John F Whitworth


JOHN F. WHITWORTH, corporation deputy secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, has held that position continuously since 1901, but has maintained his home at Kittanning, where he had practiced law for a number of years.

Mr. Whitworth was born Feb. 12, 1854, at Apollo, Armstrong county, where he received his early education in the common schools. He also studied under private teachers, and took his professional course at the law department of the University of Pennsylvania. He was admitted to the Armstrong county bar in 1878 and has been in practice ever since, having long made a specialty of corporation law, in which branch he is a recognized authority. He has written six works on corporation law which have had a wide circulation and a number of semi-legal works on the Bible. Until 1901 Mr. Whitworth practiced at Kittanning, where he acquired a wide patronage, and he has since been engaged at Harrisburg, having in that year accepted the position of corporation deputy secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He has continued to maintain his home, however, at Kittanning, his residence being at No. 403 North McKean street, where he spends his weekends with his family.Mr. Whitworth has always been a stanch Republican and active in the work of the party, and before entering upon his work at Harrisbury served as county chairman. On June 26, 1884, Mr. Whitworth married Maude Reynolds, daughter of Thomas Hamilton Reynolds and granddaughter of Richard Reynolds. A full sketch of the Reynolds family appears elsewhere in this work. To Mr. and Mrs. Whitworth have been born the following children: Henrietta, a student in Damrosch Conservatory, New York, and John Ford, a student in high school at Kittanning, Pennsylvania.

John F. Whitworth is a descendant of George Whitworth, who was minister from England to France at the time of the Napoleonic wars, and came from an English family of distinguished capacity, many of whose members have become known as successful professional men and manufacturers. The family history in England can be traced back to an early period. Samuel Whitworth, great-grandfather of John F. Whitworth, was an eminent civil engineer. Richard Whitworth, grandfather of John F. Whitworth, was born in England, where he became engaged in business as a manufacturer of cotton goods, continuing thus for a number of years. He was a friend of the father of John Bright, also a cotton manufacturer. After he had been in business for some years in England, Richard Whitworth came to the United States, in 1812, settling in Baltimore, where he erected and operated two large mills, and also owned twenty-two brick houses there. Some trouble arising with his employees, strikers burned all his property to the ground the eve before Christmas, 1837. Before he left England he married Mary Butterworth, also a native of that country, whose father was a prominent squire of the county in which he resided, and whose brother was a captain in the English army and fell in the battle of Corunna, in Spain, under the celebrated Sir John Moore. Many of her ancestors were members of the medical profession. Mr. and Mrs. Richard Whitworth had four children: Richard, Smith, Alice and Sarah. Mrs. Whitworth died in America. Mr. Whitworth married for his second wife a Miss Grant, of Baltimore, who bore him two daughters, Anna and Elizabeth, both born at Baltimore.

Smith Whitworth, father of John F. Whitworth, was born in Lancashire, England, and was two years old when he came to America with his parents in 1812. He was educated at Baltimore. About 1840 he came to Apollo, Armstrong county, PA., where he was extensively engaged in the boating business for some years. He then turned his attention to the manufacture of flour and the mercantile business, and in 1858 became a member of the firm of Cass, McClintock & Co., who purchased the works of the Kiskiminetas Iron Company and manufactured nails and iron for several years. In 1885 Mr. Whitworth retired from active business life, and he died at Apollo in 1893. He was a stanch Republican and a strong temperance man. He never would accept any office except that of school director, which he held for many years. His business life was a very successful one, and he continued his interest in commercial matters throughout his life. He was a great reader, had at retentive memory, was well versed in history and literature, and followed closely the current news of the day. He was one of the oldest members of the Apollo Lodge No. 437, F. & A. M., in which he took a deep interest. Mr. Whitworth married Henrietta L. Ford, daughter of John and Jane (Sanson) Ford, the latter a sister of Rev.James G. Sanson, a noted minister of the Methodist Episcopal denomination. John Ford, father of Mrs. Henrietta L. (Ford) Whitworth, was a soldier in the war of 1812, and his son J. J. Ford, as well as other close relatives of John F. Whitworth, served in the Union army during the Civil war. Five children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Smith Whitworth: Alice married Rev. David K. Nesbit, now deceased, a Presbyterian minister, located at Peoria, Ill.; Richard S., a physician and surgeon of Saltsburg, Pa., married Sadie Wilson; John F. is mentioned above; James S., attorney at law, residing at Vandergrift, Pa., married Carrie Orr, daughter of Samuel Orr, of Kiskiminetas township, Armstrong county, Pa.; Mary died Sept. 25, 1890, at the age of twenty-five years, and is buried at Apollo.

Source: Page(s) PAGES 427-428,
Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914

Transcribed July 1998 by Caral Mechling Bennett for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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