James Denny Daugherty


JAMES DENNY DAUGHERTY was born in Kittanning, Pa., Oct. 17, 1855, his father being one of the descendants of the pioneers of the town, born in Kittanning. His mother was Anne Riley, a native of Ireland. Mr. Daugherty�s early education was acquired in the public schools, but was delayed by the necessity of obtaining a livelihood. He worked in a brickyard during the daylight hours and recited at night to the late Robert W. Smith, the historian, from whom he obtained a basic knowledge of Latin and mathematics which has served him well in the later years of his success. Finally, through severe economy, he was enabled to attend the Eldersridge Academy, and Mount Union College, Ohio, from which latter institution he graduated.

From boyhood he had been a lover of books and had a keen interest in mechanics and new discoveries. When the Graham system of shorthand writing came into popular use, he was one of the first to avail himself of the opportunity to acquire a rapid method of transcribing speech, and soon became noted as a fast and accurate reporter. So great was his repute that he was made official court reporter. During this time he was reading law in the office of Hon. John Gilpin and G. S. Crosby, and he was admitted to the bar in September, 1887.

Having realized the great economic value of the typewriter, upon its introduction to the world, he at once purchased one, became remarkably expert upon that comparatively clumsy pioneer machine, and began at once to improve upon it. The culminating event of his career was the invention of the first visible typewriter, which he soon developed into a practical instrument and later put upon the market, being at the head of a company he organized for its manufacture. This machine was the progenitor of all the modern visible machines of the world. Mr. Daugherty is now engaged, in his leisure moments, in devising an adding typewriter for one of the largest of the great manufacturing firms of that giant industry. He has taken out nearly a hundred patents on typewriters and computing machines and is frequently consulted as a constructive expert.

During the time he was developing the typewriter Mr. Daugherty had found spare moments to perfect himself in legal lore, and in 1898 he was appointed referee in bankruptcy by Hon. Joseph Buffington, a position which he still holds. He has a law office in Kittanning, and is often retained as a pleader in important cases, where his native eloquence can be made available before the jury. He is now county solicitor and held that position for six years once before.

Nature was lavish in her bestowal of talents upon "Denny," as his friends call him, for not only is he gifted as a mechanic, and learned in the law, but his inborn eloquence and poetic temperament are traits which have endeared him to his friends, and made him a terror to his adversaries. Not only have these talents gained recognition in the section where his life has been spent, but in many political campaigns his clear and penetrating voice has resounded from the rostrum in defense of the principles of his party. He was one of the few speakers selected for service in the campaign of the lamented William McKinley, for whom Mr. Daugherty had a strong personal friendship. When that martyred president�s memorial services were held, Mr. Daugherty was selected to deliver the address, and the poem written and recited by him on that occasion has still power to bring tears to the eyes of the reader. He was also selected in 2905 to present the largest flag in the world to the city of Pittsburgh.

Mr. Daugherty was married Jan. 1, 1878, to Eliza L. Field, a native of Canada, whom he met at college, and has three children: Mary E., a graduate of Margaret Morrison branch of Carnegie Technical Institute, Pittsburgh, in domestic science; Nancy L., portrait painter, now in Paris, France, and J. D., Jr., engaged in the automobile business.

Mr. Daugherty has had a standing offer to go upon the lyceum platform as a lecturer and entertainer, and several times has been mentioned as available material for Congress, but so far neither of these has appealed to him

Source: Page(s) PAGES 346-347, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed July 1998 by Patti Godesky for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/armstrong/)

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