History of Lawrence County Pennsylvania, 1770 - 1877, by S.W. and P.A. Durant.
[p.165] Was born near Lewistown, Mifflin county, Pa., in the year 1772. His wife was Jane Cubbison, who was born in County Down, Ireland, in December, 1767. Mr. Sankey came to what is now Lawrence county about the year 1798, and became one of the first settlers at Western Reserve Harbor, in Union township. He was a farmer by occupation, and was an influential member of what is now known as the United Presbyterian church. He was the second Sheriff of Mercer county. He was a man of sterling integrity and great influence. He died July 9, 1813. His family numbered six sons and three daughters:
WILLIAM, born July 10, 1794; died November 27,1860. SARAH, born December 24, 1795; died December 25, 1876. JOHN RIDDLE, born November 3, 1797; died March 29, 1869. JOSEPH CUBBISON, born November 9, 1799; died November 24, 1870. MARY ANN, born September 11, 1801; died August 12, 1874. JAMES, born November 25, 1803; died August 12, 1861. EZEKIEL, Jr., born October 3, 1807. DAVID, born January 10, 1809. JANE, born June 24, 1811; died September 14, 1871.
When Ezekiel Sankey died, the family consisted of ten—the widow and nine children. This was in 1813. After that there was no death in the family until 1857, a period of 44 years. To-day, of that family of ten, but two are left—Ezekiel and David, both residing practically in the city, both well up in years.*
*For a more extended account of this old pioneer, the reader is referred to the history of Union township, in the history of Lawrence county.
This gentleman is the fifth son and seventh child of Major Ezekiel Sankey, the pioneer just noticed, and was born on his father's farm at Western Reserve Harbor, Lawrence county, Pa., on October 3d, 1807. The death of his father, when young Sankey was not quite six years of age, left his mother in the care of a family of nine children, most of them quite young. This event, together with the fact that the county was new and thinly settled, rendered it impossible for her to give her family any advantages of education, save those of a very limited scope. The subject of this sketch, however, as will appear as we proceed, has been identified with a large number of industrial pursuits, which have brought him into contact with men and things, from which experience he has gathered much valuable information of a practical nature. This practical element is, after all, the sine qua non of success. It is the absence of it that renders the lives of many of the best book-educated men such signal failures.
With the exception of a short time in the pottery business, young Sankey passed his boyhood and youth in farm labor. At the age of about sixteen he engaged to work on the farm of Samuel McCleary, near New Castle, at six dollars a month, and took his pay in such store trade as he needed. Here he remained about three years. At nineteen, he was apprenticed to Nathaniel McElevey, in the shoemaker's trade, which business be followed for some five years. He then was employed for about three years in driving stock for John B. Pearson, a large stock dealer of New Castle, and subsequently carried on this business for himself for a period of years. Within this time he was also for a while engaged in boating between New Castle and Beaver, and in 1834 ran the first canal boat, the "Alpha," that plied between these places. On many occasions he made a round trip of fifty miles in the then remarkable brief space of twelve hours. In 1835, he erected the first warehouse built in New Castle; it stood on the site of Henderson's store building, in the rear of Ewer's store.
In 1835, Mr. Sankey was elected Major of a volunteer battalion of Mercer county, and served seven years.
The United States Bank in Philadelphia, upon its failure in 1841 or '42, made an assignment to James Dundass and others, and Mr. Sankey was appointed agent, with full power to adjust the claims of the bank against numerous citizens of Mercer county. This work of compromise he accomplished to the entire satisfaction of both parties, while at the same time he effected a far more favorable settlement for the citizens interested, than could have possibly been secured by any other means.
Mr. Sankey has also been engaged as contractor on the public works of several States, among which were the New York and Erie railroad, the Pennsylvania railroad, the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, and the Sandy and Beaver canal, in Ohio. He subsequently figured prominently in projecting the Pittsburgh and Erie railroad, and with others was largely instrumental in the construction of this great thoroughfare.
In 1852 Mr. Sankey became one of the incorporators of the "Greenwood Cemetery." He was, indeed, the father of this enterprise, and previous to the above named date, owned the ground now occupied by the cemetery.
About the year 1853, there existed an organization known as the "Nicholson Run and Pine Swamp Coal Company," whose charter gave them the power to build a railroad from Darlington to New Castle, but which involved the objectionable feature of individual liabilities. In order to secure the building of this road, Major Sankey drew up and secured the granting of a charter changing its name to the "New Castle and Darlington Road," and became instrumental in having the subscription of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, made in July, 1852, to the P. and E. railroad, transferred to the N. C. and D. railroad. He also, by his own personal efforts, secured handsome subscriptions from other sources, among which was $5,000 from the Economy Society.
Under Mr. Sankey as Superintendent, the work was commenced and brought almost to completion, when, owing to a repudiation of the bonds on the part of some disaffected parties, the enterprise was abandoned. In changing the name of the charter, moreover, it was inadvertently omitted to extend the time for the completion of the road, and this fact was taken advantage of by parties in New Castle, who were opposed to the enterprise, and who brought influences to bear upon the Legislature to prevent this extension of time. The success of this road, however, would have resulted in great benefit to Lawrence county, inasmuch as it would have brought the rich kennel and bituminous coal fields of the Darlington district into direct communication with New Castle, and would have saved Lawrence county her subscription of $150,000, made to the P. and E. railroad. In 1861, he entered the employ of the United States Government in repairing the railroads that were destroyed by the rebels, and was also sutler to the 9th Pa., V. I.
For a number of years also, from first to last, he was engaged in merchandising in New Castle, and at one time was proprietor of the old "Mansion House," which stood on the site now occupied by the Leslie House; and in 1863 and 1864, he also conducted the last named hotel.
On February 9, 1832, Mr. Sankey was married to Miss Sarah S. Jones, daughter of Isaac Jones, of New Castle. This union was blessed with a large and highly respectable family, of which the following is the natal record:
MINERVA S., born May 31, 1833; died June 22, 1873; aged forty years and twenty-two days.
CHARLES C., born August 10, 1835.
EBEN B., born July 1, 1837.
E. LAURA, born February 14, 1840; married William MacDonald, of Rockford, Il. Has two daughters, Sarah and Kate.
REBECCA E., born December 29, 1841; married Thomas H. Falls, of New Castle, on May 5, 1864. Has two children, Eben and Sallie. (See Falls Family History.)
HENRY C., born December 3,1843.
JAMES P., born December 3, 1846.
WILLIAM J., born June 29, 1848.
LAWRENCE and KATE, (twins,) born March 1, 1852.
The oldest son, CHARLES CARROLL SANKEY, named from Charles Carroll, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, married Miss Maggie E. McConahy, daughter of David McConahy, of New Castle, on January 2, 1862. His family consists of four children:
CLYDE J., born April 17, 1863.
CHARLES G., born: September 7, 1865.
FREDERICK B., born March 28, 1869.
LAURA, born December 7, 1873.
In 1861, Mr. Sankey enlisted in Co. H, 12th Pa. V. I., and after the expiration of the three months service, entered the 9th Pa. Reserve, as assistant sutler under his father. In August, 1865, he entered the service of the Beaver Valley branch of the P. F. W. and C. railroad at New Castle, and in about two years afterwards was appointed the agent of this road at the same place. He also served as Assistant Civil Engineer on the following roads: The Beaver Valley, the Northwestern, and the Port Clinton branch of the Allentown railroads. He is now Freight and Ticket Agent at New Castle, for three lines: the P. F. W. and C., E. and P., and the N. C. and Franklin railroads. During a twelve years' experience he has become firmly established in the confidence of these companies, and is one of the most efficient and gentlemanly agents in their employ.
On the 19th of September, 1876, Mr. Sankey procured letters patent for a ventilating attachment for windows. It is a most admirable device for securing the complete ventilation of a room, and at the same time avoiding the inconvenience and exposure of a draft.
Mr. Sankey is also a remarkably fine vocalist, and his singing, in the estimation of many, outrivals in richness and sweetness that of his cousin, Ira D. Sankey.
EBEN B. SANKEY, the second son of Ezekiel Sankey, married Miss Julia Woodward, of Taunton, Mass., and has three children, a son and two daughters. At an early age he engaged in railroading. He built the Youngstown and Hubbard division of the Ashtabula and Younggtown railroad; was also engineer in the erection of the Etna Furnaces in New Castle, and subsequently built a furnace in Terre Haute, Indiana.
He is now located at Salem, Mo., and is the General Freight Agent of the St. Louis, Salem and Little Rock railroad. He is also Chief Engineer of the road, and likewise Superintendent of the iron ore mines belonging to the same. He was in the service of the late war as sutler to the Mount Jackson Battery.
Third son, and sixth child of Major Sankey, enlisted in Co. D, 134th Pa. V. I., in August, 1862; was corporal of his company. After the expiration of the nine mouths' service, he re-enlisted in Co. A, 55th Pa. State Militia in the summer of 1863, and served three months, spending most of the time at Parkersburg, W. Va. In the summer of 1864, he again enlisted in Co. E, 193d Pa. V. I.; was sergeant of his company. This was the one hundred days service, and the regiment was employed principally in guarding Baltimore and the ferry boats at Havre de Grace.
At the battle of Chancellorsville, May 3, 1863, Mr. Sankey had a narrow escape. A minnie ball cut through the folds of his undergarment on the left side, passing directly over the region of the heart.
When a young man, he spent several years in the printing business, working on all the newspapers then in New Castle. For the past eight years he has been clerk under his brother Charles in the New Castle office of the P. F. W. and C. R. R.
JAMES P. SANKEY, the fourth son, learned the printer's trade in Youngstown, Ohio. While there he volunteered his services in the late civil war, but was not accepted on account of being too young. He subsequently enlisted—in the Summer of 1863—in the 55th Pa. State Militia, Co. A, for the three months' service. On Februarv 29, 1864, he enlisted in Co. K, 100th Vet. Pa. Vol. (Round Head), and participated in the following engagements, viz.: "The Wilderness," "Spottsylvania C. H., "North Ann River," "Cold Harbor," "17th of June, in front of Petersburg," "Springing of the Mine, same place," "Weldon railroad, August 19 and 21, 1864," "Poplar Grove Church, September 30 and October 2, 1864," "Hatch's Run," "Fort Steadman," and "Final Assault on Petersburg." He was the youngest and smallest man in the regiment, but carried the largest knapsack of all, and had the reputation of having greater powers of endurance than any other soldier in the regiment, and never lost a day's duty while in the, service. He was one of the coolest and bravest boys in the regiment, and on this account was frequently detailed on scouting service. At the battle of Fort Steadman he captured the first rebel prisoner taken there, and the exposure to which he was subjected may be estimated by the fact that his tent was found to contain fifty-two bullet holes in addition to a rent produced by a piece from a rebel shell. For the past eleven years he has been clerk under his brother Charles, in the New Castle office of the P. F. W. & C. railroad. On September 16, 1869, Mr. Sankey married Miss Eliza C. Reis, daughter of William Reis, of Pittsburgh, and has two daughters:
SARAH JANE, born May 18, 1872, and
MARY E., born May 3, 1876.
WILLIAM J. SANKEY, the fifth son, when a young man, took quite an extensive reconnoitering tour of two or three years, in the western country, visiting Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, etc. For some five years past he has been engaged in railroading under the jurisdiction of his brother Eben, at Salem, Mo., on the St. Louis, Salem and Little Rock railroad.
LAWRENCE SANKEY, the sixth son, is also in the employ of the P. F. W. & C. railroad.
Thus it will be seen that all of the six sons are engaged in the same business—railroading—a fact that is somewhat noticeable.
Mention has already been made of some of the industrial interests with which Major Sankey has been prominently identified. We will now call attention to some of the public improvements of New Castle with which he has been conspicuously connected. He is a man of decidedly progressive ideas, and has ever taken an earnest, active interest in all matter looking toward the improvement and up-building of the town. In his quiet, unostentatious way he has performed, perhaps, more service in this direction than any other man in the community. In 1838, Mr. Sankey was instrumental in bringing into being the New Castle Female Seminary, and he was one of the first trustees of this institution. In March, 1849, the bill for the erection of Lawrence county was passed in the Assembly, and a few days afterwards it passed the Senate. It was very largely owing to Major Sankey's earnest and untiring efforts that this measure was put on foot, and carried through, in the face of the most determined opposition from agencies employed in the local interests of what are now the neighboring counties of Mercer and Beaver. No man outside of the Legislature was more active in this work than he.
Mr. Sankey was also chiefly instrumental in procuring the passage of the act incorporating the "New Castle Gas Light Company" in 1856, and was a stockholder in the same, as also one of the incorporators. He was likewise one of the incorporators of the first banking house in the place, known as the "Bank of New Castle," and was one of the first stockholders.
In March, 1866, was passed the act incorporating the "New Castle Opera House Company," and the subject of this notice was one of the incorporators, and for several years a director.
It will thus be seen that he has been a leader in almost all of the important improvements of New Castle and vicinity, and, probably, no man can be found in the county who could so efficiently have served the community in these various departments of effort.
The Major is a man of more than ordinary talent, of great originality and powers of invention, of unusually clear discernment, and remarkable shrewdness, which elements, combined with an irrepressible will and energy, reveal the secret of his various successes. To these characteristics he super-adds a genial, social nature, and an unusually open-hearted benevolence. These qualities together with his polite and gentlemanly bearing, stand out in most prominent relief. He has reared a large and highly respectable family, six sons and four daughters; the sons all occupying positions of respectability and profit.
On the 11th of September, 1861, Mr. Sankey was called to mourn the loss of his wife by death. She ably filled her sphere in the domestic circle, was very firm, yet prudent and tender in the discipline of her children. She was very highly esteemed by all who knew her, for her many womanly virtues was most affectionately cherished as a wife and beloved as a mother; and the influence of her faithful training and Christian example has made itself perceptibly felt in the character of her children.
On October 15, 1862, Mr. Sankey married a second companion in the person of Mrs. R. A. Beeman, widow of Bethuel Beeman, of Youngstown, Ohio. Her maiden name was Rhoda Ann Powers, daughter, of Jacob Pow-[p. 107] ers, of Trumbull county, Ohio. Miss Powers was born in Youngstown November 19, 1824. By this marriage Mr. Sankey has had two sons:
J. POWERS, born January 7, 1865; and
CLINTON E., born April 17, 1867.
The present Mrs. Sankey is a lady of talent and culture. She is endowed with clear judgment and firm convictions, and is very efficient in the disharge of her responsibilities as wife and mother.
In politics, Mr. Sankey was formerly an old line whig, and is now a republican. His six sons by his first wife are also all republicans, and the whole family vote—seven ballots—was cast, in the late presidential election, for Governor Hayes—an act of which they all have ample reason to be justly proud.
This gentleman is the youngest son of Ezekiel Sankey, one of, the earliest pioneers to this section of the State, and was born in what is now Lawrence county, on the 10th of January, 1809. He was deprived of his father, by death, when he was only four years of age. At the age of fifteen he was apprenticed to Thomas Falls, in the tanning and currying trade, which be followed for, some six years, a part of which time he was in business for himself. In 1829, he embraced the Christian religion, and publicly consecrated himself to the cause of Christ, by uniting with the Methodist Episcopal church, in which he has long held a prominent membership.
On September 2, 1830, he was united in marriage with Miss Mary Leeper, daughter of John Leeper, of Lawrence county. Miss Leeper was born in this county July 17, 1811. This union has been blessed with the birth of seven sons and four daughters:
AN UNNAMED SON, born July 7, 1831; died July 14, 1831.
ROSANNA AMELIA, born August 29, 1832; married her cousin, Joseph D. Sankey; died April 4, 1859, leaving one daughter Eva May.
ANTHA ADALINE, born October 31, 1834.
RICHARD WATSON, born March 9, 1837; died of congestion of the brain June 22, 1846, aged nine years three months and thirteen days.
IRA DAVID, born August 28, 1840.
THERESA MEHALIA, born April 13, 1843; died May 31, 1868, aged twenty-five years one month and eighteen days.
RICHARD WATSON, JR. (with a twin brother), born February 4, 1845; (the twin brother died the same day.)
HORACE GREELEY, born July 27, 1847.
LEATHY JANE MARY, born June 19, 1849; died November 1, 1873, aged twenty-four years four months and twelve days.
EDWIN, born August 11, 1855; died November 11, 1864, aged nine years and three months.
Theresa M. married Dr. W. P. Book, of Lawrence county, and had two children:
JAMES EDWIN, born November 15, 1864; died June 22, 1867; and
THERESA MEHALIA, born May 31, 1868.
In 1833, Mr. Sankey's health failing, he discontinued business, and tried the experiment of teaching school on the stock of knowledge that he had gained from his own unaided efforts. The confinement of the school room, however, also proved injurious to his health, which was at that time quite feeble. He therefore withdrew himself from that work, and, after a year's rest, engaged in the carrying, forwarding and commission business on the Public Works of the State, in which, with the exception of some two years in the mercantile trade, he was employed till 1840. In the spring of this year, he was elected Justice of the Peace, and served nearly four years. He was also, at a later date, elected to the same office, and during his whole service as magistrate, he returned but two recognizances to court. It was his great aim to induce parties entering upon litigation to settle their disputes by an amicable compromise, and in most cases he was successful.
In the autumn of 1843, he was elected to a seat in the House of Representatives of the Pennsylvania Legislature, as a member from Mercer county. The Whig party, to which he belonged, was at that time in a minority of about two hundred and fifty, and there seemed to be no one of the party who was willing to enter the lists. Mr. Sankey was taken from his business and brought forward, without any solicitation of his own, and, notwithstanding his party's minority, carried the county by a respectable majority.
In the fall of 1844 he was returned, being the only whig nominee elected in the county.
In the autumn of 1847, he was elected to represent Mercer and Beaver counties in the State Senate, and served three years.
From Mr. Sankey's well known character as a temperance man and a Christian gentleman, it is needless to say that his elections to these positions [p. 168] of public trust never cost him a gill of whiskey, or any other instrumentality of doubtful morality. While serving his constituents, both as Representative and Senator, his course was marked by an impartiality and independence too seldom found in legislative halls. He yielded to no party dictation, when in his judgment the measures proposed would involve a compromise of right, or militate against the public good.
In the Senate session of 1850, for instance, as the journal of that year will show, he stood forth, singly and alone of all his party, in his opposition to the loose and corrupt system of State banking of that day; a system which all business men deplored, and which no man now defends, but which the whig party at that time advocated.
While a member of the Senate in 1849, Mr. Sankey was instrumental in securing the passage of the bill for the organization, of Lawrence county. This measure met with strenuous opposition from members representing, the local interests of what are now the adjoining counties of Mercer and Beaver. The territory now comprising Lawrence county, however, possessed (as the result has fully demonstrated), both resources and population, as well as facilities for trade and manufacture, sufficient not only to justify, but imperatively to demand such a measure. This fact Mr. Sankey plainly foresaw; and to his earliest efforts in this direction, the citizens of New Castle, as also those of the entire county, are largely indebted for that measure of prosperity which, in the past twenty-five years, they have been permitted to enjoy. At that time, the line separating Mercer and Beaver counties passed through the town of New Castle, and the erection of Lawrence county, with New Castle as the seat of justice, very materially contributed to the convenience of the people of the place in the transaction of their business. This measure had been agitated before Mr. Sankey was born, and had been urged at intervals, with more or less earnestness, for nearly fifty years; but it was reserved for the subject of this sketch, by his untiring and persevering efforts, to bring it to a victorious consummation.
But not only Lawrence county, but also the State of Pennsylvania has been laid under obligations to Mr. Sankey for his efficient and valuable services while in the Legislature. Of these may be instanced the course he pursued while a member of the "Senate Committee on Claims." These claims were at that time very numerous, and resulted from the construction of the various public works of the State. By an industrious and faithful examination of the records in the Auditor General's office, he discovered that many of the claims advanced had long since been fully settled; and by the unearthing of these facts, which, had it not been for his painstaking research, would probably never have been brought to light, he saved the Commonwealth from being defrauded of large sums of money. In most striking, but honorable contrast was this course, compared with that pursued by hundreds of other statesmen who have sought to increase their own pecuniary gains by means of bribery and fraud.
In 1851, he was a delegate from Mercer and Beaver counties on the State Board of Equalization, and succeeded in satisfying the board that the assesments of said counties were honestly made, and exhibited a gradual increase proportional to their respective increase in wealth and population.
In 1856, he was elected Treasurer of the Northwestern Railroad Company (of which he was for several years a Director), and served one year.
In 1857, he was made President of the "Bank of New Castle," which position he filled for two years.
In 1862, Mr. Sankey was appointed United States Collector of Internal Revenue for the 24th Congressional District of Pennsylvania, composed of the counties of Lawrence, Beaver, Washington and Green. The duties of this position. he ably and satisfactorily discharged till September, 1866, when he was relieved from further service in that department, for the reason that he declined to support "My Policy"—Andrew Johnson being President.
In 1867, he purchased the "Lawrence journal," and conducted it with great independence and ability until June 6, 1874. He then repaired to London, for the purpose of taking to their father two little boys of his son, Ira D. Sankey, who, upon his departure from America, in 1873, had left them in care of their friends. While in Europe, Mr. David Sankey visited the prominent places of interest in England, Scotland and Ireland. He was especially gratified in his visit to the home of Sir Walter Scott.
He returned to America in the following October, with his feeble health materially improved. Mr. Sankey never had the benefit of a collegiate course of study. The advantages of learning were in his early life exceedingly meager, and like thousands of other self-made men, he was compelled to seek his education by means of such appliances as he could bring to his aid by his own industry and perseverance. His was a matter-of-fact education, gathered from close observation and personal experience, coupled with his own study and reflection. The grand and comparatively perfected [p. 168] system of instruction enjoyed by the youth of the present day, is an inestimable blessing, but our finest schools and universities, with their convenient and extensive furnishings, can never impart to the mind that practicable discipline and power that is furnished by a contact of the world within us with the world without us. There is no royal road to knowledge, and necessity is the mother of invention. The self-made men of the world rule it. Mr. Sankey is a prominent example of this class. Endowed by nature with sound judgment, great caution, and remarkable shrewdness, as well as with great energy and perseverance, he has made a practical application of the maxim of HORACE: "Viam, aut inveniam, aut faciam;" " I will either find a way, or make one." Inspired with such a principle as this, no man, whatever be his sphere of life, can ever make a failure. In the position of teacher, and in that of a business man, as well as in numerous offices of public trust, Mr. Sankey has achieved a signal success. His influence and labors in the promotion of the cause of education have been very considerable. For quite a number of years he rendered valuable service as a Director of the public schools, and was prominently active in the introduction of the present admirable system of education in his immediate community.
In politics, Mr. Sankey adheres to the principles of republicanism, as understood and practiced by the immortal Lincoln. His position in this regard cannot, perhaps, be better defined than that of an American citizen and of a genuine philanthropist. It has ever been his aim to act upon principle, rather than in accordance with the claims of any party. The sublime and eternal principles of truth and justice, and the promotion of the public good, are the only points to which he gives a moment's consideration. Beside these, all party names and platforms sink into utter insignificance. It has long been his belief that the sooner the existing political parties are broken up, and a new departure in the path of genuine and moral reform inaugurated, the better for the country and the cause of universal progress. It is his profound conviction that the "moral element," as a controlling power in State and National legislation, is the only guaranty of the perpetuity of our free and republican institutions. "The price of liberty is eternal vigilance;" and equally true is it, that a regard for the laws of God and the rights of man, is the only basis upon which any nation can realize a permanent existence.
As a politician, Mr. Sankey's career has been an exceptionably [sic] creditable one, and has been characterized by high-toned honor and sterling integrity, while the ability and fidelity with which he has represented the various interests of his constituents, as well as those of the general public, have placed him in the front rank of patriots and philanthropists. But not alone in legislative halls, but also in the Christian church, he has been a bright and shining light, while his courteous dignity, urbane bearing, and generous sympathies characterize him as a thorough Christian gentleman.
Mrs. Sankey is a lady of many estimable qualities; quite domestic in her habits, and strong in her attachments to home. She has filled with signal efficiency and affection the sacred and responsible offices of wife and mother. "The mother moulds the man," and she is the mother of that "sweet singer of sacred songs," whose zelous, Christian labors have made the name of Sankey famous throughout the world; and in perfect keeping with a spirit of the most devout gratitude and holy pride, Mr. Sankey may say: "I would rather be the father of that boy, than the father of a President!"
*This sketch of Dr. Junkin has been compiled by the historian from "scrap-book" jottings of the Doctor's, made at various periods.
DR. JUNKIN was born in Springfield (now Findley) township, Mercer county, Pa., on the 8th day of January, 1808, in the large family mansion, still standing, at "Hope Mills." He was the youngest of fourteen children, of the same parents.
His father, Joseph Junkin, Esq., was born in Cumberland county, Pa., in January, 1750; his grandfather in county Down, Ireland. His father served three terms of voluntary enlistment in the Revolutionary army, and commanded a company at the battle of Brandywine, September 11, 1777, in which action he was seriously wounded.
The family was probably in its remotest ancestry Danish, but for many generations previous to the Revolution of 1688 had dwelt in Scotland. The Doctor's maternal grandmother was Scotch, of the name of Wallace; his mother, Elinor Cochran born in Franklin county, Pa. The Junkins came to Pennsylvania early in the eighteenth century, and the grandparents of the Doctor to Cumberland about 1740, before Harrisburg was a town, and when Cumberland was a wilderness. His grandfather owned five hundred acres of land, on a part of which New Kingston now stands. The large stone-house, which he built a century and a quarter ago, is still standing north of that village.
In 1806 the family removed to "Hope Farm," in Mercer county, where they built mills, and where the subject of this notice was born. He was the tenth son. He was educated at a school in Mercer, afterwards at the Mercer Academy. Then at the Milton Academy, under the celebrated teacher, Dr. Kirkpatrick, the teacher of Governors Curtin and Pollock, and other men who have risen to distinction in Church and State, and also in the medical profession.
After being prepared for the Junior class in college, young Junkin returned to Mercer, and entered upon the study of the law in the office of the late Judge Banks.
After prosecuting legal study for two years—commencing at the age of seventeen—he resolved to complete his collegiate education, and for a time became a teacher, first in Northumberland, and then in Centre county, Pa. He was said to be fond of the profession, and quite successful as an instructor. After teaching for some time he repaired to Jefferson College, Pa., where he graduated A. B., in 1831.
Whilst in college he united with the Presbyterian church, and turned his attention to the Christian ministry. In college his contemporaries and professors considered him somewhat remarkable as a youth of genial affections, kind and generous impulses and proficient as a writer. He once was "contestor" as essayist for his literary society, and won the "honor." After receiving the degree, in October, 1831, he repaired to Philadelphia, and spent the Winter of 1831-2 as a professor in the Pennsylvania "Manual Labor Academy," at Germantown. In May, 1832, he entered the Theological seminary at Princeton, New Jersey, from which he graduated in the Fall of 1834. He had been, in October, 1833, licensed by the Presbytery of Philadelphia to preach the Gospel, and, soon after leaving the seminary, he was called to the pastorate of the First Presbyterian Church of Greenwich, New Jersey, and was ordained the pastor of it in the following Spring. In that pastorate he continued for nearly seventeen years, until he was called to F Street Church (now New York Avenue) Washington city, D. C.
Meanwhile, during his pastorate at Greenwich, which is just across the Delaware river from Easton, Pa.—the seat of Lafayette College—he was elected Professor of Belles Lettres by the trustees of that institution, and discharged the duties of that chair acceptably for seven years, until the increasing demands of his pastorate constrained him to resign. In 1834 he received from his alma mater the degree of A. M.
In 1845 he published, from the press of Wylie & Putnam, New York, the first edition of his work, entitled "The Oath, an Ordinance of God, and an Element of the Social Constitution," which was highly commended by the press and the reviewers, and is quoted as standard on that subject. Shortly after this publication, the Columbia College, in the city of New York, conferred upon Mr. Junkin the degree of Doctor of Divinity.
After a very pleasant and successful pastorate of sixteen and a-half years at Greenwich, Dr. Junkin was called simultaneously to the pastoral office of the First Presbyterian Church at Chambersburg, Pa., and that of F Street, Washington City.
Personally he is said to have preferred the former, but, under advice of his Presbytery, accepted the latter.
In Washington he was the instrument, under God, of building up a strong church out of a weak one; and he there endeared himself, as he had done at Greenwich, to the people of his charge and to a large circle of other friends.
Some of the first minds in the country there sat under his ministry and appreciate it—such as Professor Joseph Henry, Governor McDowell, of Virginia, Gen. J. M. McCalla, the late Col. Nourse (the last two elders of the church), James Buchanan and others.
Whilst at Washington, Dr. Junkin made the acquaintance of the prominent men of the nation. At that time Webster, Clay, Benton, Calhoun, Graham, Cass, Fish, Filmore and men of like stamp in civil life, and Gen. Winfield Scott, Towson, Riley, Jessup and such soldiers were about the capital city. In October, 1853, Dr. Junkin accepted a unanimous call to Hollidaysburg, in his native State, and spent six and a-half years of a pleasant, laborious and profitable pastorate in that fine town and picturesque, locality.
His health being somewhat impaired, and needing rest from severe ministerial toil, he accepted the appointment of chaplain in the United States Navy, unexpectedly tendered him by his old friend, the President of the [p. 169] United States, and entered upon the duties of that office at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in May, 1860. On the lst of January, 1861, under orders to that station, he entered upon duty as Chaplain of the United States Naval Academy, at Annapolis, Maryland. This was a very interesting field of labor, as his congregation was composed of the officers of the Academy and the midshipmen, some two hundred in number.
Captain, now Commodore Blake, was superintendent of the institution, and the Rodgers brothers were there, the one, Captain C. P. R. Rodgers (now Commodore), was Commandant of Midshipmen, and Lieutenant Geo. Rodgers in charge of the school-ship. This school-ship was the good old historical frigate, Constitution—"Old Iron-Sides"—the conqueror of the "Guerriere."
During that Winter, Dr. Junkin preached regularly on board that frigate, and in the Academy chapel on shore, and made many pleasant acquaintances in city and naval circles.
But the mutterings of the civil war began to be heard, and after the assault on Fort Sumter there was a rush to arms, and troops began to hurry to Washington.
On the 18th of April Dr. Junkin went, via Baltimore and York, Pa., to Philadelphia, arriving in the latter city on the evening of the 19th. As he alighted from the cars, S. Bolivar Rowe approached him, asking in an excited manner: "Doctor, have you heard the news of the riot in Baltimore, and the burning of the bridge?" "Yes," replied the doctor, "and it is startling news." Said Rowe, "Gov. Curtin has just arrived from Harrisburg to try and forward troops to Washington, but they know not how to do it; two regiments that left this morning have returned—can't get through Baltimore—and the authorities here are afraid that the rebels will take Washington before troops can be sent forward!" "Where is Gov. Curtin?" asked Junkin. "At the Continental." "Well," said the Doctor, "let us go thither forthwith and I can direct them how to forward troops." They went to the hotel, but found that Gov. Curtin had gone up to the house of Gen. Patterson, in Locust street. Thither they hastened—rang the bell, and asked to see Gov. Curtin: "Can't be seen, he is engaged with some officers in the General's office," said the porter. "Go tell Gov. Curtin," said the Doctor, decisively, "that Dr. Junkin, of the United States Navy, must see him instantly on important public business." This message brought the Governor to the parlor, where the following dialogue ensued:
"I understand, Governor, that you are at fault how to forward troops to Washington."
Curtin replied, "Yes, Doctor, we know not what to do; we have plenty of troops here, but know not how to get them forward in season." "It is to make a suggestion on that subject that I am come." "You are acquainted about Baltimore, Doctor; can you tell me whether there is any road, say from ten to twelve miles north of Baltimore, on the Northern Central, by which troops can be moved across to the Relay House?"
"None, Governor; the roads all radiate from the city, but I have a better suggestion. I live at Annapolis, Maryland; the government has twenty-five acres of land and two good wharves at which to land troops and supplies at the Naval Academy, and I suggest that you at once charter or seize steamers and send troops to Annapolis. Keep the road from here to Perryville open by military guard, and you have a thoroughfare to Washington." "But is there a railroad from Annapolis to Washington?" "A good single-track road to the junction, and double-track from thence to the city." "That is the very thing," said the Governor, "and I most heartily thank you for the suggestion."
Dr. J. took his leave. The Governor returned to General Patterson's office and reported the suggestion to the officers there assembled; and, as Governor Curtin afterwards said, "They all started to their feet exultingly." Colonel Sherman exclaimed, "That is the very thing!" So said they all, and with that energy which marked the Governor's conduct all through the war, he, General Patterson, and the officers present, at once hastened to put the suggestion in process of execution that very night.
Before morning the Massachusetts Eighth and the New York Seventh were en route; others followed. Annapolis was made the base of supplies, and the advance regiments marched into Washington just in season to deter the rebels from an assault contemplated the very night of their entrance.
It is true that General B. F. Butler has claimed the honor of making Annapolis a strategic point, but it rightfully belongs (Governor Curtin and General Patterson, and others have testified,) to the subject of this sketch.
In a speech made in New Castle in 1876, Governor Curtin publicly stated the above facts; (Dr. Junkin was absent from the city at the time). On his return to Annapolis, on Tuesday, April 23, Dr. Junkin was the instrument, by his self-possession and the risk of his own life, of preventing frightful destruction of life on Chesapeake Bay, opposite Annapolis. He was descending the bay in the large steam tug "Superior," with fifty sailors and about three hundred Montgomery county volunteers. They were approaching the frigate "Constitution," which had been hauled out for safety into the bay. The officers of the ship mistook the "Superior" for a hostile craft coming to take the frigate with armed men, two guns being also mounted at the bows of the tug, and no colors flying. They hailed, but could not hear the reply, and trained the ship's broadside upon the thronged deck of the steamer.
"Come one rod nearer and I will blow you out of the water!" shouted Captain George Rodgers through his speaking-trumpet. Dr. Junkin had sprung upon one of the guns of the tug, where he waved a white handkerchief, and cried, "We are friends! we are friends!" but the wind was in his eye, and his voice not heard in the excitement of the moment. Still he cried, "I'm your chaplain! Do you think I would be in bad company?" Still he was unheard, though the vessels were now not two hundred feet apart. The word "fire!" was just about being given, when a midshipman rushed up to Captain Rodgers, exclaiming, "Captain, that man standing on, the Dahlgren gun is Dr. Junkin, our chaplain." Then Rodgers recognized his chaplain, and the danger was over. Many lives would have been sacrificed but for his presence and exertions.
The Naval Academy was soon after ordered to Newport, Rhode Island, and the entire institution, officers, midshipman, and the whole personnel, with library, apparatus, &c., were transported on the ocean steamer "Baltic" to that city, landing at Fort Adams. Dr. Junkin continued to act as chaplain of the Academy until June, 1862, when he received orders to the receiving-ship "North Carolina" and the navy-yard at Brooklyn. He continued on duty there until September, when he was ordered to sea on the United States steam-frigate, "Colorado." He joined his ship a Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and sailed in her first to Hampton Roads, Virginia, where she lay a month on guard-duty, and then proceeded to the West Indies and Key West, thence to the mouth of Mobile bay, opposite Fort, Morgan.
There the ship lay on blockade-duty for a year. But the Doctor's health broke down, and the surgeons and Admiral Farragut advised him to take a month's sick leave and go North. The Admiral, with whom he was on friendly terms, gave him leave-of-absence, and he returned to Brooklyn on board the steamer of that name. Just before he left the "Colorado," his son William, paymaster in the navy, came on board, on his way from New Orleans to rejoin his ship, the "Potomac," then lying at Pensacola, Florida. He had been to New Orleans for funds, of which he was bearing a large sum. That was the last interview between father and son in this life. A few weeks after his father sailed for the North, the son was cut down by yellow-fever in his twenty-second year. Dr. Junkin came to New Orleans in company with Admiral Farragut, and thence to New York. Whilst in the Gulf of Mexico he did a large amount of work, as he was the only chaplain in the East Gulf squadron.
He not only served in his own ship, but often conducted service and visited the sick: and wounded on other vessels. He instituted on his ship a school for the instruction of "contrabands," some sixty of whom were on board, but he had to teach it himself, as no others were willing, although there were many professed friends of the negro on board quite competent to teach if willing.
Pages upon pages might be filled with thrilling incidents connected with this part of Dr. Junkin's life, both on sea and on shore, but the plan of this work will not admit of the detail. He kept a private "log" from which many extracts might be made. His exposure at sea and in a malarious climate—for the yellow fever was rife that year and was on the "Colorado"—had so sensibly impaired his health that he did not return to the Gulf of Mexico. Rheumatism set in and assumed a chronic form, from which he is still a sufferer. In consequence of this, after trying various methods of relief, he resigned his commission in the Navy and accepted a call to the North Presbyterian Church, in Chicago, hoping that a removal from the seaboard might result in the restoration of his health.
He served that church effectively for some two years, but instead of improving, his health grew worse under the moist and rigorous climate of that city, and he was constrained, with great reluctance, to resign his charge, which was so pleasant as a field of labor, and in which success seemed crowning his exertions.
He had received a unanimous call to the First Presbyterian Church of New Castle, Pa., in the Spring of 1866, and though still much disabled by rheumatism, he hoped that a return to his native air might be beneficial, and accordingly he accepted the call, and entered upon his duties in May, [p. 170] 1866. Since that date he has continued, amid much pain of body and other trials, a busy life as a Christian pastor. Although a sufferer, and hinder by bodily infirmity, his labors have been manifold, and have not been without tokens of God's blessing upon them.
As might be expected in the case of a man of Dr. Junkin's pronounced opinions and firm adherence to them, he has sometimes aroused opposition to his principles and person; but he is not a man who quails before opposition, if he is convinced that it proceeds from wrong principles or motives. People of integrity, it is believed, confide in him as a man of great kindness of heart and unswerving integrity, whilst those who differ with him in opinion, on temperance and other branches of moral reform in which he has been forward and firm, are apt to be severe and sometimes sour in their criticisms.
It is believed by all candid people, however, that his influence in New Castle has been always on the side of right, and that those who gainsay his course are no better members of the community, to say the least, than those who are his warm admirers and adherents. He is still enjoying, amid all his bodily infirmities, a green, active and cheerful old age.
Dr. Junkin has been a prolific writer. In addition to works already mentioned, he published, in 1857, his work entitled "THE GOOD STEWARD; or Evangelical Benevolence an Essential Element of Christianity," which was published by the Presbyterian Board, and a second edition of his work on the "Oath" was issued about the same time, by the Martiens, of Philadelphia. In 1871, he published through the Lippincotts, of Philadelphia, his most extensive work, entitled, "GEORGE JUNKIN, D.D., L.L.D.A. A HISTORICAL BIOGRAPHY," which contains not only the life of his brother, but a lucid history of the Presbyterian Church for the last half century. These works have had extensive sale.
Besides these, Dr. Junkin has given to the press many addresses, sermons and shorter publications, both in prose and verse, and has been one of the most voluminous writers for the periodical press.
For many years, including before and after the war, he wrote for the Presbyrian of Philadelphia, over the signature of "NESHANNOCK," and his writings, whether narrative, descriptive or controversial, were always read with avidity.'
The Doctor also wrote a biography of General Towson, one of the heroes of the War of 1812, which was published in New York in 1852.
This gentleman has, for upwards of thirty years, been prominently identified with the interests of Lawrence county. His parents, David L. Browne and Sarah Miller, were born in Northern Ireland; the former in 1793, and the latter in 1794, and embarked with their respective families for America upon the opening of the war of 1812, but did not reach this country for three years, as the following statement will explain: The vessel was an American one—the WILLIAM P. JOHNSON, and the Captain having received private information that war had been declared, stealthily slipped out of port at Londonderry, and hastened to his own country. He was captured on the banks of Newfoundland by the British frigate, BELLEROPHON. The active young men of the passengers of the American vessel were impressed as sailors, including Mr. Browne's father. He carried his flute and book of navigation with him to the frigate, where he was enrolled as seaman before the mast. The British vessel was cruising around in search of the Essex, under Commodore Porter, then playing havoc on the British commerce. In a short time, however, the vessel had a full roll of seamen, and these young Irishmen were sent ashore and were detained with their fellow passengers in Newfoundland till the close of the war—a period of three years—when they were able to come to the United States.
Mr. Browne and Miss Miller were married in Washington, Pa., and shortly afterwards became residents of Pittsburgh, where, for many years, Mr. Browne, an intelligent and educated gentleman, occupied positions, first in the United States Branch Bank, and subsequently in the Merchants' and Manufacturers' Bank.
The family consisted of six sons and three daughters. One daughter only survives, who is the wife of Amos Finkbine, Esq., now of Winchester, Va. Two sons only survive. The eldest of the family, James M. Browne, Esq., has long been a book-keeper in the Exchange Bank, of Pittsburgh.
The subject of this sketch is the third son. He was born in Steubenville, Ohio, where the family were temporarily residing, on December 3, 1821. He was reared in Pittsburgh, and graduated with honor from the Western University there, in 1840, at the age of nineteen. His preceptors in the University were the admirable scholar, Dr. Robert Bruce, President, and the since distinguished men, Hon. Thos. Mellon, Judge of the Allegheny county court, and Rev. Alexander Young, D.D., LL.D., late of Monmouth College, Illinois, now Professor in the Theological Seminary in Allegheny. He was brought up in the first Associate Reformed (now Second United Presbyterian) Church, in which his father was a ruling elder, and, after the completion of his University course, entered the Theological Seminary of this denomination in Allegheny, where he was under the training of the venerable John T. Pressly, D.D., and the refined gentleman and scholar Rev. J. L. Dinwiddie, D.D. Being a devoted student, he stood high in his classes and secured and afterwards maintained life long relations of the most cordial nature with these eminent men. In 1866 his Alma Mater conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Divinity.
At the age of twenty-one he was licensed to preach, and at twenty-three ordained to the Gospel Ministry. After a brief period as stated supply or Pastor pro tem. in the Second Associate Reformed (now Third United Presbyterian) Church of Pittsburgh, where he rendered material service in the rebuilding of the church edifice, which was destroyed by fire in 1845, Mr. Browne became Pastor of the churches of Eastbrook and Shenango, in Lawrence county. This was in 1846. In 1850, he was installed pastor of United Presbyterian Church of New Castle, then a new and feeble interest, the organization of which he was largely instrumental in effecting. The church now enrolls upwards of three hundred members. His relations as pastor continued during his two years and four months absence as chaplain in the Union army, and part of his term, later, in the Senate, being severed only in 1867, when he accepted the position of President of Westminster College.
On September 3, 1846, Mr. Browne was married to Miss Mary, eldest daughter of William Eichbaum, an early settler and leading business man of Pittsburgh, and whose history is inseparably blended with that of the development and growth of that thriving city.
Dr. Browne has had a family of five sons and two daughters, three of the former now deceased. The oldest son, William E. Browne, is an energetic business man of Mercer, Pa., and belongs to the hardware firm of Browne and Logan.
The second son, David L. Browne, died November 21, 1876, at the age of twenty-six. He was educated principally at Westminster College. He was a young man of rare intellectual endowments, and possessed great powers of intuition and a highly analytical mind, combined with rare habits of investigation. His chosen profession, in which he was very enthusiastic, was that of Apiarian, to which the necessities of his health, requiring outdoor life, seemed to compel him. In this he became very proficient, and had before him a future large with promise in this most interesting and important department of scientific research, as well as kindred fields of professional life.
Dr. Browne has for many years been prominent, not only in church and educational interests, but also in the political world. He is one of those decided, independent and thoroughly conscientious men, who believe, not in carrying politics into religion, but in carrying religion, not into politics only, but into all the everyday affairs of life.
His participation in political agitations, in the first instance, grew out of his deep convictions, early formed, of duty to the slave. When the Fugitive Slave Bill became a law, he denounced that measure, in the pulpit and elsewhere. He felt that the irrepressible conflict between the antagonistic interests of freedom and slavery had even then commenced. He felt this yet more when, at a later date, the repeat of the Missouri Compromise brought on the struggle in Kansas; and, following his convictions, he called and addressed meetings, and urged the sending of aid including Sharp's rifles, to the brave Free State settlers. The next year, 1856, came the Fremont campaign, and he threw himself into it, and at conventions and in churches and school houses, spoke ably for freedom in his own and adjoining counties, accepting freely the responsibility and odium attached to his conduct. The prominent secular leaders of the reform declared no services were more efficient than his.
After this campaign the republican party had plenty of leaders, and he was not needed till the first shot was fired on Fort Sumter, in April, 1861. He then came forward promptly, and by speeches, sermons and prayers became one of the foremost exponents of the ardent and intelligent loyalty of his county, assisting in the raising of troops and the uniting of parties in defence of the old flag. When the 100th regiment, known as the Pennsylvania "Roundheads," was organized, he was nominated to the chaplaincy, and promptly accepted the position, his patriotic congregation voting him a leave of absence, and afterward extended it to two years and four months, [p. 171] till he could be spared from the army. He represented a class of men true to the Scottish Covenanter endurance and the courage of Cromwell's Roundheads—a noble set of men.
Mr. Browne's influence fitted him specially for the recruiting service, and he was accordingly detailed for that purpose. But as soon as his regiment was ordered into active service, he joined it without waiting for orders, sharing thereafter, of choice, in all its hardships and perils, by land and sea, march and battle fields, during the Hilton Head, Beaufort, and James Island occupation and battles, and the Pope campaign, with its painful results. His presence and services had an elevating effect on the command. Officers and men recognized his steady discharge of duty on the battle-field, or in the services of religion each evening, when the regimental psalm of praise rose over camp or bivouac, and as was frequently the case floated into the rebel lines. They had jokes pointed with reference to the chaplain's bravery, and reminiscences of his coolness. Some of them remembered, for instance, how brave it made them feel to hear him say, "Boys, trust God, and keep your powder dry!" amidst the heavy fall of rain, with thunder and lightning, and rebel bullets whizzing above their heads, with which the battle of Chantilly opened.
At the termination of this action, the closing one of the Second Bull Run campaign, Mr. Browne voluntarily remained with the wounded, to render them attention, thus subjecting himself to capture by the rebel troops. From this captivity he returned to his regiment in time to be present at the battle of Antietam. Afterward with his regement [sic] and the 9th corps, to which he was then attached, he participated in the battles of Fredericksburg, in the clearing of Kentucky of guerrillas, in the campaign of Mississippi, assisting in the reduction of Vicksburg and the second capture of Jackson, and then in East Tennessee in the fierce assault and bloody repulse of Longstreet at Knoxville.
The backbone of the rebellion was now broken, and Mr. Browne resigned and returned home to his pastoral duties, carrying with him, however, the effect of hard service and of southern malaria, as shown by several severe attacks of illness since.
Soon after he was out of the service he was earnestly urged for the use of his name for the State Senate. Though surprised at the request, after some deliberation he consented, and received the unanimous vote of the republicans of his county, and was nominated in the district and was elected. In the Senate his position was never a doubtful one. Whenever honor and popular rights, as against the exactions of monopolies, or the cause of order and good morals were involved, his advocacy could always be counted on. The question of giving the ballot to the newly emancipated colored population arose during his first session in the Senate (1866) and that measure received his ardent support, though there were then many conservatives even among the republicans. Hence he was glad to have a chance to vote for the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, as a measure of justice and wisdom, but he pointed out the defect in the second Section, giving States the right to grant or withhold the ballot, and accompanied his vote with a declaration of those views which were afterwards embodied in the Fifteenth Amendment.
In these measures Senator Browne was among the foremost advocates of reform. As such he had the rare satisfaction to see the country compel cautious leaders either to get out of the way, or adopt principles pioneered for them by those who had more faith in God and man.
In 1867 Dr. Browne accepted the presidency of Westminster College, a position he retained till 1870. In 1873 he resumed charge of his old congregation, a large and influential one, which he still serves.
In 1875, Dr. Browne was brought forward as the nominee of the Prohibition party of Pennsylvania for Governor. His letter of acceptance is full of "Thoughts that breathe and words that burn." Among other things he says:
"I am happy to be a public representative of the deep moral and religious convictions of thousands of the purest citizens of the commonwealth, who are painfully impressed with the need of a general reform in politics and deliverance from the rule of unscrupulous party leaders, and who now feel this need with new force, since the rights of the people have been recklessly sacrificed by these leaders to the demands of the liquor traffic. These party leaders are upon one side and conscience upon the other, and the contest between them is the pressing issue of the times. The position assigned me in the contest is one I could not have sought; yet it is one from which when thus assigned I cannot shrink. The cause is unmistakably God's; his providence works out the way, and men are of small account, except as instruments to do his will and accomplish his work.
"Our party represents the spirit of reform demanded by the times. It is no artificial production of political chicanery, but a creation of God and an outgrowth of the convictions of a great Christian people who will never cease their protest at the ballot-box while the cause of God and humanity requires it."
In figure, Mr. Browne is tall and slender, and of commanding personal appearance. His habits of thought and study have made him a ripe scholar, and he is a vigorous writer and an impressive, eloquent speaker. He is in the prime of ripe manhood, and possessed of a rich and varied experience, gathered from the pulpit, the army and the Senate. He has been a lifelong man of unquestioned honor and purity.
This gentleman is the present representative from Lawrence county in the Lower House of the Pennsylvania Legislature. He is the second son of the late George Cheesman Morgan, of New Castle, and was born in Pittsburgh, January 19, 1832. His education was obtained in the common schools and academies of his native city and of New Castle. For a number of years be was engaged as clerk in his father's store in the latter place.
In 1854 and 1855, he studied dentistry with Dr. John A. Scroggs, of New Castle, and began the practice of this profession, in partnership with Dr. Isaiah White, of the same place, in 1856. About six years later he bought out his partner.
In 1871 and 1872, Dr. Morgan was secretary of the county Republican executive committee.
In the fall of 1872, he received quite a respectable vote from the republican party as nominee for the State Assembly, but was defeated by Hon. G. W. McCracken. In the autumn of 1873, Dr. Morgan was elected on the republican ticket a member of the Assembly for the session of 1874. Was re-elected in the fall of 1874 for the sessions of 1875 and 1876, and in the fall of 1876 for the years 1877 and 1878.
During the time he has occupied a seat in the House, Dr. Morgan has been a very active worker. In the session of 1874, he served on the committees on Railroads, Education, Agriculture, Banks, and the Bureau of Statistics. In the sessions of 1875 and 1876, on the committees of Ways and Means, Elections, the Judiciary, Railroads, and Banks. For the sessions of 1877 and 1878, he is a member of the committees on Constitutional Reform, Railroads, Appropriations, and on Vice and Immorality; and is also chairman of the committee on Federal Relations.
In 1874, the House was republican; in 1875-1876, democratic, and for 1877-1878, republican.
Upon the organization of the present House in January last, Dr. Morgan was brought out by his friends in the western part of the State as candidate for Speaker, and, in the preliminary caucus, held for a time the balance of power between Hons. Henry Huhn, of Philadelphia, and E. Reed Meyer, of Bradford. Before the general caucus, however, Mr. Morgan withdrew, and gave his support to Meyer, who was elected.
For a number of years Dr. Morgan has been prominently connected with the Masonic fraternity, and was four times elected W. M. of Mahoning Lodge, No. 243, A. Y. M. He has also ever taken an active, leading interest in educational matters.
As a member of the Assembly, Dr. Morgan has proved to be one of the most efficient and reliable representatives ever sent from Lawrence county, and by his manly dignity, courteous bearing, untiring industry and inflexible honesty, has won golden opinions alike from friends and foes. Subsequent to his first nomination for Assembly, the New Castle Courant thus speaks of him:
"Dr. E. S. N. Morgan, the nominee for Assembly, was raised in this place. He is eminently one of the people of Lawrence county, and here, where he is best known, is most highly respected.
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"We have known him for seventeen years—much of the time intimately—and he has always borne a spotless character for morality, integrity and temperance. He is allied to no clique, but stood the canvass on his merit; so that when he goes to Harrisburg he will not be owned by a ring, or under obligations to do the bidding of a few to the detriment of the interests of the many. We know him well enough to risk the statement in advance, that all his energies as an officer will be devoted to the service of his con-[p. 172] stituents. He is a man of good ability, untiring industry, and inflexible honesty.
How completely this prophecy has been fulfilled is a matter of record, which is most gratifying to his numerous friends.
In the Pittsburgh Daily Commercial of March 9, 1874, appeared the following:
"In the debate which occurred in the House of Representatives, at Harrisburg, on Friday last, on the Judicial Apportionment bill, we are pleased to note that Dr. E. S. N. Morgan, a former Pittsburgher, who now most ably represents our neighboring county of Lawrence in that body, took a creditable and prominent part. The Doctor is not what is styled a talking member, but his numerous friends in this city and elsewhere will be gratified to know that he is regarded as something much better—an intelligent, industrious painstaking representative, who, while averse to speech-making on every available opportunity, has the ability, when occasion requires, to make a clear sensible and pointed address. If there were more men like Dr. Morgan in the Legislature, it would be better for the State."
The Harrisburg Telegraph of October 29, 1874, said:
"The republicans of Lawrence county have shown excellent judgment in their nomination of Dr. E. S. N. Morgan for the Lower House of the Legislature. He came here last year, a young man without legislative experience, but in a short time his ability placed him in the front rank of the younger members. Always at his post, and voting intelligently upon every subject, he showed himself a good legislator and an unswerving republican. Honest and fair, he made hosts of friends, and held them by his uniform frankness and courtesy. His sterling integrity and unwearied diligence in behalf of his constituents placed him high in their esteem, and caused his renomination by a much larger vote than any other candidate received at the nominating election. * * * He is regarded here as a promising and rising republican law-maker. * * * So long as the republicans of Lawrence county send such material to the State capital, they will be well, earnestly and honestly represented."
The Pittsburgh Daily Gazette of June 3, 1874, among other things, said:
"We believe we but express the opinion of the best men of both parties, when we say that Lawrence county never had a more efficient and accommodating member than Mr. Morgan."
The Public Spirit of New Castle, an independent paper, of November 18, 1876, advocating Mr. Morgan's merits for the speakership, said:
"In the session of 1876, Mr. Morgan moved the amendment to the Judges' Salary Bill, cutting down the salaries, made a strong fight for the said amendment, and it carried by a large majority. He advocated the repeal of the Occupation Tax Law, in the interest of the laboring man. He took an active and leading part in having the bill dividing cities into five classes passed, thus relieving small cities, New Castle among the rest, from the operation of laws passed for the government of large ones.
"He made a warm, able and effective defense of the Sabbath laws of the State. The various benevolent and charitable societies of the commonwealth are largely indebted to him for an important amendment to the Insurance bill passed last winter, by which their interests were very materially conserved."
Though Dr. Morgan has been prominently active in many very important measures that have been before the House, his crowning effort was the position he took against the repeal of the Local Option Law. We quote from his speech on the floor of the House in the session of 1874. It was a most masterly effort, brimful of sterling, unanswerable argument, and justly won for him the reputation of being "one of the ablest champions of the temperance cause in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania." In view of the present deep and widespread interest in this moral reform, the following extracts will be read with more than usual interest.
Among many other excellent things, Mr. Morgan said:
"It is again claimed by the friends of this repeal, that in consequence of no license in some districts, a large amount of revenue is lost to the commonwealth. I do not propose, sir, at this time to argue this phase of the question, for I believe, sir, that in a few years Pennsylvania will blush to remember that revenue was ever derived from such a source. I will merely state that in Pennsylvania there is a criminal and pauper population of about twenty-five thousand, most of whom have been brought to degradation and want by intemperance. The revenue of the commonwealth derived from liquor licenses is about four hundred and thirty thousand dollars, while the annual cost to the people of the State for supporting criminals and paupers, made such by intemperance, is about two million five hundred and twenty thousand dollars! Sir, the people understand the arithmetic of this question—they have the figures and are ready to strike the balance.
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"I firmly believe, Mr. Speaker, that the Local Option Law is in strict accordance with the spirit and letter of our National, and State constitutions; and, sir, if there is any one right more dear to the American heart than any other: if there is any one thing upon which the integrity and perpetuity of our free institutions depend more than any other, it is the God-given right of local self-government."
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"Sir, this is the true, the democratic, the American theory of government."
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"Leave this question, license or no license, with the people, where it properly belongs; if the "Local Option Law" is unjust, uwise, or a failure, the people will, in due time, rectify the wrong. Leave it to the people; do not break truce or violate solemn treaty. Is it fair, is it manly to attempt to do so? Leave it to the people; great interests hang upon the result, the welfare of our beloved land is materially involved. Leave it to the people; they understand the question; they love our free institutions; our rights and liberties are safe in their hands.
* * * * *
"I do not claim to be more sympathetic than other men, and I can stand, I suppose, as well as the friends of this bill, to see men degraded, ruined, lost; and women miserable and broken-hearted; but when I allow myself to think of the resultant suffering of innocent, helpless children, I must confess, sir, that it moves me to contemplate the scene. Many of us, as we turn away from these halls toward our homes, our hearts overflowing with thoughts of love and dear ones, impatient of delay, we press forward and perchance reach forth our arms as though we would annihilate time and space, and anticipate the longed-for embrace of wife and children—could we with the arms of our light-hearted boy clasped around our neck, feel reconciled to the thought that we had here to day, by our vote, increased that boy's chance for a drunkard's grave? Can we, realizing in advance our gentle, loving, little daughters, rejoicing in our return, and clasping us with fond arms and nestling on our bosom, can we, in anticipation of such a greeting as this, say deliberately by our votes this day, that we are willing to increase that daughter's chances of becoming a drunkard's wife? Let us for one moment part the veil of the future—see that loved daughter going forth into the winter's cold, delicately reared and cared for in childhood; oh yes, and now hunting daily work for daily bread, too thinly clad to resist the winter storm, making vain efforts to quiet trembling flesh and check unbidden tear—follow her to her home, wearied and disheartened with the labors of the day—see her cower in fear at the coming of one who should be the first to cherish and protect. See her timidly approach with gentle voice and word, to be received with a scowl, a curse, and yes, oh God! with a blow, and we, fathers, and we mouldering in our graves and not there to protect her. God help us to meet aright the solemn responsibilities of this hour."
In the session of 1875, the Local Option Law was repealed. Mr. Morgan again most earnestly and ably opposed the repeal. We had intended to make some extracts from his speech on the occasion, but it is all so excellent that we give it entire, feeling that in so doing we not only serve the cause of a great moral reform, but also place upon a permanent record in Lawrence county, sentiments noble and pure, which will find an echo in the heart of every lover of humanity.
Mr. Morgan said:
"Mr. Speaker, the Local Option Law provides that upon the third Friday of March, 1873, and at the annual municipal elections every third year thereafter, the question, license or no license, shall be submitted to the people. Each locality to be governed by a majority vote of its own citizens—and why not, Mr. Speaker—and why not thus submit this question—to what higher court would you appeal it? Since when, sir, has the will of the people ceased to be the law of the land? No one will deny the right of the counties, townships and boroughs of this commonwealth to assess their own local taxes; expend their own money; make their own by-laws, and regulate their own affairs. And, sir, this question of license or no license is a question of finance as well as a question of morals. Every grand jury throughout the State is reiterating the fact that a large majority of all the cases brought before our courts have been instigated directly by the sale and use of intoxicating drinks. Ninety-six in each one hundred of sixteen hundred cases of violation of law brought before a recent grand jury of Allegheny county have been traced directly to the sale and use of intoxi-[p. 173] cating drinks. This question of license or no license, sir, is a question of taxes, and of the expenditure of the people's money. It is a question profit and loss, and already has the account been rendered, the balance ascertained and the licensing of liquor selling, as a source of revenue, as a financial measure, proven to be a most disastrous failure. Not one-tenth of the expense caused the State by the sale and use of intoxicating drinks is returnable to her treasury in the shape of license fees.
"Again, sir, what is there so very obnoxious in the fact, that the people for whom and in whose interest some of us in our simplicity had supposed this government was formed and perpetuated—what is there so obnoxious in the fact that the people are to pass upon this question, which causes such undue haste on the part of the friends of this repeal, and renders the liquor interest of the state unwilling to await the decision of the people? Are you afraid of the verdict, gentlemen? If not, and if you are acting in good faith in this matter, why did you not incorporate in you [sic] bill a provision, submitting your case to a decision of the people at the February elections just passed? Gentlemen, instead of such procedure you are attempting to evade—we might as well use plain English—you are attempting to evade the will of the people, and you come here and with brazen impudence ask this Legislature to repeal a law which has been passed upon by and stamped with the approval of the people.
"Mr. Speaker, it is charged up and down the length and breadth of the land that the democratic party, as a party, is pledged to the repeal of the Local Option Law. I cannot understand, Sir, the policy of making this a party question, and I do know that in the western part of the State, there are many good men and true members of the democratic party who will not endorse any such action, but it is crrently reported that you, the leaders, are committed to this repeal. Be that as it may, my democratic friends, you have been called, through a mysterious dispensation of Divine Providence, to places of power and responsibility in this House. You hold a majority in this House to-night, and you are responsible before God and your country for its action. Are you in such haste to make a record upon this question that you are unwilling to wait one poor twelve-month, in deference to the expressed will of the people? Do you intend to begin your career, if such it may prove to be, by bowing humbly to the liquor interest in the present as you did to the slave oligarchy in the past? Do reverence with you knee, and cry, 'Great is Diana of the Ephesians?' Are you in haste to justify the classic language of your late national standard bearer, "that democracy, pure and undefiled, is to love rum as well as to hate niggers?" Mr. Speaker and gentlemen, I feel sensibly that you are tired of this whole subject, and that discussion perhaps is fruitless, but, sir, as it has been thrust upon us, it will assert its importance, and 'will not down at our bidding.' I am satisfied, Mr. Speaker, that the people of this State have determined to investigate this question, and to examine the relation sustained by the manufacture and sale of intoxicating drinks to the welfare and well being of the people, and having begun their work in earnest, it does not require a gift of prophecy to foretell the issue. Sincere and thorough investigation in this case means in the end the suppression of the evil. In the beginning, I take it, it means the inauguration of an irrepressible conflict, and it will be the same old story, right against wrong, good against evil, God and humanity on the one side, perverted appetite and large pecuniary interests on the other; and it is not the first time, sir, that these parties have met in conflict—the death of Abel, the exodus from Egypt, the crown of thorns, the rising from the dead, Luther persecuted for asserting the right of private judgment, the landing on Plymouth Rock, our American revolution, the late rebellion and abolition of slavery are but more noted parts of the great contest, which began with man's first transgression, and will end only when millennial glory is ushered in. I would ask, sir, what has the liquor interest to gain by inaugurating this conflict? It does seem to me that gentlemen urging this repeal have not profited by the lessons of the past. The repeal of the Missouri Compromise and the enactment of the Fugitive Slave Law by the friends of American slavery, were vital stabs to that institution. And, sir, as the repeal of the Missouri Compromise and the enactment of the Fugitive Slave Law directed the attention of the American people to the evils of slavery, so the repeal of this Local Option Law here to-night will direct the attention of the people of this State to the evils of intemperance; and this evil, like slavery, is of such 'hideous mien, that to be hated needs but to be seen,' and I can only explain the action of the liquor interest in regard to the Local Option Law upon the hypothesis that 'whom the gods intend to destroy they first make mad.'
"But, Mr. Speaker, we are under moral as well as personal and political obligations to keep faith with the people, whose servants we are, and the moral obligation in this case is vast and almost limitless. The welfare of whole communities, our theory of free government, the happiness, the very life of men, women and children, are involved in the issue. That it is our duty to legislate generally in favor of, and not against morality, all will admit. I take it, sir, that it is always our duty, when such questions present themselves, to discriminate in favor of reform, in favor of right, and to throw the weight of our influence and votes upon the moral side of every such question. Our safety and perpetuity as a State and as a nation depends largely upon a right appreciation of our duty in this direction. The tendency of man naturally is to pursue the evil and reject the good. No legislation is needed to encourage man in evil; and besides, it is utterly useless, gentlemen, for you to legislate against this temperance reform, or to attempt to legislate it out of existence; and although you may have the votes here to-night to repeal this Local Option Law, it is entirely and inconceivably above and beyond you to crush out any great moral reform. You might as well attempt to to 'pluck the brightness from the sun, or with polluted fingers tarnish it.'
"You utterly and entirely, in my opinion, mistake even your own interests in this matter. No free, enlightened people will endorse, for any cause, or on any pretense, such breach of compact as the repeal of the Local Option Law would be. Such entire want of faith is abhorrent to every true American heart, and would meet with disapproval from the most savage and least civilized tribes of earth. On the other hand, Mr. Speaker, I have strong and enduring faith in the honor and sense of justice of the people, and do not, and will not believe that they will approve this violation of solemn treaty—and for what? That morality may be promoted? No. That the welfare and comfort of our citizens may be increased? No. That pauperism may be reduced? No. That poor, innocent, helpless little children may be clothed, fed, and rendered comfortable and happy? No, no. What then, sir, is the great principle which underlies this whole question, and necessitates this treachery and shameful violation of faith? Dollars! Dollars! 'Only this and nothing more.' Dollars! Not to the State treasury, not to the people, but to a few individuals who ask the monopoly of a business confessedly injurious and 'evil, and only evil continually.' Representatives of the people, do your constituents require you to aid in this violation of solemn treaty? If so, I do not envy your honors. Proud am I to-night of the people of 'little Lawrence,' the peer of any county in this broad commonwealth. Thank God, they require but an honorable service, and never stultify themselves, or ask their representatives to do so. Fellow commoners of Pennsylvania, do not this evil thing, which God and man alike abhors."
In addition to the elements already noticed, another characteristic for which Mr. Morgan has become noted, is his invincible will, and the determined perseverance with which he follows up a cause. Speaking of this trait in his character, the Harrisburg Patriot, of January — 1877, says:
"Morgan, like his great patronymic of the Georgia savannahs, will fight until the last man remains at his side. He has taken the field in dead earnest, and has inscribed on his banner—'No Surrender!'"
The Patriot is a democratic journal, and its confession is quite significant; and only a few days after its publication, found an illustration in the House record of January 31, 1877, where we read:
"Mr. Morgan (Lawrence), from the Committee on Vice and Immorality, reported the Local Option bill."
"Veritas est omnipotens, et prevelebit."
On November lst, 1860, Dr. Morgan was married to Miss Laura A., daughter of Samuel Spiese, of New Castle. Has had a family of five children, two sons and three daughters, one of each now deceased. In 1859, he united with the First Presbyterian Church of New Castle, in which body he has for a number of years held the office of Deacon. Mrs. Morgan was educated in the New Castle public schools and Seminary. She is a talented and accomplished lady, very efficient in her domestic relations, retiring in her manners, and very highly esteemed for her kindness of heart and other womanly virtues. Her mother was Eliza McCleary, daughter of Samuel McCleary, one of the earliest residents of New Castle and who, at one time, owned four hundred acres of land, a part of which forms what is now know as West New Castle.
The Doctor frequently expresses to his more intimate friends his consciousness of having made many mistakes. But the man who never makes a mistake will never act at all; he will never accomplish anything. Imperfection attaches to everything human. "Errare est humanum." There is, however, a vast difference between errors of head and errors of heart.
Dr. Morgan's father,
Was born near Blackwoodtown, N. J., March 16, 1808. In the spring of 1827, he removed to Pittsburgh, and on October 26, 1828, married Lucinda, second daughter of Reuben and Hannah Neal, by whom he had five sons and four daughters.
In 1835, the family moved to Noblestown, and in 1839, to New Castle, and in 1846, returned to Pittsburgh. In 1852, they settled permanently in New Castle. Shortly after this, Mr. Morgan was elected Justice of the Peace, and served five years. He was subsequently appointed aid to Governor Pollock.
In 1862, although over age, he served for a short time under Colonel McComb, at Hagerstown, Md. On September 28, 1864, he was commissioned by Governor Curtin one of the Commissioners to receive the army vote for the Northern department, in connection with Joseph A. Bonham, of Philadelphia, and John Jacobs, of Montgomery county.
In 1865 and 1866, Mr. Morgan, in connection with his son, E. S. N. Morgan, were engaged in cotton growing in Tennessee, but the business proved a financial failure.
Two days after his return to New Castle, Mr. Morgan was thrown from a buggy, and his neck was dislocated, from the effects of which accident he died a few days afterwards.
He was a man of fine physique, notably fearless and positive, but very sympathetic, and was highly esteemed by the community.
His widow—an estimable lady—still survives, and resides with her son, the Hon. E. S. N. Morgan, in New Castle.
The life of the first settlers of a country abounds with incidents that may be contemplated both with interest and profit. To leave the pleasant surroundings of civilized life, and pierce the depths of a primitive wilderness, and there make a home, amid wild beasts and savage men, requires a spirit of daring and endurance that the young people of the present day can but poorly appreciate. To them the story of the privations, toils, hardships and dangers braved by these hardy men, seems more like the recital of a romance than a veritable reality, and the adventurous spirit that fired the souls of these hardy emigrants is a feeling that cannot be shared by their more favored and less self-sacrificing descendants.
"These sturdy pioneers an impulse felt
That their less hardy sons scarce understand;
'Mid nature's new and wildest scenes they dwelt,
And fought wild men and beasts for every foot of land."
The cabin built of unhewn logs, the cracks stuffed with mud mortar, the floor of puncheon, and oftimes seats of the same material, the slab door, creaking upon wooden hinges, the windows, made by a hole in the side logs of the cabin, and covered with paper smeared with grease, the chimney, built of sticks cemented together by mud, the roof of split shingles or boards brought from some pioneer saw mill, perhaps fifty miles away, the large old-fashioned fire-place, constructed of huge, rough stones, with mud for mortar, and often occupying the larger part of the end of the cabin, and taking in its eight foot wood and logs, propped up by large stones that served the purpose of andirons, the spacious hearth of undressed stone, on which, at the close of day, the pioneer family were wont to gather in front of the blazing fire, and talk of the home comforts left behind, while without the winter's blast roared through the tops of the primitive forest, and night was made doubly fearful by the hideous howlings of wolves,—such was the humble home and wild surroundings of our forefathers.
"What heroism, what perils, then!
How true of heart and strong of hand,
How earnest, resolute—these pioneer men!"
Hon. Joseph Cunningham was born December 9, 1811. On the 4th of February, 1832, he married Jennette McGregor, and both united with the Slippery Rock Presbyterian Church during the same year. He was elected one of the ruling elders of the church in 1839. He purchased his present residence, known as Locust Ridge Home, and settled upon it in 1848. In 1855 he was elected a Justice of the Peace, and re-elected to the same office in 1860. In 1861 he was elected to the honorable and responsible position of Associate Judge. His first wife died on the lst of August, 1872, and on the 1st of April, 1874, he married Eliza W. Davidson.
BENJAMIN CUNNINGHAM was born in Beaver county, Pennsylvania, (now Lawrence county) December 17, 1800, His father, William Cunningham was one of the first settlers of the county.
MARTHA CUNNINGHAM was born in Fayette county, Pennsylvania, September 5, 1802. Benjamin and Martha Cunningham were united in marriage, September 4, 1823, and have ever since resided within three miles of their present residence. They have had eight children; six sons and two daughters, of whom only three, two sons and one daughter, are now living. The parents were members of the Slippery Rock (old school) Presbyterian Church, the father having served nineteen years as a member of Session. Benjamin Cunningham died October 19, 1863, aged 63 years.
[Biographical Sketches Continued.]
From the 1770 - 1877 History of Lawrence County by S. W. and P. A. DURANT.
Explanation and Caution | Abbreviations | Lawrence Co. Maps | 1877 Portraits
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Updated: 16 Feb 2001, 15:16