, while at Williamsport, in 1865, he united with that church. On returning to Clearfield he became an active and influential member there, and is at this time President of the Board of Trustees of that society. In June, 1884, he was made one of the board of directors of Dickinson Seminary.

 

     On the 9th of July, 1872, Thomas H. Murray married Miss Jennie Reighard, of Williamsport, of which marriage four children have been born.

It is at the fireside, as well as in the office, in the unrestricted flow of familiar conversation, when unburdened of overcare and overwork, that his most pleasing traits are exhibited. His devotion to home and family, his genial character, his well-trained mind, his literary taste, and his wonderful memory combine to make him one of the most interesting of companions.

 

     BIGLER, HON. WILLIAM, the subject of this sketch, was one of a class of men so peculiar to America, who, without the aid of fortune or influential friends, have risen rapidly to distinction and places of trust. He was peculiarly the architect of his own fortune, being destitute of means, and having no one of experience to council him in his youth. He showed himself an apt student in all he undertook, and he had a part in nearly all the departments of practical life, as this sketch will show, and that with remarkable success. One of his strongest characteristics was a clear and forecasting mind, with a sound judgment which was sustained by much energy, zeal and perseverance. He may be rated as having been a wise, rather than a brilliant man. In his intercourse with his fellowmen he was uniformly gracious, showing the nicest sense of propriety, and whilst on all public questions he maintained his own views with much firmness, he always heard with deference and respect the sentiments of others, and for this reason, perhaps, as much as any other, he was always considered and adjudged, even by his opponents, in the midst of heated political campaigns, to be a fair minded politician.

 

     But it was in private conversations and discussions that Mr. Bigler showed to most advantage, by the display of much persuasive power, and a facility in presenting the strong points of his case.

 

     He was born in Shermansburg, Cumberland county, Pa., in December, 1813. His

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Page 710

HISTORY OF CLEARFIELD COUNTY.

 

parents, Jacob Bigler and Susan Dock, were of German descent, and were educated like most of that class known as " Pennsylvania Germans " in the German and English tongues.

 

     While the subject of this memoir was quite young his parents removed to Mercer county, in what proved to be a disastrous attempt to build up their fortunes; for the elder Bigler had been induced to purchase a large tract of wild land, the title to which was defective, and in a short time he found himself bereft of everything but a small farm.

 

     The sustenance of his large family depending upon the products of a new farm in a wilderness country, the father, aided as he was by the labors of his children, was obliged to exert himself too severely, and before he had succeeded in placing his family on a fair footing in the world, he succumbed to disease, and he passed away, leaving his widow and children to wrestle with the difficulties of a backwoods life. If his dying vision could have looked forward a very few years, he would have beheld two of the children, about whom he must have had great concern, filling gubernatorial chairs of two of the most important States in the Union, John Bigler, the eldest brother, governor of California, and William Bigler, governor of Pennsylvania, and very shortly afterward the former representing his country in an important foreign mission, and the latter representing his native State, Pennsylvania, in the United States Senate, and occupying while there the highly honored position of confidential friend and adviser of the president of the United States.

 

     There is much of encouragement to the poor young men of America in the lives of them two brothers. Both of them started life without money, and almost without friends. No academic honors crowned their earlier manhood, no luxurious habits enervated their frames, no wealthy friends encouraged their first essays in life. In the battle of the world they fought with no weapons but those furnished by their own indomitable energies. In the struggles for subsistence they gleaned more knowledge from men than from books. Let the young man who would despond over his own future take heart from their example. Only in a land of equality and free institutions does such energy and worth receive its reward, and in the career of these two brothers the genius and simplicity and truth of American institutions are exhibited in their true and proper light.

 

     Busily occupied with the labors necessary for the support of the family, William Bigler received but a moderate school education, but he graduated in what we believe to be the best school for the development of the talents of a bright boy — the printing office. From 1829 to 1833 he was employed by his brother John in the office of the Centre Democrat, published at Bellefonte.

 

     In August, 1833, he felt that the time had arrived when he ought to commence the edifice of his own fortune, and his preparations being made, he started for Clearfield with an old hand press, a set of sheep-skin balls, a font of second hand long primer and brevier type, and twenty dollars of borrowed money, intending to publish a news­paper in his new home. Of so doubtful a prospect was the enterprise that one of his friends, a prominent judge, residing in Bellefonte, felt it to be his duty to utter the well meant warning, " Young man, don't go there, you'll starve."

 

     But others of his friends advised him to go, and among these was Andrew G. Curtin, who also became governor of the Commonwealth.

Young Bigler started with a brave heart, which, however, lost some of its confidence

 

 

 

 

Page 711

WILLIAM BIGLER.

 

as he neared his destination, for it is related as one of the most painful of his experiences, that as he approached his journey's end, and reflected upon his utter friendliness, knowing only two individuals in the county of Clearfield, his spirit was overcome by the blank, cheerless prospect, and he sought to bribe his teamsters with his borrowed twenty dollars into concealing the object of his journey, and to return with the goods to their owners in Bellefonte, while he would push on penniless and afoot to the far West. Fortunately his design was frustrated, and he was received by the people of Clearfield with such frank and generous hospitality, that years afterwards, when surrounded by the material comforts of this life, and had been the recipient of many honors from his State and people, any reference to their kindness to him in that trying time would kindle within him the strongest emotion. His press was soon set up and his type distributed, and in a few days he issued the first number of the Clearfield Democrat, which he used to say was " an eight by ten Jackson paper, intended to counteract the influence of the seven by nine Whig paper which had preceded him into this mountainous region." Bigler did nearly all the work, writing the editorials, setting the type, and working the old hand press. With all these drawbacks the publication was a very spirited one, and while not a source of immediate wealth, he was speedily enabled by his prudence to pay for his printing material and to repay his borrowed twenty dollars.

 

     He was soon immersed in politics and rapidly gained a reputation for good judgment and sincerity, and his uniform courtesy towards everybody made him a general favorite. His editorial and political fame was not lessened by his great skill as a marksman, for his hunting friends assert very confidently that he never missed a buck, even if it were on the full jump when he fired, an accomplishment of considerable weight with the early settlers of Pennsylvania.

 

     On the 23d day of March, 1836, he was married to Maria J. Reed, eldest daughter of A. B. Reed, one of the prominent and prosperous citizens of Clearfield county, a union which was blessed by Providence in its results to both. Mrs. Bigler was the faithful and devoted helpmeet of her husband through all the remainder of his life, both in the sacred precincts of home and amid the trials incident to public station, the ever ready and efficient counselor in the days of trouble, and in the hours of his triumphs. She still survives, living at their old home in the town of Clearfield, blessed with the comforts of life, the center of a large family circle, and having the love and respect of all who know her.

 

     In 1836 he disposed of his newspaper and entered into a mercantile partnership with Mr. Reed, his father-in-law. He engaged in his new pursuit with his usual industry and energy, and in a brief period placed himself in the front rank of the merchants and dealers in lumber in that section. From 1845 to 1850 he was by far the largest producer of lumber or square timber on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. His editorial career however had brought his abilities so prominently before the notice of the people that he was repeatedly urged to accept a nomination for the Legislature, which he always declined. About the period of his marriage, and retirement from editorial life, the question of a reform of the State constitution was agitated with great excitement. Into this contest Mr. Bigler threw his whole energies, and did much towards gaining a victory by which a convention was obtained for changing the constitution. As an acknowledgment of his services he was urged by his friends to serve in this important convention, but again refused an election.

 

     In 1841 he was nominated for the State Senate, and though much to his pecuniary

 

 

 

 

Page 712

HISTORY OF CLEARFIELD COUNTY.

 

disadvantage, accepted the nomination. The district was composed of the counties of Clearfield, Cambria, Indiana, and Armstrong, and he was elected by over three thousand majority. Though opposed by a regularly nominated candidate of the Whig party, he received every vote in his own county of Clearfield, except one, a result unprecedented in the history of politics. He served two terms as a member of the State Senate, being re-elected in the year 1844, and was twice elected speaker of that body. During his term of service some of the most important events in the history of Pennsylvania transpired, and the activity and ability manifested in the leading part he took in measures which most vitally affected the interests of that great Commonwealth laid the foundation for his subsequent honors. It was during his first term of service that the credit of Pennsylvania was injured by her failure to pay the interest on her debt. While the United States Bank was failing, commerce was paralyzed, and consternation and dismay were prompting dishonest measures of relief, an attempt was made to repudiate the public debt. To this, Mr. Bigler, as chairman of the committee of finance, opposed a most determined resistance, insisting upon maintaining inviolate the honor of Pennsylvania, and laboring day and night for the passage of a law for taxation to meet the public indebtedness. A friend who was present says: "I well remember the first time he addressed the Senate upon these important financial questions. Without the artificial graces of oratory, his speech was the embodiment of plain common sense and conclusive reasoning. He seized the strong points of the argument and discussed them in a masterly and convincing manner. His friends were gratified, and his enemies, if indeed he had any, were silenced." His speech upon the question of resumption of specie payments by the banks was received with great favor, and John Strohm, then a senator from Lancaster, approached him at its conclusion and said: "Young man, that speech will make you governor of Pennsylvania if you behave yourself well hereafter." He was also mainly instrumental in the procuring the passage of a law for abolishing imprisonment for debt.

 

     In his second term of service the State was agitated by questions of internal improvement. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company was seeking the right of way through Pennsylvania to Pittsburgh, a project that was regarded by the people of Philadelphia as prejudicial to their interests, and consequently some of the capitalists of that city applied for a charter to construct a road between the two cities, wholly within the limits of the State. The people of Pittsburgh, on the other hand, holding that a direct route across the Allegheny Mountains was impracticable, and that the Philadelphians were insincere in their advocacy of the work, insisted that the Legislature should grant the right to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company to extend their road through the western counties of the State to their city. The contest over the two projects soon became animated and attracted to the capital many influential men from all parts of the Commonwealth who were interested in the result. Mr. Bigler was the earnest advocate of the road through the State, and by his active efforts secured the incorporation of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, which has since become the greatest railroad system in the world. We have often heard Mr. Bigler say that he never had a fiercer contest in all his public life than with the advocates of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company, who wanted to give the people of Pennsylvania the privilege of going from the eastern to the western extremity of their State through the States of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. The contest was finally settled by the adoption of a proposition, which he himself offered, that if a bona fide subscription of three millions of dollars was not

 

 

 

 

Page 713

WILLIAM BIGLER.

 

made and paid towards the construction of the Pennsylvania Central Road on or before the first of the ensuing June, then the act granting the right of way to the Baltimore and Ohio Company should become of effect, otherwise it should be null and void. Pending the passage of the bill, Mr. Bigler made an elaborate speech, showing the feasibilities of the route, the advantages of a road through the heart of the State, and estimates of its prospective business. At the time these statements were regarded as visionary, but they now seem insignificant compared with what has been realized.

At the time the subject was under discussion in the Legislature, the people of Freeport, Armstrong county, a part of his senatorial district, not well understanding the merits of the two propositions, and believing that unless the Baltimore and Ohio Company was allowed to build, no road would ever be constructed, held a public meeting, and appointed one of their number, Philip Klingensmith, a strong-minded, honest Pennsylvania German, to go to Harrisburg and endeavor to win Mr. Bigler to the support of their views. He proceeded on the journey, and had several interviews with the senator, and finally returned to Freeport. As the canal boat which bore him homeward neared the landing, Philip beheld the beach lined with his constituents, all eager to learn the result of his mission. Without waiting to salute them, he began to denounce the whole party, first in German and then in English, as a set of d—d fools and enemies to their country; he said that Bigler was all right and so was he, and as for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company, it had better stay where it was.

 

     In his speech Mr. Bigler pointed out, link by link, the great feeder to the Pennsylvania Road, now known as the Tyrone and Clearfield Railroad, which was completed to his own town in the year 1869, mainly under his directorship.

 

     In 1848 his name was presented to the Democratic convention as a candidate for governor ; but, though he received a large vote, the choice fell upon Morris Longstreth, then a canal commissioner, for whose success Mr. Bigler labored assiduously, but without avail, as Mr. Longstreth was defeated by William F. Johnston.

 

     In 1849 Mr. Bigler was appointed one of the revenue commissioners, whose duty it was to adjust the amount to be raised by taxation in the different sections and counties of the State.

 

     In 1851 he was nominated for governor by acclamation, and after a contest of unusual severity he was elected by eight thousand majority over Governor Johnston, who was his opponent. At the time of his election as governor Mr. Bigler had not yet attained his thirty-eighth year. He made a large number of speeches during that campaign, the leading issue of which was the administration of the fugitive slave law, about which much bitter feeling was provoked by the tragedy at Christiana, in Lancaster county, where a prominent citizen of Maryland was killed in an effort to reclaim a runaway slave. In his various addresses he maintained the doctrine that, whatever may be individual opinions on the institution of slavery, the faithful execution of the fugitive slave law was a constitutional obligation of the States and the citizens of the States. He also advocated the non-intervention of Congress in the affairs of the Territories, and maintained the equal rights of the citizens of all the States in the Territories, whatever might be the character of their property.

 

     By a remarkable coincidence his own election as governor of Pennsylvania was simultaneous with the election of his elder brother John to the same dignity in the new State of California.

 

     Governor Bigler's administration was characterized by the virtues of the old-time

 

 

 

 

Page 714

HISTORY OF CLEARFIELD COUNTY.

 

governors, especially in the maintenance of rigid economy and strict accountability in the use of the public moneys, and while some of his minor acts, in the matter of pardons and appointments, were criticised [sic] with severity by the opposition press, in the larger field of public policy his administration stood high with all parties. During the early part of his term of service as governor there was a serious difference of opinion between the Legislature and the executive upon questions relating to State banks and corporate privileges, and during the first session of the Legislature after his inauguration he sent in thirty-two messages, one of which refused his assent to eleven charters for as many new banks.

 

     To his exertions are the people of the State indebted for the overthrow of that demoralizing system of legislation known as "omnibus" or "log rolling" legislation, by which it was only necessary to unite a bad project with a number of good ones in one heterogeneous bill to secure its passage.

 

     In his message to the Legislature in 1854, after commenting upon the magnitude of the evil and its serious interference with the more elevated purpose of legislation, says: "I must claim the privilege of considering each subject of legislation separately, and on its merits, as contemplated by the constitution, and henceforth bills containing a variety of subjects of legislation, dissimilar in their character and purposes, cannot receive the sanction of the present executive." This firm stand taken by the governor had the desired effect. A law was passed forbidding the passage of any act which did not fully state in its title the subject matter, and which contained more than one subject.

 

     In the same message he expresses his views upon other leading questions, some of which have been widely discussed since that time and finally taken shape as part of the organic law of the land. " I have never," he says, " felt willing to see the fundamental law changed for light or doubtful reasons, but I sincerely believe that when the proper time arrives it will be wise so to amend the constitution as to require that each law shall be passed in a separate bill and receive not less than a majority of votes of each House on a call of the yeas and nays ; to provide that all laws of a public nature shall be general in their character and apply to the entire State; that municipal corporations, vested with all the power the Legislature could confer, should not have the right to become subscribers to, or holders of, the stock of other corporations; to interdict the creation of debt for any purpose except war; to unite some other functionary with the governor in the exercise of the pardoning power."

 

     In March, 1854, he was again unanimously nominated for governor, and entered upon another laborious campaign ; but his health failed him, and he lay sick in the northern part of the State during most of the canvass. He was defeated by the Know Nothing or Native American party by a large majority.

 

     In January, 1855, but a few days after the expiration of his gubernatorial term, he was elected president of the Philadelphia and Erie Railroad Company, in which capacity he evinced his usual industry and energy, and contributed largely to bringing its affairs to a healthy condition. He was also in January, 1855, elected to the Senate of the United States, where he served for six years, his term expiring on the 4th of March, 1861.

 

     Mr. Bigler's career in the Senate, though he did not participate in debate so frequently as many others, was one of much labor and troublesome responsibility. He was placed on the committees of commerce, and post-offices and post-roads, and also of patents, of which committees he subsequently became chairman.

 

     In 1857 he made an elaborate report from the committee on commerce on the con‑

 

 

 

 

Page 715

WILLIAM BIGLER.

 

struction of a ship canal across the isthmus, with a view of connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and during the same session he made a speech in the Senate favoring the construction of the Pacific Railroad. Both of these projects were regarded by many people, even of that day, as somewhat visionary. The completion of the latter, with two successful rival lines as competitors, has been a thing of the past for many years, and the other is in slow process of construction under the auspices of foreign capital. He was also an earnest advocate of subsidies to the submarine telegraph, as he was also of proper rewards and dignities by the United States government for that band of brave men connected with the Kane expedition to the Arctic region.

 

     Mr. Bigler's term of service in the United States Senate was during one of the most trying periods in the history of our country, being the years directly preceding the breaking out of the civil war. Party spirit ran high, and the feeling between the two great sections of our common country was daily becoming more embittered. On the great sectional controversy of the time, growing out of slavery, whilst he had no partialities for the institution, being a life member of the Colonization Society, his stand-point was obedience to the laws and good faith amongst the members of the Federal Union. He was for the execution of the fugitive slave law because it was provided for in the constitution.

 

     He embraced the doctrine of Daniel Webster, that the constitution to be effective must be observed in all its parts; that if broken in one point it becomes null as to all the others. He held that States were equal within the Union, and that slavery was a domestic institution which each State had a right to establish or reject at pleasure. He was the unfaltering friend of the Union, and never spoke of its maintenance but in the most unqualified terms. He was very earnestly opposed to the extension of slavery into the Territory of Kansas, and in the summer of 1857, before the election of delegates to form a State constitution and government for that Territory, he made a tour of that Territory, exerting his influence to get the free-state electors to go to the polls and secure a majority of members favorable to their views. This they refused to do, and then after­wards sought to disregard the result. Out of these Kansas troubles grew the controversy between him and Mr. Douglass on the floor of the Senate in the following December.

 

     When, after the election of Mr. Lincoln, it became apparent that secession would be attempted, Mr. Bigler was untiring in his efforts to secure an adjustment of our national troubles. He acted with Mr. Crittenden in his efforts to secure a compromise, and held that the people of the Southern States could have no reasonable plea for resorting to violence until they had first exhausted all peaceful means for the adjusting of their grievances.

 

     In the course of an elaborate speech in the Senate in February, 1861, on the very day on which the cotton States senators withdrew from that body, he said: " As for secession, I am utterly against it. I deny the right, and I abhor the consequences. It is no remedy for any one of the evils lamented; it will aggravate rather than remove them, and in addition superinduce others of a more distressing and destructive character."

 

     He was a member of the committee of thirteen to which was referred the famous compromise propositions of Mr. Crittenden, and throughout sustained their adoption. He also presented and advocated a bill providing for submitting the Crittenden resolutions to a vote of the people of the several States, which was rejected, but which has

 

 

 

 

Page 716

HISTORY OF CLEARFIELD COUNTY.

 

since been regarded by sagacious men as a remedy which would have utterly crushed secession. He was also a member of the committee of five to whom was referred the proceedings of the Peace Conference, the last of all the attempts made in Congress to settle the strife between the North and South.

 

     Mr. Crittenden, in a speech delivered on the 2d of March, 1861, within two days of the expiration of his term in the Senate, alluded to the efforts of Mr. Bigler in the following complimentary language : " I shall never forget the zeal and industry which my honorable and honored friend from Pennsylvania has displayed in this great matter. With a zeal untiring and a hope inextinguishable, he has toiled on from day to day with a labor few others could have borne."

 

     A writer in Harper's Weekly, of June, 1858, thus speaks of Mr. Bigler in the earlier part of his services as senator : " Entering the Senate with the last Congress, he has had little opportunity to distinguish himself in debate. His contest with Senator Douglas at the commencement of the present session has brought him most prominently before the country ; but it is in the committee-room, and in the vitally important work of judicious counsel in those unreported conferences which mould the destinies of nations, that he most distinguishes himself. He is less seen and more felt than any man on the administration side of the chamber. He is continually beset by persons who wish to avail themselves of his known intimate relations with the president ; and yet in this most trying position of personal friend, adviser, and confidant of the chief executive, he is a model of urbanity and extreme courtesy of demeanor towards those who approach him even for favors. He is one of the rare men whom dignity and fortune do not spoil. His fine appearance and genial countenance are fair indices of his character. We do not think he has an enemy, even among his political opponents."

 

     He was a member of the Democratic convention which assembled at Charleston, 1860, where he took ground against the nomination of Judge Douglas, and he was temporary chairman of the convention at Chicago in 1864 which nominated General George B. McClellan. In the same year, against his wish, he was presented for Congress in a district that had given Mr. Lincoln six thousand majority, and was defeated by only a few hundred votes.

In 1865 and 1866, in company with his wife, he made a visit, by way of the Isthmus of Panama to the Pacific States, where two of his sons were then residing. During the years 1867 and 1868 he devoted almost his entire time and energies, and gave much of his means to the extension of a railroad to the town of Clearfield, and to the erection of a beautiful stone church for the Presbyterian congregation of that place, of which body he became a member some years before.

 

     He was again a delegate to the National Democratic convention of 1868, which met in New York and nominated Horatio Seymour.

 

     In 1872 he was nominated a delegate at large to the convention for the revision of the constitution, and as the convention was to be constituted by a limited vote, his election was certain ; but some weeks after the nomination he withdrew from the ticket to give place to Ex-Governor Andrew G. Curtin, as representative of the Liberal Republicans. He afterwards became a member of the convention, being selected to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of S. H. Reynolds, and took a leading part in the deliberations of that body. In November, 1873, at the request of Hon. John W. Forney, he gave to the public, through the colums of The Press, his views and explanations at length of the new fundamental law of the State, recently formulated by the convention, and asked its adoption by the people.

 

 

 

 

Page 717

WILLIAM BIGLER.

 

     He was prominently connected with the Centennial Exposition from its inception to its close, and to him, as much as to any one man, is due the success of that great enterprise. He was selected by the Legislature of Pennsylvania in the spring of 1873, as State centennial supervisor, and in March, 1874, he was elected a member of the centennial board of finance. As fiscal agent he established a branch office of that board in New York City, and in the same capacity he visited many of the States of the Union, soliciting contributions and awakening public interest in an exposition that was to show to the world the wonderful growth of our country in its first hundred years. He was mainly instrumental in procuring the passage of the act of Congress which secured the recognition and aid of the government to the enterprise.

 

     A prominent gentleman still in public life, in a public address, thus alluded to Mr. Bigler's efforts: " In his last official position it was my good fortune to be called by him to his assistance in the work he had so generously undertaken as a member of the board of finance of the centennial enterprise. His services, though appreciated at the time, were never properly recognized or remembered. In the passage of the bill by Congress he did more service and evinced more skill, and infused more earnestness into the friends of the measure than any man living or dead, and I have no hesitation in saying from my knowledge of all that occurred, that to him more than any of the earnest men who bore an active part in that wonderful exhibition of the power and progress of this country, we are indebted for the success at Washington, without which the exposition might have been a failure."

 

     In September, 1875, he was presented in the Democratic State Convention at Erie for the gubernatorial nomination, and from the third to the tenth ballot led all the other candidates. His name was withdrawn after the tenth ballot, and Cyrus L. Pershing, of Schuylkill, was nominated.

 

     In 1871 he manifested a warm interest in the Democratic canvass for the presidency, and when the election was seen to turn upon the disputed votes of certain Southern States, he was requested by Mr. Tilden to go to Louisiana with other prominent and sagacious Democrats to see that the votes cast in that State were fairly canvassed, and that the result was legally declared. His associates from Pennsylvania in this duty were Mr. Randall and Ex-Governor Curtin. Mr. Bigler went to New Orleans, at a great sacrifice of personal comfort and business interests, but in obedience to a profound sense of the gravity of the crisis. In his own words, he felt that he was " a peace commissioner," and being such, could not be influenced by mere partisan considerations. He soon became satisfied that Louisana [sic] had declared for Tilden by a very large majority, and could not for a moment believe that the desperate schemes imputed to them would be carried out by the returning board.

 

     When he saw that he was mistaken in this charitable judgment he was astounded, and fell back upon the hope that there would be such a manifestation of popular indignation against the returning board as would compel it to retrace its steps and prevent the consummation of what he believed to be a great outrage. There could be no better illustration of his strict sense of justice, and his sublime confidence in the policy of law and the integrity of the American people.

 

     In all the proceedings at New Orleans he was a prominent figure, commanding the respect of both parties and consulted as an oracle by those of his own political faith. This was Governor Bigler's last public service, and the last few years of his life was spent at his home in Clearfield, in attendance upon his own private interests, and assist-

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Page 718

HISTORY OF CLEARFIELD COUNTY.

 

ing in the development of the resources of his county. For a number of years prior to his death he had been afflicted with valvular disease of the heart, and the last twelve months of his life was greatly enfeebled. Although every effort was made by the best medical skill, he continued to grow worse, and it became evident to himself and his friends that recovery was impossible. He bore his sufferings with great resignation, and fully conscious of his condition awaited death with the calmness of a true Christian believer. Surrounded by his family and friends he died at his home on Monday, the 9th day of August, A. D. 1880.

 

     Few men who were so closely engaged in party affairs as he was for so many years, have been so thoroughly respected and honored by men of all parties. One of the earliest manifestations of this was when he was taken at the age of twenty-eight from his little country printing-office to be made State Senator, and received every vote but one cast in the county of Clearfield. He always had the confidence and esteem of his immediate neighbors, for he always deserved it, and they were as proud of him as printer, editor, and lumberman, as when he was governor and in the Senate of the United States. It was always a pleasure to him to be doing good turns for the people of his vicinity. Forty odd years ago, when Clearfield had no bank, and when the chief resource for a circulating medium for business transactions was in the payment of lumber sent from the county down the Susquehanna River, he frequently played the part of volunteer and unpaid banker. It was his custom to take all the dirty, ragged, and uncurrent notes received for his own rafts, and considerable sums from his fellow-lumber­men and carry them to Philadelphia and get fresh issues of the city banks, together with coin, to be put in circulation at his home.

 

     His early life of hardship and toil had hardened his muscles and given him a fine physique, and before he had wholly given himself to public life, he could endure as much fatigue as any of the stalwart backwoodsmen, of which class of people his constituency was mainly composed. He was exceedingly fond of hunting, and when he first came to Clearfield its forests were full of deer, bear, and all other sorts of wild game. This gave him frequent opportunity to indulge in this favorite pastime, and as he was known as one of the best shots in the county with a rifle, he seldom returned home without he had with him some evidence of his skill as a successful hunter, and his dexterity as a marks­man also generally made him a successful competitor at the shooting-matches, gatherings, and contests which in that early day were as regular and certain as the seed-time and harvest.

 

     In one of his numerous hunting adventures in the mountain wilds of his county, he captured a young bear and brought it home alive. He kept him for some time, an object of admiration as well as a victim to the taunts and tortures of the boys of the town. Bruin never became fully reconciled to his new home, and at times manifested a disposition not in keeping with a civilized life; this disposition brought upon him an early death.

 

     In political life, though Governor Bigler was a decided Democrat of the old school, he was never a bitter partisan. He discussed party topics and public affairs on broad grounds of principle and with the courtesy of a gentleman. No man was better versed in the political history of the United States, and when he was among the active leaders of the party none could forecast the result of a pending election in Pennsylvania with as much certainty as he. This came from his habit of mind, which, while slow in its operation, was calm, clear, comprehensive, and judicial. He was both a good writer and

 

 

 

 

Page 719

WILLIAM BIGLER.— JOHN Du BOIS.

 

forcible speaker—forcible not because of rhetoric or showy oratory, but by cogent and persuasive reasoning.

 

     He was a man of kindly social feelings, and irreproachable private character. There was no stain upon his official record. Varying as were the demands made upon his character and ability by many different public trusts, he proved equal to them all, and amply justified the wide confidence the people had so repeatedly reposed in him.

 

     He obeyed the command to love God and his fellow-men, and his life of civic usefulness was fittingly closed by a death of Christian peace.

 

     DU BOIS, JOHN, was born near Owego, Tioga county, N. Y., March 3, 1809, the second of a family of thirteen children, two brothers and one sister only surviving him. John Du Bois, the father, a man of energy and decision, claiming descent from the Huguenots of France—a man of strong and robust physical frame and of a tall and commanding presence—reared and trained his sons in habits of early rising, industry and persevering enterprise, and though their early years were not free from hardship, and severe and constant toil, the subject of this sketch often referred in after years to the severe labor and discipline of his boyhood and youth, as the foundation of his grand success in after life. Lucy, the mother, was a daughter of Ezekiel Crocker, one of the noted and conspicuous early settlers of the Susquehanna Valley. She was a woman of decided character, of untiring energy and indomitable will, ruling her numerous family with a firm hand, and training them in habits of order, diligence, perseverance, forethought and economy ; encouraging and developing by her own example and guiding hand in her children, the good natural gifts and powers they inherited and derived from her by nature. She lived to a good old age, her husband surviving her but a few years, and dying at the age of eighty-four years.

 

     John Du Bois, jr., with one or more of his brothers, early embarked in the lumber business near his home, and very soon, by means of his ingenuity, made important improvements upon the crude methods of lumbering known to the early pioneers. He claimed to have built, when but a youth, the first log-slide that was ever built in that region ; and its perfect success was a matter of astonishment to the neighbors who witnessed its operation. Ere long the diminishing supply of pine timber caused the young lumberman to look about for a new field of operations, and a favorable purchase of lands and mill-site was effected on Lycoming Creek, in Pennsylvania, where John, associated with his brothers, David and Matthias, carried on the lumber business, with yearly increasing volume, and with encouraging success for several years. As fast as their capital increased judicious investments were made in pine lands and other real estate. Two farms, lying within the present limits of the city of Williamsport, were purchased, laid out in lots, streets and alleys; and are now the location of some of the finest residences in the city. A large tract of some five hundred acres on the south side of the river, opposite the upper end of Williamsport, was also purchased, and became the location in a few years of his large steam gang mills, and of his extensive lumber yards. Large tracts of the finest pine timber in Pennsylvania were secured by John Du Bois and his brother in Clearfield county, affording for many years an ample supply of logs to the Williamsport mills, and embracing also the large tract contiguous to the present borough of Du Bois, on the western slope of the Alleghenies. Although these lands were then, and for many years afterward, inaccessible for successful lumbering operations, the low price of the land, and the magnificent growth of white pine timber with which they were coy‑

 

 

 

 

Page 720

HISTORY OF CLEARFIELD COUNTY.

 

ered, were inducements which led to the investment of every dollar the brothers could' raise for the purchase; notwithstanding they were well aware of the tremendous burden they were assuming, in the shape of many years of heavy taxes on property assessed at a high value, but affording no income, and incurring many and great risks from fires, wind­storms, and depredations of thieves, before any returns could be realized. The decease of David, a younger brother and partner, had occurred while they were living on Lycoming Creek. About this time they moved to Williamsport, and built a large steam gang saw-mill, on the south side of the river, in and about which hundreds of men were employed, and millions of feet of lumber were annually sawed. The death of his brother, Matthias, and the purchase of his interest in the business, lands, and other property, left John the sole owner and manager of what had now grown to be a very extensive business. A movement, contemplating the making of Williamsport the great lumber centre of Pennsylvania, was soon organized by John Du Bois and a few others, by securing a charter for a boom in the Susquehanna River to catch and hold logs, to be floated from the headwaters of the stream. Mr. Du Bois was one of the original charter members of the Susquehanna Boom Company, for many years its president, and owner of most of its stock, and under his vigorous administration the boom was built, and made a decided success. Very great opposition to the driving of saw-logs was manifested by the communities living on the headwaters of the stream, they alleging that the floating of loose saw-logs seriously interfered with the running of rafts; and when no effective remedy could be found in the courts of law to prohibit the driving of logs, some of them clan­destinely resorted to what was then called spiking logs. Spikes, old files, and iron of almost every shape that could be found, were driven into the ends and sides of the best logs at night, and so effectually concealed that it required careful search by experts to find the iron. Tons of iron were extracted at the mills, and with the greatest care it was impossible to get the spikes and old iron all out ; and the stoppage of the mills for broken saws was of almost daily occurrence. With all this opposition and loss, John Du Bois never faltered, but went on putting in and driving his logs every year, meeting those in the courts who disputed his rights to drive logs on legal grounds, and by fair and honorable treatment of those he had reason to believe were privately injuring him, the opposition gradually died out and entirely so, after it was noised around that Mr. Du Bois was taking measures for the discovery of the perpetrators of the injury, with a view of bringing them to justice. Had he been governed by a spirit of revenge, or retaliation for the very serious injuries and losses inflicted upon his business, no doubt many would have soon found themselves behind prison bars ; but when the injury ceased, he was content to let the matter drop. In the mean time, though the boom had become a perfect success, and many mills had been built at Williamsport, a strong and unreasonable opposition through envy, jealousy or misunderstanding, had arisen against the management of the boom, on the part of many of his brother lumbermen. Though reaping the benefits of the boom—by having their logs caught, cared for, rafted out and delivered to them—without any of the burdens, annoyances, risks or responsibilities, further than the payment of a very moderate charge for booming and rafting, it was considered sufficient cause for hostility, that Du Bois owned and managed the boom. Becoming weary of the captious opposition of his neghbors, and continual irritation and annoyance from those who should have been his friends, and the grand scheme for which he had labored so many years being now fully assured of success, he proposed to several of the principal lumbermen to take a portion of his boom stock at par. This proposal was

 

 

 

 

Page 721

JOHN Du BOIS.

 

accepted ; a controlling interest in the stock was sold to them, when Mr. Du Bois retired permanently from the management of its affairs, though still retaining nearly one-half of the original stock. Very soon, however, the opposition came to a realizing sense that, though rid of Du Bois, they had fallen into the hands of a corporation without a soul, and whose prime object was to make the utmost possible out of the boom and its franchises. An advance, nearly or quite doubling the boomage tolls, was secured from the Legislature on one and another pretext, and the real grievances the lumbermen were now compelled to endure at the hands of the monopoly, caused many of them to regret their former opposition to Du Bois, and to remember him as a public benefactor, instead of an extortionist. Meanwhile Du Bois still held his stock, but was totally excluded by the new management from all voice in the control, as well as from any participation in the earnings and profits of the boom. No dividends were ever declared in which he was allowed to share. He finally disposed of his boom stock with his large gang-mill to Ten Eyck, Emery & Co., and immediately set about building another large stone mill, which he operated for several years until his removal to Du Bois.

 

     During all these years of absorbing business his active brain found time to consider and perfect many inventions ; for some of which he secured letters patent, and many more were used by him about his mills and in his business, as labor and expense saving devices, and were left free to be adopted or imitated by any that desired their benefits. In a single instance, however, was he led or forced into a long and severe litigation with a powerful railroad corporation, in defense of his right to a patent he had obtained for sinking piers in deep water, as well as in vindication of his integrity, which he considered had been wantonly attacked, and would stand or fall in the estimation of the public, with his success or defeat in the contest. After repeated partial defeats in the lower courts, and all the delays and obstructions that the best legal talent and ingenuity could devise, prolonging the battle for nearly or quite ten years, when almost every friend had despaired of his success, his claims to the ownership of the patent, and his integrity, were fully and finally established and vindicated, by the decision of the United States Supreme Court, and a verdict for over thirty thousand dollars was awarded him for the infringement of his patent. His success in this suit was mainly due to his personal conduct and direction of all the various steps in the case ; and on the witness stand he showed himself fully a match for the renowned lawyers who were engaged in the case against him, knowing as he did the justice of his cause, and fully conscious of the rectitude of his purpose.

 

     Having nearly exhausted the supply of pine timber that could be floated to Williamsport, he began in 1872 to make preparations for lumbering on his lands on Sandy Creek, on the western slope of the Alleghenies—erecting first a small mill with one circular saw, building dams, clearing land, making roads, building houses and other improvements, and very soon afterwards contracting for the machinery and outfit, and laying the foundations of his immense mills and lumber establishments at Du Bois. His enterprise in developing this new region and the opening of the Low Grade Division of the Alle­gheny Valley Railroad, soon attracted a numerous colony of hardy and industrious workmen with their families, as also many merchants, mechanics and professional men, whose homes and places of business now constitute the borough of Du Bois, having increased from three houses in 1872, to a population of about seven thousand in 1886. The building of his three steam mills, box factory, machine shop, store and hotel, tannery (in which latter enterprise Messrs. Van Tassel Brothers were associated as partners), the clearing

 

 

 

 

Page 722

HISTORY OF CLEARFIELD COUNTY.

 

and improvement of a twelve hundred acre farm, and the erection of more than one hundred good comfortable dwelling houses for his employees, occupied the last years of his life, and all these improvements proceeded under his personal supervision.

 

     Through all his busy and useful career several peculiar traits and characteristics were especially prominent. As a business man, those who knew him best have remarked his strict sense of justice in all his dealings, and his utter detestation of all trickery and knavish practices. Prompt to defend his own rights when invaded, he never exacted from others more than he was morally as well as legally entitled to, and notwithstanding in the course of such a protracted career of business, involving many millions of dollars, he was frequently compelled either to defend or prosecute a suit at law, he dreaded and avoided such contests, so far as he considered the safety of his business would permit,' and particularly in his later years, effected many settlements by a compromise, conceding often his just rights rather than resort to litigation.

 

     His great mechanical ingenuity, in constructing devices and appliances for the saving of expense and labor, was continually displayed in all departments of his business, and scarcely a year passed by without an addition to his list of patents, many of which are still in use. Up to the latest months of his life, his mental power was seldom too much exhausted for active exercise in the direction of mechanical devices. His aim seemed always to contemplate increased production at diminished cost, and to discover the best and cheapest mode of accomplishing every part of the work he laid out, and in this mechanical ability, aided and directed by his strong native good sense, lay a very important element of his great success.

 

     Order, neatness, regularity and punctuality were virtues not only practiced habitually himself, as rules of his life, but were expected and required in all his employees ; and a failure in any of these was sure soon to attract his vigilant eye, and cause the application of an effectual remedy.

 

     His remarkable power of concentrating his mind upon any subject that interested him—until he had reached a satisfactory conclusion—was brought to bear upon the various branches of his extended business, as well as upon his mechanical studies, and no doubt, contributed largely to the gratifying results attained.

 

     Being a very close observer of men, and generally a good judge of human nature, he was seldom at fault in the selection of his principal aids, assistants, foremen, and employees generally ; whatever gift or excellence each one was possessed of, Du Bois was quick to notice, and to place such employee where his superiority could be used to best advantage. He studied his men and knew them thoroughly, often forming his judgment of them from what to others would seem trifling acts or occurrences, which would escape the notice of most observers. While strict and exacting from all employees the full measure of their duty, he did not expect to find perfection in any of them ; and in those who were known to be reliable, and had proved to be loyal to his interest, industrious and honest, an occasional mistake would be excused ; but no degree of ability, would atone in his estimation for the lack of truth, honesty and integrity. One who ever deliberately deceived him need ever expect to be trusted again by him. This faculty of close observation was habitually exercised towards the minutest details of his business, as the various departments from time to time were separately reviewed. He seemed to value the results of his plans and labors more for their successful outcome, than for the rapid increase of his wealth. Money was never with him an end or object, but a means for the furtherance and accomplishment of his designs and plans, and the proper em‑

 

 

 

 

Page 723

JOHN Du BOIS.

 

ployment of his accumulations in active business gave him much thought in his later years. The employment of a large number of men at liberal wages, in his extensive schemes of improvement, he seemed to consider a better use for surplus capital, than the hoarding of it in stocks and bonds, and very rarely during the last five years of his life did the number of his employees fall short of five hundred to six hundred men.

 

     Although making no parade before the world as a philanthropist, yet he frequently ran his works with a full complement of men for months together out of regard for the welfare of his employees and their families, when he could have made far more money by a suspension of work. To his men who were diligent, faithful and honest, he gave very liberal terms on land and buildings for their homes, and was never known to har­ass them for payment, always accepting whatever could be spared out of their earnings after providing for the comfort of their families, and in sickness or disaster of any kind, he could always be depended upon for sympathy and assistance. Such a combination of traits could not fail to make up a character of note and prominence among his fellow men.

 

 

 

 

   

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