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Elk County
Chapter XVIII


Biographical Sketches - Jones Township

A.T. ALDRICH, postmaster and merchant, Wilcox, was born in Onondaga county, N.Y., April 1, 1826, a son of Abel and Nancy (Hibbard) Aldrich, the former a native of Rhode Island and the latter a native of Connecticut. His father was a Baptist minister by profession, and had charge of a church in Genesee county, N.Y., and also one in. Onondaga county, N.Y. About 1840 he moved his family to McKean county, Penn. A.T. Aldrich received an ordinary education, and learned the blacksmith trade, which he followed for some years in McKean and Potter counties. He also, with his brother, erected a saw- mill near Smethport, and engaged in manufacturing lumber for a number of years. In February, 1859, he came to Elk county, and located at Wilcox, where he has since been engaged in mercantile business. He was appointed postmaster by. President Buchanan, in 1860, and has ever since held that office. He married, in 1852, Miss Sarah A., daughter of Joseph King, of McKean county, Penn., and they have four children living and one deceased: Ernest O., of Lock Haven, Penn., married Miss Dolly, daughter of Isaac Shaffer, of Clinton county, Penn.; Jessie M. is the wife of Dr. A.B. Bevier, of Wilcox, Penn.; Bayard died at the age of twelve years; M.W. and Edith are at home. Mr. Aldrich has always been identified with the Republican party. For five years he has served as justice of the peace of McKean county, and also five years in Jones township, Elk county. He has been on the school board for twenty- one years in the two counties, and for twelve years has been clerk of Jones township; he has also served as auditor and treasurer of the township. He is a member of the Equitable Aid Union of Wilcox, No. 460; His wife and family are members of the Presbyterian Church.

CHARLES J.W. ASP, farmer, P.O. Kane, Penn., is a son of Otto and Annie (Colson) Asp, natives of Sweden, the former of whom served as a soldier in his native country for thirty- five years and came to Kane, Penn., in 1886. Charles J.W. Asp was born in Sweden, January 22, 1855, and when eighteen years of age, in May, 1873, came to Kane, McKean Co., Penn., where he worked for the railroad company for three months, subsequently entering a saw- mill, in which he worked six years. In November, 1876, he married Miss Eva Nilson, a native of Sweden, born. September 13, 1850, and a daughter of Nils and Kathrina (Anderson) Nilson. Mrs. Asp arrived in New York in April, 1813, and, as will be seen, was married about three and a half years later. She has borne her husband six children, in the following order: Annie M., in Kane, December 9, 1877; Jennie E., in Kane, March 31, 1879; Charles A., at Dagus Mines, January 28, 1881; Augusta A., in Kane, April 10, 1882; Amelia E., in Kane, July 23, 1884, and Otto W. S., in Kane, August 2, 1886. Mr. Asp, in 1878, purchased the farm in Jones township, Elk Co., Penn., on which he still resides, and which he cultivates with skill and profitable results. In politics he affiliates with the Prohibitionists, and he and his wife are members of the Free Mission Church.

B. BRENNEN, merchant, Wilcox, was born in Genesee county, N.Y., January 28, 1847. His parents, John and Mary Brennen, were natives of New York and Vermont, respectively. They were farmers by occupation and moved to Cattaraugus county, N.Y. The father was killed in an accident on the Erie Railroad about 1860. The mother died in Allegany, N.Y., in 1888. Mr. Brennen left Cattaraugus county, N.Y., at the age of eleven years and went to Wisconsin and followed lumbering for several years. He then returned to New York State and engaged in farming for a short time. In 1868 he first came to Elk county, but soon after moved to Jefferson county, Penn., and thence to Butler county, where he built a portion of the Low Grade Road, and where he. took the contract and built several miles of the Parker & Karns City road. He also resided in Corry, and owned forty village lots there. In 1875 he came to Wilcox, and purchased a farm and built fine trout ponds on the same, which are open to the public. He afterward built the Grant House in Wilcox and conducted the same for five years. February 1, 1889, he established his present general mercantile business. In 1874 he married Miss Lena Hedsnecker, of Jones township. They have four children: Fred, John, Charles and Sidney. Mr. Brennen is a supporter of the Republican party, and is a member of the Knights of the Maccabees, of Wilcox.

RASSELAS WILCOX BROWN. Among the early settlers of Elk county, probably no man was better known or more highly esteemed than Rasselas Wilcox Brown.

Mr. Brown was born at German Flats, Herkimer Co., N.Y., September 30, 1809, and was one of three children born to Isaac and Polly (Wilcox) Brown. When Rasselas was sixteen years old, his father moved to Onondaga county, N.Y., and located upon a tract in the town of Cicero, which Rasselas helped to transform into a productive farm. Upon this farm is located the cemetery, where at his own request Mr. Brown was buried. It is a beautiful spot overlooking the village of Cicero and the surrounding level, prairie- like country, and contains the remains of several generations of the Brown family. Mr. Brown united with the Baptist Church, of Cicero, when eighteen years of age, and adhered to that faith throughout his life. He was married September 25, 1832, at Fort Brewerton, N.Y., to Mary P. Brownell, the only daughter of Jedediah and Eunice (Watkins) Brownell. She was born at Trenton, Oneida Co., N.Y., September 23, 1815. Like her husband she early united with the Baptist Church, and has adhered to that faith ever since. At the present time (1890) she is in good health, and her mind is as vigorous as that of most women at fifty. She has been, and still is a woman of wonderful energy and unconquerable ambition. No matter in what society she might live, she could be nothing less than the acknowledged peer of the truest and best. No sacrifice was ever demanded, or ever could be demanded, which she would not cheerfully make for her husband and children. She enjoys the esteem of all who know her, and she glories in the unquestioned affection of all her children and children's children.

Immediately after their marriage this couple settled at Fort Brewerton, N.Y., where they lived two years, and then moved to Summer Hill, Cayuga county, where they lived for about three years. In 1837 Mr. Brown, in company with his brother- in- law, Judge Brownell, now of Smethport, McKean county, started on foot from Cayuga county to seek his fortune in the then western wilds of Michigan. On their journey thither they passed through the wilderness of Jones township, Elk county. Here Col. W. P. Wilcox, his uncle, ha4 a few years before located, and he became exceedingly anxious that Rasselas should settle near him. After two or three months passed in the journey to Michigan, the two travelers returned and decided to cast their lot in the wilds of Pennsylvania. It was late in the fall when they returned, and after employing a man to hew the timber, and leaving with him the means to prepare for the erection of a house early in the spring, Mr. Brown returned for his family. So poor were the mail facilities at that time that the letters from his friends in Pennsylvania advising him of the absconding of his hired man did not reach their destination until he had started with his wife and two little boys, for their new home, which they reached on March 16, 1838.

With a will and energy that would not brook defeat, he went to work, and on April 21, a little more than a month after his arrival, he was able to move into his new house. The desperate effort and great anxiety required to get his family under roof, resulted in his prostration on a bed of sickness, to which he was confined more than six months. Slowly recovering from his illness, the terrible truth forced itself, day by day, upon him that his eyesight was seriously impaired, and that the injury to his eyes would be permanent. Now came the time for his young and hopeful wife to show her worth and her ability. Would she prove equal to the occasion? It was evident that her husband could not for' a long time, at least, perform the manual labor necessary to clear and cultivate a farm, and they must, therefore, seek some temporary employment where her skill and energy would count for the support of the little ones. The Williamsville Hotel offered such a place, and thither without delay they moved. They remained at the hotel until the spring of 1841. During a good share of the time the two did the entire work required to care for their guests and the traveling public- the provisions and supplies for whom had to be hauled from Smethport or Olean, and sometimes from Buffalo. This, of course, demanded the frequent absence of Mr. Brown, and threw upon his wife burdens that none but the most heroic of women could or would have endured. No wonder that both felt relieved when the spring of 1841 came, and they again assumed the sometimes more exhausting, but always more agreeable, toil upon the farm. Here they lived together until the death of Mr. Brown, which occurred on June 27, 1887. At the time they moved onto the farm the children had grown to four, in number, and there was, if the wolf were to be kept from the door, to be no rest from labor and anxiety. The tract of land, out of which it was proposed to make a farm, was located mainly in the midst of a dense growth of pine and hemlock. To be sure the land was cheap, costing only $1.25 an acre, but the labor necessary to fit it for cultivation was enormous. There was no mill near to cut logs into lumber, and no market for the lumber if it could have been cut. In those early days there was, therefore, no alternative- both pine and hemlock must be burned to ashes. The struggle was constant and sometimes desperate, but never a failure. If the farm failed by ordinary means to make both ends meet, they always found some effective plan to supply the need. Sometimes the scheme had little profit in it, but if it availed to tide over a present difficulty, it was resorted to with cheerfulness and satisfaction. At times the plan hit upon was to manufacture by hand the pine trees into shingles; at others, to dig coal from a mine opened on the farm, and then to market these wherever a purchaser could be found- often fifty, and sometimes one hundred miles away. That the purchaser would only pay in goods, and at exorbitant profits, was little reason for breaking off the trade. The waiting ones at home must be supplied, and therefore the product must go for what it would bring. Many times during the first years upon the farm at Rasselas (this name was given to the place in honor of its owner by Gen. Thomas L. Kane, president of the N.Y., L. E. & W.R.R. extension, when it was built through the farm and a station located thereon), butter as good as housewife ever made was taken on horseback to Ridgway, sixteen miles distant, and sold for 10 and. 12 cents a pound, store pay, the whole proceeds amounting to less than would be the expense of such a trip in our time.

Isolated as was the home reared by this couple, it was in many respects a model one. The children, six in number, three boys and three girls, were taught not only obedience and respect for their parents, but kindness and love for each other. Self- sacrifice was the paramount law of the household. Nothing within the range of a possibility was ever left undone in behalf of the children, whether it pertained to their present needs or education and proper development; and in return the parents received homage as abiding as life itself. All alone in the wilderness, the family altar was kept burning, conspicuous by contrast, and yet its influence all the more enduring, because it was unique. The entire number of children born to Rasselas W. and Mary F. Brown are still living. The daughters are Olive J. Moyer and Eunice A. Hewitt, of Elk county, and Mary A. Allen, of Cicero, N.Y. The sons are Jefferson L., William Wallace and Isaac B. Sketches of the three sons will be found in this volume as follows: those of Jefferson L. and Isaac B., immediately after this of their father, and that of William Wallace, among the biographical sketches of Bradford, McKean county.

Mr. Brown, notwithstanding the loss of his eyesight, was a leading mind in the county. In politics he was a Whig, and all alone in his neighborhood he cherished, as only a Whig could cherish, the names of Washington, the Adamses, Clay and Webster, until the new era added to the immortals the names of Grant and Lincoln. There was but a single supporter of his political views in Jones township, and yet during the larger, part of his active life at Rasselas, he held the office of magistrate, often by the almost unanimous voice of his neighbors. As a partisan he was never offensive, but he was as firm and unyielding in his political convictions as any man ever was with Scotch blood in his veins.

Of his affliction he seldom made mention, and he was never known to complain, save, when in the days of his country's peril, the loss of his sight precluded the possibility of his enlisting in her defense. It was his inability to serve as a soldier that induced him to yield to the persuasions of his youngest son, and allow him to enter the army at the early age of sixteen years, although his two other sons and two of his sons- in- law had already entered the service. To him the Republic was "a thing of beauty and a joy forever," and there was nothing in the earth so good or so sacred that he would not have freely sacrificed for her glory and her defense. With the close of the war and with his declining years came more rest and contentment. Though from choice he labored constantly until the last year of his life, the railroad, long looked for, had come, and with it a market for the forest still preserved, and this brought the means for such comfortable support as dispensed with the necessity of further toil or anxiety. Idleness had no place in his life. Every hour not given to labor was devoted to the acquisition of knowledge. Unable, from loss of his eyesight, to read, he, invoked the aid of others to read for him, and in this way was able to keep abreast of current events, and to live in the history of the past. He had a very retentive memory, and possessed a fund of information, especially concerning the geography, political history and-development of his country, truly wonderful.

As the end of life approached, he gave most abundant assurance to those about him, that long ago complete preparations had been made for the voyage to the country beyond. There was a brief, but comprehensive direction for the care of his surviving widow, a "share and share alike" to his children, a request that he might be permitted to sleep with his fathers in the land of his boyhood, and then a calm, majestic waiting for the final summons. Just fifty years to a day from the time the subject of this sketch, weary and foot- sore, came into the wilderness of Pennsylvania, he was borne in solemn triumph back to the burial place of his fathers. It is the mighty power of steam that carries the train as on wings of the wind! During the fifty years of Mr. Brown's sojourn in Elk county, that power had revolutionized the world! Henceforth the pioneer shall not go forth into the wilderness alone. Steam shall go before, and shall prepare the way for him. And yet, with all the aids to success which modern thought can bring, none who triumph in coming time will leave more honored heritage, or fall asleep amid the incense of love more sincere or more abiding than did Rasselas Wilcox Brown.

JEFFERSON L. BROWN, eldest son of Rasselas W. and Mary P. (Brownell) Brown, was born at Fort Brewerton, Onondaga Co., N.Y., June 25, 1834, and ~came with his parents into McKean (now Elk) county in March, 1838. His early life was spent on his father's farm, in Jones township, upon which Rasselas, a station on the New York, Lake Erie & Western, and the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburg Railroads, is located. Mr. Brown was educated at the public schools near his home, and at the Smethport academy. At eighteen years of age he commenced the work of his profession- surveying- which he has followed more or less up to the present time, and has been engaged in several engineering enterprises. In the summer of 1855 Mr. Brown purchased the Elk County Advocate establishment, and published the paper about one year. Not finding the business either suited to his nature or profitable, he disposed of the plant in July, 1856, and returned to the work of his profession. In the autumn of 1860 he moved to Onondaga county, N.Y., and engaged in the pursuit of farming. He taught school at Cicero in the winter of 1860- 61, and at Centreville in the winter of 1861- 62. After selling his interest in the farm, Mr. Brown enlisted in Company C, One Hundred and Eighty- fifth Regiment, New York Infantry, and served until the close of the Civil war. He took part in the movements of the Army of the Potomac, which began March 31, 1865, and closed with the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, April 9, the same year; and had the pleasure of seeing Gens. Grant and Lee riding in a carriage (of old Virginia style) together, on their way to Burkeville, Va., after the surrender. At the close of the war Mr. Brown returned to Elk county, where he has resided ever since, having his home at Wilcox. In the autumn of 1868 he went into the employ of the Wilcox Tanning Company, and after April, 1870, had charge of, and an interest in, the large mercantile business of the tanning and lumber company, for ten years. In the political campaign of 1880 Mr. Brown was nominated a candidate for member of the assembly by the Democratic convention of Elk county, and, after a hotly- contested struggle, in which the disaffected Democrats united with the Republican and Greenback parties in a combination against him, he was elected by a good majority. He was re- elected in 1882, and served through the extra session of 1883. Since retiring from the political field, Mr. Brown has been engaged in the lumbering, and later in the banking business. He is a member of the Rasselas Lumber Company (whose plant is located on the old homestead), and at the head of the banking house in Wilcox, bearing his name. Mr. Brown was united in marriage with Miss Amanda H. Merriam, the accomplished daughter of Noah and Mary Ann Merriam, of Cicero, Onondaga Co., N.Y. Mr. and Mrs. Brown are the parents of three children- two daughters and one son. The eldest is the wife of Emmet G. Latta, of Friendship, N.Y., and has two sons, Jefferson B. and Raymond F. The second daughter, Miss Emma G., has been for some time cashier in her father's bank. The son, Frank Rasselas, graduated with honors at the Pennsylvania Military Academy, at Chester, in 1889, and is now instructor in mathematics, engineering and military science at his alma mater. Mr. Brown is master of Wilcox Lodge, No. 571, F. & A.M., of which he is a charter member. He is one of the elders of the Presbyterian Church at Wilcox, a member of the Hiram Warner Post, G.A.R., and of the Wilcox Division of the Sons of Temperance.

ISAAC B. BROWN was born in Jones township, Elk Co., Penn., at the place now known as Rasselas, on the 20th of February, 1848. He lived at home with his parents, Rasselas W. and Mary (Brownell) Brown, working upon the farm until fifteen years of age, when he went to Syracuse, N.Y., to attend school. He remained at school, working for his board and maintenance, until the summer of 1864, when he returned home and enlisted in Company C, Two Hundred and Eleventh Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers. He served in the Army of the James during the fall of 1864, and subsequently in Hartranft's Division of the Ninth Army Corps, Army of the Potomac. He was present with his command in the engagements at Bermuda Hundred, Hatcher's Run, in the Weldon raid, the assault at Fort Steadman, and at the battle of Petersburg. Returning home at the close of the war, Mr. Brown attended school for four years, spending one year at the Smethport Academy and three years at Alfred University, from which he was graduated in 1869. During his school vacations he assisted his father on the farm. In the fall of 1869 he taught at the Ridgway (Penn.) Academy, and in December of that year commenced the study of law at Corry, Penn., with Messrs. Crosby & Brown. During the years of 1870 and 1871 he was engaged in surveying the wild lands in Elk county for the Wilcox Tanning Company. In the winter of 1870- 71 he taught school again, and in the fall of 1871 removed permanently to Corry, where he found it necessary to engage in some business in order to support himself while prosecuting his studies. He therefore formed a partnership with Mr. C.S. Tinker, and embarked in the insurance business. He soon became active in the politics of Erie county, and was elected clerk of the city of Corry in 1873. He then renewed the study of law, which he had discontinued for some time, and in 1876 was admitted to the bar. In 1878 he was a candidate for the assembly, and received the Republican nomination, but was defeated at the polls by Hon. Alfred Short, through a combination of Democrats and Greenbackers. In 1880 he was again nominated, and was then elected by about 3,000 majority. In 1882 he was re- elected, and again in 1884, the last time by the largest majority ever given to a candidate for assembly in that district. Mr. Brown enjoys the distinction of being the only person from Erie county who has ever received the nomination and election for a third term. During his six years of service as a legislator, he secured the passage of a large number of measures of a public nature, among which may be mentioned that for the establishment of State White Fish Hatchery at Erie. He prepared, introduced and secured the passage of the bill to establish the Pennsylvania Soldiers' and Sailors' Home at Erie, and now is a member of the Board of Trustees of that institution. In 1886 he was a candidate for the Republican nomination for Congress in the Twenty- seventh District, but was defeated by Hon. C.W. Mackey, of Venango county. He continued the practice of law in Erie county until 1887, when he was tendered and accepted the position of deputy secretary of internal affairs of Pennsylvania, which office he now holds at the State Capital. He has been an active member of the Grand Army of the Republic ever since its organization, and has held many prominent positions in that order. He served in the National Guard of Pennsylvania from 1874 to 1887; eleven years as captain of Company A, Sixteenth Regiment, and two years as judge advocate with the rank of major, on the staff of Gen. James A. Beaver, commanding the Second Brigade. He commanded a company during its service in the riots of 1877. Mr. Brown was married, on the 25th of June, 1870, to Miss Hannah Partington, of Providence, R.I., and he has now a family of three children- two daughters and one son.

J.B. CLARK, of the firm of Clark & Blakeslee, lumbermen, P.O. Glen Hazel, was born in Hebron, Washington Co., N.Y., in September, 1845, and is a son of Eli and Mary (Warner) Clark. He was reared and educated in his native county, and afterward worked on the tow- path of the Champlain canal, which he followed four years. At the time of the oil excitement in Venango county, he located at Oil creek, and followed the occupation of driller and contractor for five years. Mr. Clark then engaged in lumbering at Spartansburg, Crawford Co., Penn., for three years, and then at Columbus, Warren county, same State, for a period of seven years in the same business. Coming to Highland township, Elk county, he here followed lumbering until April 18, 1885, when he removed to Jones township, where he is now carrying on an extensive lumber business. In connection with the saw- mill, he operates a large shingle and handle factory. Mr. Clark's brother- in- law, James A. Blakeslee, has been associated with him in business since 1871, in which year he located at Spartansburg. Mr. Clark was married to Emeline Blakeslee, daughter of R.P. and Lydia (Lamona) Blakeslee, of Spartansburg, Penn., and by her he has had four children: Bertha, Thomas, James and Lydia. Mr. Clark has held the offices of school director and auditor of Jones township, and also that of treasurer of Highland township. He was two years and eight months in the Civil war, enlisting in March, 1863, in Company E, Fifty- seventh P.V.I., and was honorably discharged at the close of the struggle. He is a member of the, F. & A.M., and in politics is a Democrat.

ANTONY A. CLAY, Rasselas P.O., Penn., was born in Vienna, Austria, February 17, 1839, when his father, the late Hon. John Randolph Clay, was United States secretary of legation to that country. He was educated in the city of Philadelphia, and in 1861 entered the three-months service of his country as quartermaster, with the rank of captain, on the staff of Gen. Pleasanton, of Philadelphia. September 1, 1861, he entered in Company K, Fifty- eighth P.V.I., as first lieutenant under Col. J. Richter Jones, and was afterward promoted to adjutant and captain. He served during the entire service with the regiment, and on staff duty, acting as assistant adjutant- general and provost- marshal for the subdistrict of Central Virginia until mustered out, in 1865. He has resided in Elk county since 1866, and has had charge of large tracts of land in this and adjoining counties, and has also been engaged in lumbering and farming. In 1886 he was the Democratic candidate for the State legislature, and was elected by 1,142 majority, the largest majority ever given to any candidate for assembly in the county. He was again elected in 1888, by 746 majority, is now filling his second term of office, and is one of a commission of three senators and four members of the house appointed to investigate the charitable and correctional institutions of the State. He married, in 1864, Miss Sybella S., daughter of John Seckel; of Philadelphia, Penn., and they have four daughters, viz.: Estella A., Syhella G., Ethel B. and Margaret. Capt. Clay is a member of Wilcox Lodge, No. 571, F. & A.M., and of the Military Order of Loyal Legion of the United States, also of Lucore Post, G.A.R., of St. Mary's. His father, Hon. John Randolph Clay, was born in Philadelphia, Penn., and was educated at the University of Virginia, after which he studied law with Hon. John Randolph, of Roanoke, Va., for whom he was named, and was admitted to the bar of Virginia. He accompanied John Randolph to Russia, when he was appointed United States minister, and was secretary of legation, and was afterward appointed secretary of "Legation and Charge d'Affairs" at Vienna, Austria, and later minister to Peru, where h& served eighteen years. He served altogether in the diplomatic service of the United States for thirty consecutive years. He married an English lady, Miss Frances Gibbs, daughter of Dr. John Gibbs, of Exeter, England. Mrs. Clay died in Vienna in 1840, and Hon. John Randolph Clay died in London, England, in 1885. The present home of Capt. A.A. Clay was first occupied by the father of Col. A.I. Wilcox, and later by Gen. Kane, until Capt. Clay purchased it, in 1866. His family are members of the Episcopal Church.

A.A. CLEARWATER, superintendent for the Wilcox Tanning Company, was born in Ulster county, N.Y., March 21, 1846. His parents, Richard and Rachel (Osterhout) Clearwater, were also natives of that county. His mother was a sister of W.H. Osterhout of Ridgway; his father was a millwright by trade and moved to Susquehanna county, Penn., in 1864, and for some years was a car builder in the Susquehanna shops. He was a member of the Republican party, and filled various township offices. He was a deacon and superintendent of the Sunday- school in the Baptist Church for many years, and died in 1882. The mother is still living and resides in Ulster county, N.Y. Their family consisted of nine children, of whom six are living: D.J. (of Scranton, Penn.), A.A., W.W. (of Wilcox, Penn.), Mary C. (wife of Lafayette Hines, of Wayne county, Penn.), Ida E. (wife of B.E. Miles, of Susquehanna county, Penn.) and Leah F. (wife of Elder Campbell, of Ridgway, Penn.). A.A. Clearwater was reared in Ulster county, N.Y., and received an ordinary education. In 1861 he enlisted in Company D, One Hundred and Fifty- sixth New York Infantry, and was appointed sergeant of his company. He was wounded at Port Hudson, June 14, 1862, and was honorably discharged in 1863. He then attended the Harford University in Susquehanna county, Penn., for one year, and then began to learn the tanner's trade with his uncle, W.H. Osterhout, at Glenwood. He served an apprenticeship of four years, and then took the superintendency of a tannery at Herrick Centre for four years, after which, in connection with two partners, he purchased the Glenwood Tannery. After conducting that two years he purchased the interest of one of his partners, and two years later became sole owner of the same, which he conducted for seven years. He then, in company with W.H. Osterhout, began operations at Penfield, Clearfield Co., Penn., which he continued for one year. In 1883 he came to Wilcox, and has since acted as superintendent of the Wilcox Tannery. In 1872 he married Miss Ella B., daughter of William D. Ketchum, of Herrick Centre. They have three children living, Bertha, Libbie and William. One son, Allen B., died in 1886. Mr. Clearwater is a member of Capt. Lyon Post, No. 85, G.A.R., of Susquehanna county, and the Nicholson Lodge, I.O.O.F. He is a Republican in politics, and for six years has served as school director of Jones township. He and his family attend the Presbyterian Church.

DR. A.K. CORBIN, Wilcox, was born in Waverly, Tioga Co., N.Y., November 25, 1851. His father, John A. Corbin, was born in Bradford county, Penn., and his mother, Emily A. (Kelley) Corbin, was born in Schoharie county, N.Y. They now reside in. Bradford, Penn. Our subject was educated at the academy in Owego, Tioga Co., N.Y. He read medicine with Dr. H.N. Eastman, of Owego, and graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York City, February 28, 1879, and first began the practice of medicine at Hinsdale, Cattaraugus Co., N.Y. He moved to Clermont, McKean county, August 8, 1881, and in October, 1885, came to Wilcox, where he has since enjoyed an extensive practice. October 9, 1880, he married Miss Tressie, daughter of A.C. Torrey, of Hinsdale, N.Y. They have one child, Arthur LeRoy. Dr. Corbin is a member of the county medical society, supports the Republican party, and is a member of Clermont Lodge, No. 949, I.O.O.F.

JOHN ERNHOUT, lumber manufacturer, Wilcox, was born in the city of Albany, N.Y., March 18, 1822, a son of Christopher Ernhout, who was a native of Albany, N.Y. His grandfather, John Ernhout, was a native of Germany, emigrated to America with Corn. Van Rensselaer, and was the first. settler in Albany, N.Y., taking up 400 acres of land on the present site of the city. He served as a private through the, war of the Revolution, and was among the prominent men of his day. His wife was a native of Holland. They reared a family of thirteen sons and three daughters, of whom Christopher was next to the youngest. Christopher married Miss Lydia Powell, a native of Scotland, and they settled in Ulster county, N.Y. He was a soldier in the war of 1812; was a Jacksonian Democrat, and filled various township offices. He was twice married; his first wife died in 1842, and he afterward married Miss Polly Brannon. Eleven children were born to his first marriage: Hannah (widow of. James McIntosh), Betsy, Harriet, John, Lydia (deceased), James, William (deceased), Henry, George (deceased), Stephen and David. Mr. Ernhout was a prominent member of, the Presbyterian Church; he died in 1877. John Ernhout received a common school education in Ulster county, N.Y. He was married, May 28, 1843, to Miss Milla Stoddard, daughter of Simeon Stoddard, of Massachusetts, the ceremony being performed at the residence of Phineas Stoddard, in Greenfield, Ulster Co., N.Y. In March, 1844, he moved to Callicoon, Sullivan Co., N.Y., where he remained one year, and in 1845 moved to Greenfield, Ulster Co., N.Y., where he engaged largely in the lumbering business for a term of years. In the meantime he built a large hotel in Greenfield, on the Newburgh and Woodbourne plank road, and also bought the large farm formerly owned by Andrew Lefever. He next moved to Ellenville, Ulster county, and built another extensive hotel, with which he connected one of the largest halls outside the city of New York, and also built, as an appurtenance to the hotel, a mammoth barn. In the fall of 1857 he traded the Ellenville property for a tannery and saw- mill business, in Sandburg, Sullivan county, which business he carried on successfully for nine years. This business comprised three saw- mills, one tannery, two stores, two blacksmith-shops with 'turning lathes, and a large quantity of land. In 1861 he recruited in Sullivan, Ulster and Orange counties, N.Y., 445 men, and joined the Fifty- sixth New, York Regiment, in which he served fourteen months, as captain of his company of 112 men, the balance of the recruits being distributed among other companies of the Fifty- sixth. The captain was honorably discharged on account of sickness. For his meritorious act in recruiting so many men, he was offered the lieutenant- colonelcy of his regiment, but declined, as he had promised to remain with the first company he had raised. In 1867 he came to Wilcox, Elk Co., Penn., where he built its present tannery, afterward associating with him the Messrs. Maurice and Jackson Schultz. About twelve years afterward' Mr. Ernhout was obliged to retire from the company on account of ill health; he spent two years in California, eventually returning to Wilcox, where he has since been engaged in the manufacture of lumber. His mill has a capacity of about one million feet of lumber per month, and he employs about seventy men to carry on his business; he has a private railroad, with which to transport his logs from the lumber districts. Capt. Ernhout owns 225 acres of valuable lands near Cubit, with fifteen oil wells and two excellent gas wells; also 800 acres of land near Kane, McKean Co., Penn., upon which there are three producing wells, which he intends developing. Mr. Ernhout is an active business man, with marked ability, and is one of the representative citizens of Wilcox. He has always been identified with the Republican party; he is a member of the Episcopal Church. Mrs. Milla Ernhout departed this life in 1877, having borne her husband four children: Perry S., the eldest son, entered the United States service with his father, and was promoted to the naval academy, at Annapolis, Md., and from which he was graduated with high honors, but died in the prime of manhood; Marilda S., married Dr. William Scrosburg, of Ulster county, N.Y., and is now deceased; Phineas S. is a lumber manufacturer of Wilcox, and E.L. is a practicing physician of Omaha, Neb.

P.S. ERNHOUT, lumber manufacturer, Wilcox, is a son of John Ernhout, was born in Ulster county, N.Y., February 4, 1851, and came to Elk county with his parents. He received a common- school education, and learned the tanner's trade at the Wilcox Tannery. For five years he held the position of foreman of Osterhout's tannery at Ridgway. He was in business with Mr. J.L. Brown in manufacturing lumber, and in 1882 became one of the members of the Rasselas Lumber Company, and has since had the management of that company. Mr. Ernhout is also interested in the oil business at Kane, Penn. In 1872 he married Miss Annie, daughter of Noah Merriam, of Onondaga county, N.Y. They have one child, Merriam. Mr. Ernhout is a member of Wilcox Lodge, No. 571, F. & A.M., and of the Sons of Temperance, No. 285, of Wilcox. He takes an active part in the temperance cause, and is chairman of the County Prohibition Committee. He has served as school director of Jones township. He is also an elder and trustee in the Wilcox Presbyterian Church.

GURNEE FREEMAN, lumber manufacturer and farmer, P.O. Wilcox, was born in Tompkins county, N.Y., May 8, 1845. His parents, Stephen and Rosetta (Trowbridge) Freeman, were natives of that county and farmers by occupation. The mother died December 25, 1854, and the father still resides in Tompkins county, N.Y. They reared seven children, six of whom are living: Survillia, widow of William Burch of Ithaca, N.Y.; Mary, wife of George Williams, of Michigan; Gurnee; Catherine, wife of Elery Brown, of Michigan; Susan, deceased; Stephen and William, who live in Michigan. Gurnee Freeman received a common-school education in Tompkins county, N.Y. In January, 1863, he went to Philipsburg, Centre Co., Penn., and engaged in the lumber business; he, remained there until 1884, when he came to Elk county and purchased his present farm and also engaged in manufacturing lumber. May 1, 1886, he formed a partnership with H.W. Homer in the manufacture of lumber, and also in a general store, under the firm name of Homer & Freeman. January 11, 1868, Mr. Freeman was united in marriage with Miss Henrietta, daughter of Ellis McClellan, of Centre county, Penn. They have five children: William, Harry, Charles, Ellis and Emma. Mr. Freeman is a supporter of the Democratic party, and is a member of Wilcox Lodge, No. 571, F. & A.M. He and family attend the Episcopal Church.

H.W. HORNER, lumber manufacturer and farmer, P.O. Wilcox, was born in Allegany county, N.Y., July 7, 1840. His father, Timothy Homer, was also a native of that county, born April 26, 1819, and his mother, Lydia Ann (Cease) Homer, was a native of Delaware county, N.Y., born. December 16, 1816. His father was a millwright by trade, and operated a grist- mill at Angelica, N.Y. He was killed while repairing the Wilcox Mill at that place, December 28, 1849. The mother soon after married again and moved to McKean county, Penn. Our subject was thrown upon his own resources at an early age. He was reared by his uncle and obtained but a limited education. He learned the trade of a miller, which he followed until twenty- six years of age. April 9, 1865, he married Miss Cassie, daughter of Thomas and Agnes (Daly) King, natives of Ireland, and among the early settlers of McKean county, Penn. In 1867 they moved to Michigan and engaged in farming until 1869, when they returned to Wilcox, where for several years Mr. Homer engaged in the butcher business. In 1875 they purchased their present farm in Jones township and began to manufacture lumber. In 1886 was formed the firm of Homer & Freeman. Mr. Homer has three children: Marion, Mabel and Mildred. He is a member of Wilcox Lodge, No. 698, E.A.U.; Wilcox Lodge, No. 571, F. & A.M., and Wilcox Tent of the Knights of Maccabees. He has always taken an active part in Democratic politics. Mr. Horner's parents were members of the Baptist Church. They reared three children: H.W., C.H. and Orpha (wife of W.W. Brewer, of Mount Jewett). Mr. Homer is a hunter, and has killed a great many deer.

J.C. MALONE, jeweler and confectioner, Wilcox, was born in Fox township, Elk Co., Penn., March 20, 1844. His parents were both accidentally poisoned when he was about four years of age. He remained in. Elk county until about fourteen years of age, when he went to Smethport, McKean county, and received a common- school education. He learned the jeweler's trade at Smethport, and first started in that business at Port Allegany. In 1861 he enlisted in Company F, Fifty- eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers; was appointed sergeant of his company, and served until the close of the war. In 1868 he came to Wilcox, Elk county, and has since been engaged in his present business. In 1869 he married Miss Maria Louise, daughter of J.D. Leonard, of Kane, McKean Co., Penn., and they have one child, Maud H. Mr. Malone is a member of Wilcox Lodge, No. 571, F. & A.M. He has always been identified with the Republican party, and has filled the offices of auditor, treasurer, school director, and at this writing is assessor of the township. Mrs. Malone is a member of the Presbyterian Church.

ROBERT A. MANETT, superintendent of the wood department of the Wilcox Tanning Company, was born in Sullivan county, N.Y., June 3, 1842. His father, James Manett, is of Scotch descent, and was reared in New York City. His mother, Diantha (Avery) Manett, was a native of New England. They were among the early settlers of Sullivan county, where they still reside, engaged in farming. They reared ten children, all of whom are living: George (of Washington), Robert A., Clarissa (wife of Leonard Stratton), Lucinda (wife of Charles Shendler), Fannie (first married to Eliphalet Stratton, who died, and she is now the wife of William Cauthers), James Gilbert, Jonathan D., Harry (of Brockport. Penn.) Eugene and Emma. Mr. Manett received but a limited education, as his parents were poor and could not afford to send him to the subscription schools of those days. In 1859 he engaged with Jackson Schultz, at Lunenkill, Ulster Co., N.Y., and has been in the employ of the Schultz family ever since, with the exception of two years, when he was engaged in the express business at Ellenville, N.Y. He came to Wilcox, Elk Co., Penn., in 1872, and has since held his present position as superintendent of the wood department of the Wilcox Tanning Company, peeling and hauling 25,000 cords of hemlock bark each year. In 1867 he married Miss Mary J., daughter of James Budd, of Ulster county, N.Y. They have three daughters: Lillian, Eula and Laura. He has always been a supporter of the Republican party, casting his first vote for President Lincoln. He has filled the office of overseer of the poor, tax collector, supervisor and school director of Jones township. He joined the Masonic fraternity of Ridgway, and is a charter member of the Wilcox Lodge, No. 571, F. & A.M., and is also a member of the Wilcox Tent of the Knights of the Maccabees.

E.W. RHONE, superintendent of machinery for the Wilcox Tanning Company, was born in Clinton county, Penn., November 28, 1845. His parents, John and Elizabeth (Batdorf) Rhone, were natives of Germany, and farmers by occupation. Mr. Rhone was educated at the township schools of Clinton and Centre counties, and learned the machinist's trade. In 1867 he came to Wilcox, and has since been in the employ of the Wilcox Tanning Company. In 1863 he married Miss Mary Ellen, daughter of Dickerson Cole, of Clinton county, Penn. They have one child, Evaline. Mr. Rhone is identified with the Republican party, and for the last eight years has been secretary of the school board. He is a member of the E.A.U., of Wilcox, and he and his family attend the Presbyterian Church.

MAURICE M. SCHULTZ (deceased) was born in Delaware county, N.Y., February 11, 1827, and died at Wilcox, Elk, Co., Penn., May 18, 1884. At the age of sixteen he embarked on a whaling ship for the Arctic seas, and returned to his native land after a voyage of four years. His voyage, and the hardships and experiences attendant upon it, gave him his stern and unswerving peculiarities of character and his robust and hardy physique, thereby well fitting him for the hard and active service of his after life. After his return from the sea, he became a tanner, and engaged extensively in that business up to the time of his death. He operated a tannery at Sparrow Bush, N.Y., from 1860 to 1866, and during these years accumulated a goodly fortune. At the time he disposed of his tannery at that place, he proposed to retire from active life, but after a pleasure trip to Europe of a year's duration, he was again persuaded to embark in the tanning enterprise, this time at Wilcox, Elk county. From the summer of 1877, up to the time of his death, he was at the head of the firm doing business under the name of the Wilcox Tanning Company. Mr. Schultz had exclusive charge of the landed and manufacturing interests of this company, and by his energy, fidelity and perseverance, he commanded not only the implicit confidence of the other members of this firm, but also the admiration and respect of the community in which he lived. He was kind- hearted and generous, and never turned a deaf ear to the appeals of the less fortunate in life. His wife, Mary A. (Atherton) Schultz, still survives him, also two sons and one daughter: Norman (residing in New York City), Irving (residing in Wilcox, Penn.) and Mrs. Edward Barnes (of Orange, N.J.). The Wilcox Tannery is now conducted by his two sons, Mr. Irving Schultz being the resident member, and having the general supervision of the same.

MARTIN SOWERS, retired, Wilcox, was born in Germany, November 30, 1831, a son of George and Barbara Sowers, and immigrated to America in 1849. He first located near Philadelphia, Penn., where he engaged in farming for a number of years. From there he moved to Clermont, and thence to Williamsville, and then to Kane, McKean county, where for two years he was engaged in the restaurant business. He came to Wilcox in 1865, and conducted a mercantile business 'for twenty years. He also built his present hotel, which he ran for many years. In 1853 he married Miss Caroline Houserman, a native of Germany, and a resident of Philadelphia, Penn. She died in 1881. Seven children were born to their union, six of whom are living: George, of Wilcox; Mary, wife of Elijah Kroat, of McKean county; Louisa, at home; Frank, hotel- keeper of Wilcox; Edward, operator for the B.R. & P.R.R. at Ridgway, and William, at home. Mr. Sowers has been a supporter of the Republican party since its organization. He has served as school director and supervisor, and is treasurer of the township at the present time. He is a member of Wilcox Lodge, No. 571, F. & A.M., and of the Reformed Lutheran Church.

C.W. SPETTIGUE, general manager for the Wilcox Tanning & Lumber Company, Wilcox, was born in Wayne county, Penn., September 16, 1844. His parents, George G. and Grace Spettigue, were natives of England, and both died in Wayne county, Penn. They were farmers by occupation. C.W. Spettigue was given the advantages of the township schools, and has been engaged in the mercantile business since he was eighteen years of age. He was in business in Sullivan county, N.Y., for sixteen years, and in 1878 came to Wilcox, and has since held his present position. In 1871 he married Miss Annette, daughter of Nelson Thomas, of Delaware county, N.Y. They have one child, Lizzie W. Mr. Spettigue has always been a supporter of the Republican party.

MARK D. SPROAT, resident member, at Wilcox, of the firm of Henry, Bayard & Co., of Philadelphia and Wilcox, was born in Elmira, N.Y., April 15, 1839, a son of Stephen C. and Mary (Schontz) Sproat, natives of Orange county, N.Y., and farmers by occupation. Mr. Sproat was educated at Myron G. Peck's Academy; in Rochester, N.Y., and has been engaged in the lumber business since he was seventeen years of age. He engaged with Henry, Bayard & Co. in 1879, and he has been a member of the firm for seven years. They began manufacturing lumber in Elk county, Penn., in 1880, and Mr. Sproat has since resided at Wilcox. He married, in 1872, Miss Rebecca Lesher, a native of New York City. Mr. Sproat is a member of Acacia Lodge, No. 58, F. & A.M., of Cottage Grove, Minn.; has always been identified with the Democratic party, and is a member of the Tabernacle Baptist Church at Philadelphia, Penn.

M.H. TOOMEY, proprietor of the East Branch Hotel, Glen Hazel, was born in Fox Township, Elk Co., Penn., July 4, 1860, and is a son of Dennis and Mary (O'Hara) Toomey. He was reared and educated in his native county, and worked at lumbering several years, afterward clerking in a number of hotels in the county. In November, 1888, Mr. Toomey settled at Glen Hazel, and here built his present hotel, which he has since successfully conducted. In December, 1887, he married Josephine, daughter of Ferdinand and Margaret (Groll) Wank, of Jones township. Mr. Toomey is a popular landlord, and one who knows how to cater to every requirement of his guests. He is a member of the Catholic Church; in politics a Democrat.

WILLIAM J. WANK, blacksmith, Glen Hazel, was horn in Jones township, Elk Co., Penn., February 13, 1863, and is a son of Ferdinand and Margaret (Groll) Wank, natives of Bavaria, Germany, and pioneers of the borough of St. Mary's, and later of Jones township. Ferdinand Wank was a carpenter by trade, but after coming to this country, he followed agricultural pursuits, and cleared and improved a farm in Jones township. He had ten children: Christopher W. (deceased), Mary R. (Mrs. John Stoltz), Lizzie (Mrs. John Foley), Albert G. (deceased), William J., Josephine (Mrs. Michael H. Toomey), Ida (Mrs. Michael King), John A., Matilda M. and Jennie M. The subject of this sketch was reared in Jones township, where he received a common - school education, and learned the blacksmith's trade, which he has followed for six years. He is the pioneer blacksmith of Glen Hazel. November 7, 1888, Mr. Wank married Carrie Weis, of Clermont, McKean Co., Penn. He is a member of the Catholic Church; in politics a Republican.

STEPHEN E. WATSON, liveryman, Glen Hazel, was born in Schoharie county, N.Y., February 13, 1854, and is a son of James K. and Catherine (Halleck) Watson. He was reared and educated in Delaware county, N.Y., and began life as a teamster, an occupation he followed in Delaware county six years. In 1874 Mr. Watson located at Moose River, Lewis Co., N.Y., where he learned the tanner's trade, and worked at the same for three years. He then accepted a position as clerk in the tannery store, acting in that capacity during a period of four years. He then removed to Limestone, N.Y., where he was foreman in the tan- yard of Hoyt Brothers for one and a half years, and was then made superintendent of the Sterling Run Tannery, at. Sterling Run, Cameron county, a position he held for two years. He then had charge of the office and tannery of George L. Williams at Salamanca, N.Y., for one year, and in 1889 he moved to Glen Hazel, where he has a livery stable, and is doing a successful business. Mr. Watson married, October 11, 1874, Emma, daughter of Arthur Bull, of Delaware county, N.Y., and has one daughter, Mertie E. Mr. Watson is a member of the F. & A.M. and K.O.T.M.; in politics he is a Republican.

BENJAMIN WATSON, a member of the firm of Watson Brothers, dealers in general merchandise, Glen Hazel, was born in Schoharie county, N.Y., July 9, 1858, and is a son of James K. and Catherine (Halleck) Watson. He was reared and educated in Delaware county, N.Y., and began life as a clerk in a general store at Moose river, Lewis county, N.Y., where he remained three years. Mr. Watson served in the same capacity at Albany, N.Y. for two years, and in 1883 he located in Salamanca, N.Y., where he held the position of book- keeper in the Salamanca Tannery for three and a half years. In March, 1888, he settled at Glen Hazel, and erected the first store in the place, there embarking in the mercantile business in company with his brother, R.J. Watson, of Limestone, N.Y. The brothers have built up a successful trade that is daily increasing. Our subject is postmaster at Glen Hazel, the post office having been established June 7, 1889. He married, in 1884, Mary, daughter of W.C. Palmer, of Salamanca, N.Y., and has one daughter, Evelyn M. He is an enterprising, public- spirited citizen, and in politics is a Republican.

MICHAEL WEIDERT, farmer, P.O. Rasselas, was born in Luxemburg, Germany, January 8, 1828. His parents, Bernard and Mary (Bodevin) Weidert, immigrated to America in 1847, arriving in Elk county, Penn., August 16. They remained at St. Mary's until the following September, when they located on the present farm of our subject, in Jones township. Here the father died, in 1855, and the mother, in 1884. They were prominent members of the Roman Catholic Church. They brought eleven children to this country, nine of whom are still living: Mary, widow of John Myers; Catherine, wife of Joseph Hetznecker; Michael; John; Elizabeth, wife of Charles Nearing; Magdaline, widow of Joseph Pistner; Mary, wife of Michael Miller; William, and Lena, wife of T.L. McKean. Mr. Weidert was educated in his native country, and for eight years after coming to Elk county worked for Col. A.I. Wilcox. He has since been engaged in lumbering and farming. In 1852 he married Miss Barbara, daughter of Francis Bonnert, of Jones township. Nine children were born to this union, five of whom are living: Maggie, William M., John, Charles, Edward, all at home. Mr. Weidert has always been identified with the Democratic party and takes an active part in politics. He was elected county commissioner in 1874 and served one year, was re- elected in 1875 for three years, and re- elected in 1878 for three years. During this time the commissioners built the court- house at Ridgway. He was elected justice of the peace, but did not serve. He has, however, filled nearly all the township offices. In 1885 he took a pleasure trip to his native c9untry, remaining from May till September. He is a member of the St. John's Society of St. Mary's, and he and family are members of the Roman Catholic Church.

JOHN WEIGEL, blacksmith and farmer, Rasselas, was born in St. Mary's, Elk Co., Penn., April 10, 1855. His parents, George and Barbara Weigel, were natives of Europe, and emigrated to America in 1844, locating at St. Mary's. His father, who was a blacksmith by trade, is now deceased; his mother is still living at St. Mary's. Mr. Weigel received a common- school education, after which he learned the blacksmith's trade, and has always resided in Elk county with the exception of two years spent in Michigan. He located at Rasselas in 1885. In 1879 he married Miss Mary, daughter of Joseph Smith, of St. Mary's, and they have three children: Julia, Edward and Frederick. Mr. Weigel is a supporter of the Democratic party. He is a member of St. John and St. Patrick societies. He and family are members of the Roman Catholic Church.

DR. J.H. WELLS, Wilcox, was born in Ellenville, Ulster Co., N.Y., March 5, 1854, the son of J.B. and Mary (Hart) Wells, the former a native of Schoharie county, N.Y., and the latter of Ulster county. In 1868 they came to Elk county, where the father has since been in the employ of the Wilcox Tanning Company, in the capacity of harness- maker. Dr. Wells received a common- school education, and read medicine with Dr. Ernhout, then of Wilcox. He attended the medical department of the Bellevue Hospital in New York City, and was graduated in 1884, since which time he has been practicing his profession at Wilcox. He married, in 1875, Miss Mary M., daughter of Seymour Skiff, of Onondaga county, N.Y., and they have one child, Mabel. Dr. Wells is president of the Elk County Medical Society, and is a member of the State Medical Society. He is a member of Wilcox Lodge, No. 571, F. & A.M. Politically he is a Republican, and has served as clerk and treasurer of the township. His wife is a member of the Reformed Church.

Source: Page(s) 745-759, History of Counties of McKean, Elk and Forest, Pennsylvania. Chicago, J.H. Beers & Co., 1890.
Transcribed February 2007 by Nathan Zipfel for the Elk County Genealogy Project
Published 2007 by the Elk County Pennsylvania Genealogy Project

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