Biographical Sketches - Benezette Township - Jay Township
JOHN BARR, farmer, P.O. Benezette, was born in Lycoming county, Penn., May 20, 1825, a son of James and Margaret Barr, natives also of Pennsylvania. They moved to Sinnemahoning in 1826, and there John was raised. He is the third son in a family of fourteen children. He worked for his father until twenty-one years old, and then commenced lumbering on his own account by taking contracts. In 1849 he bought the farm where he now lives, which at that time had some timber on it, and has since then given his, attention to clearing and cultivating his farm, and has also engaged in lumbering. In 1870 he was elected a county commissioner and served three years; he has also served the town in different offices and has given general satisfaction. In September, 1848, Mr. Barr married Miss Almira Mason, a daughter of James and Ruth, Mason, and they have four children: Margaret (widow of Mark Radcliffe, who died in 1885), James, Minnie M. and Myrtle. Mr. Barr is a member of the F. & A.M. and I.O.O.F.
HENRY BLESH, proprietor of Benezette Hotel, Benezette, was born in Clinton county, Penn., January 14, 1837, a son of John and Elizabeth Blesh. His parents died when he was ten years old, and he was thus early thrown on his own resources. He remained in his native county until 1863, beginning life as a laborer, but later dealt in lumber as a jobber. In 1863 he came to Benezette township and began work in the lumber district and continued that business until 1875 when he bought a hotel in Benezette, and has since had charge of one of the popular resorts for the traveling public in Elk county. He is also engaged in the mercantile business, carrying a complete stock and having a good trade. Mr. Blesh was married in, December, 1865, to Miss Sarah Saltsman, a daughter of Frank and Sarah (Rone) Saltsman, and, they have a family of seven children: Georgia M. (wife of Merrit Jones), Frank, Estella, William H., Bertha, Laura and Emma. Mr. Blesh has held various township offices. He is a member of the Benezette Lodge, No. 988, I.O.O.F.
B.A. BOOTH, farmer, P.O. Benezette, was born in Putnam county, N.Y., March 19, 1844, the only son of two children born to John and Eunice (Townsend) Booth, natives of New York State, who came to Bradford county, Penn., in 1853. He received a practical business education in the public schools of Bradford county, and in 1864 entered the United States service. He was assigned to Company A; Two Hundred and Seventh Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, serving until May 22, 1865. After his return home, he came to Elk county, where he engaged in lumbering and farming, and has since remained, with the exception of three years after his marriage, which he spent at his old home in Bradford county. Mr. Booth married, January 1, 1866, Miss Luzerna M., a. daughter of Benjamin and Hannah (Overturf) Johnson, and they have reared, eight children, all of whom are living. Mr. and Mrs. Booth are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Mount Pleasant. He has held various township offices, and is one of the popular men of the village.
JOHN DALEY, proprietor of the Daley Hotel, Benezette, is a native of Ireland, born June 23, 1845, a son of Daniel and Margaret (Cronan) Daley, also natives of Ireland. He remained in his native country until eighteen years of age, and was there educated, and worked as a farm hand. In 1863 he came to the United States and located in Elk county, Penn., where he was employed as a laborer in the woods until 1867, and then worked on the railroad until 1872, when he opened a store near Benezette, which he conducted about four years. In 1873 he moved to Benezette and opened the hotel, and has proved to be a popular and efficient landlord. He is a genial, whole-souled man, and his hotel is well patronized by the traveling public. Mr. Daley was married, April 22, 1867, to Miss Mary Nefey, daughter of Patrick and Alice (Higgins) Nefey, she, at the time of their marriage, being employed by W.H. Schram in a hotel at Brockwayville, Penn. They have nine children: D.C., Alice E., Johanna V., John, Jr., James M., Mary, Patrick H., Catherine and Michael. In politics Mr. Daley is a Democrat.
MILES DENT, lumberman and merchant, Dent's Run, is a son of Thomas and Elizabeth Dent, natives of England, who were among the first settlers of Elk and Cameron counties. Miles Dent was born in what is now Gibson township, Cameron Co., Penn., June 3, 1823, and in January, 1850, married Miss Lydia Miller, a daughter of Daniel and Mary Miller, of Gibson township, and they have reared a family of eight children, all still living: Isaiah, married and living at Dent's Run; Febaney, wife of Charles Teller, of Warren county, Penn.; Austin, married and living at Dent's Run; Alice, wife of S.D. Billings, at Dent's Run; Warren, married and living at Dent's Run; Abel E., married and also residing at Dent's Run; Mary, wife of John B. Hicks, of Gibson township, Cameron county, and Jennie. Mr. Dent built, in 1865, one of the first grist-mills in Gibson township, and in 1866 built a small water-power mill. In 1881 he built a steam mill, the capacity of which is 30,000 feet of lumber per day. He also does a flourishing business in the store at Benezette, Elk county, where he resides, and where he is recognized as a practical business man.
ISAIAH DENT, P.O. Dent's Run, is the son of Miles and Lydia (Miller) Dent, of Dent's Run, Penn., at which place Isaiah was born August 31, 1850. His preliminary education, acquired at the school of his native town, was finished at Bellefonte, Penn. As a minor, he worked for his father until twenty-one years of age, when he entered his father's store in the capacity of clerk, continuing in that position for eight years. August 10, 1879, he married Miss Etolia A. Smith, a daughter of Robert F. and Annie (Conner) Smith, of Dent's Run, who has borne him two children: Miles F. and Carl A., the latter deceased. Mr. Dent has served his township in the capacity of school director, and is an excellent business man.
HENRY D. DERR, farmer, P.O. Benezette, is the eldest son in a family of five children born to William and Eva R. Derr, natives of Pennsylvania. He was born in Centre county, Penn., May 22, 1834, and was reared and educated in Bellefonte, Penn. He came to Elk county in 1851, and settled in Benezette in 1853. He worked in his father's blacksmith shop until 1858, when he engaged in blacksmithing on his own account until 1887, then he removed to his father-in-law's farm and cared for him until his death. Mr. Derr married, January 1, 1858, Miss Amelia, a daughter of Erasmus and Mary (Weed) Morey, whose parents came to Elk county, Penn., in 1813. Mr. and Mrs. Derr have a family of four children, viz.: Will E.; Mary E., wife of N.S. Shaffer, of Caledonia, Penn.; Carrie V., wife of Byron E. Smith, of Sterling Run, Penn., and Della M., at home. Mr. Derr is highly respected by his fellow-citizens, and has been honored with the offices of county auditor (serving three years) and of county treasurer (also for a term of three years), and has held various minor offices in the township.
J.B. EBEBHART, merchant, Benezette, was born in Union county, Penn., June 23, 1858, son of Daniel W. and Elizabeth (Whitmere) Eberhart, natives also of Pennsylvania. He obtained a practical education in the schools of Centre county, Penn., and when seventeen years old began an apprenticeship at the miller's trade in the Mount Eagle Flouring Mill, and served two years. He was then employed in the flouring-mill of Duncan, Hale & Co., in Bellefonte, Penn., and in 1880 ha came to Benezette and took charge of a flouring-mill. He also had charge of a gents' furnishing goods store, which was destroyed by fire in 1884, and he soon afterward formed a partnership with C.A. Haskins in the mercantile business. Mr. Haskins continued in the business but a short time, however, retiring from the firm, and Mr. Eberhart became associated with Henry Blesh, and they are now doing a large general mercantile business. Mr. Eberhart was married May 19, 1881, to Miss Isabella Rothrock, of Benezette, and they have three children, Charles V., Joseph L. and Arthur I. Mr. Eberhart has filled various township offices. He and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
J.E. FREE, physician and druggist, Benezette, is a son of Dr. A.C. and Emily (Kirby) Free, the former a native of Pennsylvania, and the latter of Cinncinnati, Ohio. They reared five children, our subject being the eldest son. He was born in York county, Penn., August 14, 1860, and was graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Baltimore, Md., in 1882. Dr. Free commenced the practice of his profession in Harrisburg in the latter year, and came to Emporium in 1884, where he met Miss Alice M. Lloyd, a daughter of W.F. and Sue (Clark) Lloyd, of Emporium. They were married, June 30, 1886, and in 1887 he returned to Harrisburg. He again came, however, to Benezette and in May, 1889, he purchased of Eberhart & Blesh a drug store in the town. Dr. and Mrs. Free are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
ALBERT GREINER, merchant, Benezette, is a native of Germany, born September 20, 1848, a son of George F. and Juliane R. Greiner, who spent their lives in their native country. He was given a practical business education in the schools of Germany, and when thirteen years of age began to learn the shoemaker's trade and served an apprenticeship of three years. He then worked as a journeyman eight years, and in 1871 came to the United States; he settled in Benezette in 1873, where he opened a boot and shoe store, which he conducted until 1885, when he added a stock of dry goods, notions, etc., to his other stock, and now has one of the largest mercantile stores in the town. October 17, 1873, Mr. Greiner married Friedoline G. Kolb, a daughter of Johann Thomas and Margarethe Kolb, of Germany. They have, a family of four children: George F., Ernest W., Otto A. and Esther G. Mr. Greiner has held the office of justice of the peace since 1882; he has also filled the offices of town clerk, township auditor and tax collector, and was appointed postmaster in 1889. In 1882, Mr. Greiner, in company with his eldest son, George F. then seven years old visited his native home, in Germany, and returned after an absence of three months.
D.E. HEWETT, farmer, P.O. Benezette, is a son of Gerdon and Elizabeth (Stevens) Hewett, natives of Pennsylvania, who reared a family of eleven children, the subject of this sketch being the fourth son. D.E. Hewett was born in Wyoming county, Penn., March 2, 1840, receiving his education in the district schools of the county, and worked upon the home farm until he attained his majority. He participated in the Civil war, enlisting in 1861, and, being assigned to Company H, One Hundred and Thirty-second Regiment, P.V.I., served nine months. Upon his return home, he came to Benezette township, and engaged in lumbering. He married, August 26, 1876, Miss Rosa, a daughter of John and Catherine (McEwen) Largay, natives of Ireland, who came to Elk county, in 1827. Mr. and Mrs. Hewett have a. family of three children, all at home. Mr. Hewett, in 1880, bought a farm in Benezette township, and in 1888 purchased a dwelling-house and store in the village of Benezette, where he now resides. He is a Democrat in politics, and has held various township offices. Mrs. Hewett is a member of the Catholic Church.
JACOB S. JOHNSON, farmer, P.O. Benezette, is a son of Thew and Sarah (Coleman) Johnson, the former a native of England, and the latter of Pennsylvania. They came to Benezette in 1817, and reared a family, Jacob S. being the third son. He was born, November 6, 1830, in Benezette township, upon the farm where he now resides, and received his education in the common schools of Benezette. He married, in May, 1856, Miss Margaret Murray, of Benezette, a daughter of John and Hannah (Hollinsworth) Murray, and they have three children: Alice (wife of Andrew Overturf, of Benezette), Everett B. and Annie M. Mr. Johnson has served his fellow-citizens in the capacity of supervisor and. school director. In politics he is a Democrat. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
J.O. JOHNSON, farmer, P.O. Benezette, is a native of Benezette township, Elk Co., Penn., born February 4, 1833, a son of Thew and Sarah (Coleman) Johnson, the former a native of England, who came to America in 1802 and settled three miles east of the village of Benezette, and the latter a native of Pennsylvania. J.O. Johnson is the fourth son in a family of nine children. He was reared and educated in his native township, remaining at home and working on the farm with his father until his marriage, when he bought the farm where he now lives, which is one of the best in the township. He has been a successful farmer, and is one of the representative men of Benezette township. Mr. Johnson was married, March 1, 1859, to Miss Henrietta Hollen, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth (Overturf) Hollen, and to them were born four children: W.B., Harriet, T.D. and Thomas. Mrs. Johnson died in 1869, and in 1871 Mr. Johnson married Miss Elvina A. Freeman, daughter of Benjamin and Rebecca (Chandler) Freeman, of Emporium, Penn. They have five children: J.O., Jr., Ralph, Frank H., Ella and Freeman. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr.-Johnson has served his township in various official positions.
W.H. JOHNSON, farmer, P.O. Benezette, is the eldest son of Simpson and Therza M. (Woodworth) Johnson, natives of Pennsylvania. Simpson Johnson was a son of Thew and Ann (Simpson) Johnson, English Quakers, who came to what was then Gibson township, Clearfield Co., Penn., in 1817. They voyaged up the river in a canoe, built a log cabin, cleared a few acres of ground, and planted an orchard, some of the trees of which are still standing. They reared a family of thirteen children, of whom Simpson was the third son. W.H. Johnson was born in what is now Benezette township, Elk Co., Penn., May 30, 1840, upon, the farm cleared and settled by his grandfather. In 1847, when he was only seven years of age, a heavy flood came in the night. Hearing water rushing, they arose, only to find the house surrounded by water. The father, thinking the barn the safer place, carried his wife and three children thither and deposited them upon the hay mow. The barn went adrift, and finally the logs parted, leaving them upon the hay. It was very dark, but finally they knew they had struck a tree, by some limbs striking them in the face. The father put his wife and children up among the limbs, then climbed up himself, where they were obliged to remain until the second morning, when they were rescued by some men on a raft. W.H. Johnson's education was obtained in the common schools of Benezette township, and he worked with his father upon the farm until June 4, 1864, whet he married Miss Emily Overturf, a daughter of Andrew and Elizabeth (Hess) Overturf, of Benezette. They reared a family of four children. Mrs. Johnson died in February, 1874, and the following December Mr. Johnson married Mrs. Mary Shawl (widow of Richard Shawl) and daughter of Henry and Ann (Bounce) Binker, natives of Philadelphia, Penn. On June 1 and 2, 1889, the people in the valley along the Bennett's branch of the Sinnemahoning, suffered greatly from another flood by having their crops and other property swept away. Mr. Johnson having a daughter living at Lock Haven, and hearing that the supplies were cut off, owing to the railroad bridges being swept away, along with T.J. Shaffer, who had a sister residing at Lock Haven, he procured a boat and some four, ham and coffee, and went to see them. Mr. Johnson found his daughter (Mrs. McMillen) in fair circumstances, though many living there, were in need. Upon returning home Mr. Johnson found that his barn, with all its contents and all his out-buildings, had been destroyed by fire, origin of the fire being unknown. Mr. Johnson is now building a roller-process grist-mill with a capacity of thirty barrels per day. He has held various township offices, and himself and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
M.D. JOHNSON, farmer, P.O. Benezette, is a son of Ralph and Rebecca (Brooks) Johnson, natives of Yorkshire, England, who came to Benezette in 1812, and settled in what is now known as Grant, Elk county, on the Allegheny Valley Railroad, twelve miles west of Driftwood, Cameron county. Here they cleared a farm and engaged in lumbering, and in 1830, Mr. Johnson built a saw-mill. They reared a family of thirteen children. M.D., the second son was born March 31, 1814. He worked for his father until October, 1845, when he married Miss Massey Overturf, a daughter of Andrew and Hannah (Jordan) Overturf, of Driftwood, Penn. After marriage they removed to the farm where they now reside, upon what is known as Mount Pleasant. Mr. Johnson has been supervisor for one term, and has also held various township offices. Politically he is a Republican. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, at Mount Pleasant.
JULIUS JONES, retired, P.O. Benezette, one of the most successful farmers and lumbering men of Elk county and vicinity, than whom none is more highly esteemed by his fellow-citizens, was born March 26, 1814. His parents, Pellatire and Soviah (Stiles) Jones, were natives of Vermont, but about 1813, settled at Schroon, Essex Co., N.Y., where Julius was born and educated. His mother died when he was but a year old, and his father at the age of sixty-three years. From the time of his mother's death, Julius lived with David Stowell, until he was twenty-twos years of age. Mr. Stowell was a native of Vermont, an early settler of Schroon, N.Y. Mr. Jones was engaged in lumbering in New York State until 1854, in which year he removed to Elk county where he bought a tract of timber land, and continued in the lumber, trade, carrying on farming in connection, until 1880, when he retired from active business life, though still residing on the old homestead in Benezette township. In 1836 Mr. Jones married Miss Polly, daughter of Elihu and Mary (Tubbs) Griswold, the former a native of Vermont and an early settler of Schroon, N.Y., and the latter of Providence, R.I., and to Julius and Polly Jones were born two children: Byron and Parmelia, both now deceased. Mr. Jones is a stanch Democrat, and has always been an active member of his party. For seven years he was county commissioner, and for five years he held the position of associate judge, besides filling various local offices of trust.
ELLIS LEWIS, farmer, P.O. Benezette, is a son of Thomas and Cynthia (Ellis) Lewis, who came to Elk county from Bellefonte, Centre. Co., Penn. His grandparents came from Wales before the Revolution, locating in York county, Penn., and his grandfather, Lewis Lewis, was the first surveyor in Centre county, at the time when that part of the State up to that county was all Northumberland county, becoming afterward deputy surveyor of all the land of that territory. He surveyed all along the Susquehanna river, and afterward up Bald Eagle creek to where Milesburg now stands; also along the Juniata river, and laid out the town of Lewistown, which was named after him, located some thirty miles from Bellefonte, and now the county seat of Mifflin county. In those days the experiences of surveying parties were fraught with much danger from both Indians and wild animals; and Mr., Lewis, perhaps more on the alert than others of his party, always kept a watchful eye, never knowing when a charge on them might be made by the savages. Mrs. Lewis, grandmother of Ellis Lewis, passed from earth in 1840 at the patriarchal age pf one hundred and eight years.
Thomas Lewis, the father of the subject of these lines, in 1804 visited Elk county along with a surveyor named Webb, and then returned home. In 1811 he came to where Driftwood, Cameron county, now stands, and here planted a crop of corn on shares. He raised a good crop, and then, once more proceeded homeward. This region must have possessed a strong fascination for him, however, for in December, 1817, he moved hither his family (including the subject of this sketch) from Bellefonte, Centre county, the journey being made mostly in a canoe. They came up the Susquehanna river to Big Island (now known as Lock Haven), and from there to the mouth of Sinnemahoning creek, up which they pushed to the mouth of the Driftwood branch, thence up the Bennett's Branch creek to their destination, settling near where Ellis Lewis now lives. At that time there were no roads, only a turkey path from Driftwood up to the head of Bennett's Branch creek, an Indian trail continuing on through the wilderness to Sandy Lick creek, thence on to the Indian Reservation on the Allegheny river.
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Lewis reared a family of six children, of whom Ellis is the eldest son, born at Bellefonte, Centre Co., Penn., January 1, 1808. He had no chance to obtain an education, there being no schools in this region at that time. He worked for his father until he was twenty years of age, when he learned the trade of a millwright, which he followed seven years. August 5, 1837, he married Miss Annie B., daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth (Butler) Michaels, who has borne him eleven children. In 1839 he same upon his father's farm, since which time he has been engaged in farming and lumbering, and has been very successful in both pursuits. In 1851 he was elected county treasurer by the Republican party, which office he held for three years, and he has also held various local offices. Mrs. Lewis is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
LUTHER LUCORE, JR., retired farmer, P.O. Benezette, was born in Emporium, Penn., October 28, 1833, the second son in a family of fifteen children born to Luther and Mary (Smith) Lucore, natives of Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. His father came to Emporium in 1818. Mr. Lucore worked upon his father's farm and at lumbering until September 26, 1861, when he entered the United States service, and was assigned to the First Pennsylvania "Bucktail" Regiment, serving two years; at the battle of Fredericksburg he was struck by a minie-ball, which resulted in the loss of a limb. Returning to Emporium, he was engaged as clerk in the hotel of C.C. Fay, where he remained until 1865, when he went to Marion, Iowa, from which place he came, in 1867, to Benezette, where he was in the mercantile business until 1871, when he sold his store and engaged as clerk for B.E. Morey, of Caledonia, Penn. He married, in May, 1874, Mrs. L. E. Chase, widow of M.M. Chase and daughter of David and Jane (Cadwell) Wheeler, and they have two children: Emma L. and Mabel L. Mr. Lucore was a prominent farmer and is a wide-awake citizen; he has held various township offices and is a member of the Benezette Lodge, No. 988, I.O.O.F., also of M. W. Lucore Post, No. 216. G.A.R., of St. Mary's.
JOHN MAHANY, farmer, P.O. Benezette, was born in Bradford county, Penn., June 15, 1844, a son of Jerry and Catherine (McCarty) Mahany, natives of Ireland. Ho is the third son in a family of eight children. When twenty years old, he left home and worked in the lumber woods as foreman for Finley, Young & Co., until 1876, when he was employed in the same capacity for Andrew Kaul, of St. Mary's, until the spring of 1877. He then went to Virginia, where he had bought a farm in 1869, and engaged in farming until 1883, when he returned to Elk county, and again entered the employ of Mr. Kaul, and afterward bought the farm where he now lives. August 5, 1872, Mr. Mahany married Miss Eva M. Cross, daughter of Andrew and Eva Cross. Mrs. Mahany died March 26, 1886, leaving five children: Michael, John, Daniel, Catherine and Eva. October 6, 1887, Mr. Mahany married Mrs. Lena (Ernest) Gragory, widow of John Gragory, and they have one son, Arthur.
W.G. MILLER was born at Lock Haven, Penn., August 28, 1863, a son of George A. and Maria (Mader) Miller, natives of Germany. In 1877 he was graduated form the Lock Haven High School, and in 1882, from Poughkeepsie Business College. He then engaged with D.J. McDonald, merchant and lumberman, in the capacity of book-keeper. He came to Dent's Run, July 1, 1887, and in company with W.A. Hatton, opened a general store, where they did a flourishing and safe business.
ERASMUS MOREY, farmer, P.O. Benezette, a son of Leonard and Phoebe (Wheelock) Morey, was born in Charlton, Mass., May 16, 1796, and with his parents came to Benezette in 1813. His educational advantages were limited, there being at that time no schools in Benezette. He remained at home, working for his father upon the farm until 1824, when he married Miss Mary E., daughter of Frederick and Nancy (Hoyt) Weed, of Benezette, and they reared a family of four children, viz.: Alvina, Lydia (wife of Thomas Tozier, Caledonia, Penn.), Amelia A. (wife of Henry Derr, of Benezette) and B.E. Mrs. Morey died August 19, 1873. After marriage Mr. Morey settled on the farm he now owns, and where he has since resided. From a wilderness it has developed into one of the finest farms in the township. Mr. Morey has been very successful as a farmer and in all his business undertakings, and is now enjoying the fruits of his early industry.
ISAIAH MURRAY, farmer, Benezette, is a son of John and Hannah (Hollinsworth) Murray, natives of Pennsylvania, who came to Wharton township, Potter Co., Penn., where they permanently settled. Isaiah Murray was born in Wharton, Penn., January 24, 1831, and received his education at Mount Pleasant, Benezette township. He worked at the old home until he was twenty-one years of age, when he married Miss Leah Hicks, a daughter of John C. and Sarah (Lewis) Hicks, natives of Pennsylvania, who came to Benezette township in 1813. After his marriage he settled in Benezette, where he still resides. Mr. and Mrs. Murray have had a family of nine children, of whom four are deceased. Mr. Murray has been supervisor of Benezette township for three years. He and his wife are members of the Church of the Messiah at Mount Pleasant.
WILLIAM OVERTURF, farmer, P.O. Benezette, was born in Benezette township, Elk Co., Penn., November 17, 1850, the eldest son of four children of James and Delilah (Barr) Overturf, natives of Clearfield county, Penn.; who were married December 26, 1844, and have since lived in Cameron and Elk counties. William received a practical business education, and worked upon his father's farm until he was eighteen years of age, when he entered the store of Edward Fletcher, of Benezette, where he remained two years. He married, January 7, 1872, Miss Julia Robertson, born in Buffalo, N.Y., July 27, 1854, daughter of Finley and Julia Ann (Nichols) Robertson, natives of Scotland and New York State, respectively. Mr. and Mrs. Overturf have two children: Wright and Finley. Mr. Overturf still resides upon the old homestead, and is employed as clerk by Johnson & Overturf, of Penfield, Penn. ‘He has been prominently identified with., interests of the township; and the family are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Mount Pleasant, Penn.
T.J. SHAFFER, merchant, Benezette, was born at Sinnemahoning, Penn., May 2, 1854, a son of Jacob L. and Nancy (Johnson) Shaffer, of German and Irish origin, respectively. His grandparents were among the early settlers of Cameron and Elk counties. After the completion of his education, Mr. Shaffer remained on the home farm until 1875, when he came to Benezette, engaging with W.E. Johnson as clerk in his general store. He was married, November 11, 1876, to Miss Belle M., a daughter of James F. and Emley (Barr) Thomas, of Benezette, Penn., and they have been blessed with five children: Emley E., Nelly, Curnce M., Teoca and Jacob Cleveland. Mr. Shaffer was engaged in business, for himself, as a lumberman and merchant, until June 20, 1884, when his store and entire stock were destroyed by fire, with a loss of $3,000 on the stock. He continued, however, in the lumber business until May 22, 1889, when he again opened a general store at Benezette. He is a practical business man, and has been successful in all his business ventures through life, and has held various township offices. He is a member of Driftwood Lodge, F. & A.M., and of Benezette Lodge, I.O.O.F.
H.F. WILSON, farmer, P.O. Benezette, was born in Benezette township, Elk Co., Penn., December 23, 1846, a son of H.B. and Jane (Johnson) Wilson, natives of Pennsylvania, who came to Elk county in 1845. The father died in 1880, and the mother still survives, making her home with her son, H.F., who still resides upon the farm settled by his father. They reared a family of seven children, H.F. being the second son. He was educated in the district schools of Benezette township, and worked upon his father's farm during his boyhood days. He married, "September 30, 1873, Olive Lucore, a daughter of Luther and Mary (Smith) Lucore, of Emporium, Penn., who were among the early settlers in Cameron county. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson have one child, Clara J., residing at home. They are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of Mount Pleasant, Penn. Mr. Wilson is a Republican in politics, and has held various township offices.
WILLIAM K. WINSLOW, farmer, P.O. Benezette, is a son of Charles. K. and Rebecca (Hicks). Winslow, the eldest of seven children, and was born in Benezette township, Elk Co., Penn., August 20, 1846, upon the farm where he now resides, and which he purchased in 1875. He received his education in the common schools of Benezette. He married, November 6, 1870, Miss Minnie Lesh, of St. Mary's, Penn., and to them was born one child, Minnie (now deceased). His wife died, August 10, 1872, and in January, 1875, he married Miss Mary M., a daughter of Andrew J. and Eliza M. Johnston, of DuBois, Penn. Mr. and Mrs. Winslow have bad a family of eight children: Eva E., Lorena M. (deceased), Bruce M., Charles B. (deceased), Sylvanus J., William S., Merton H. and Ella E. Mi. and Mrs. Winslow are members of the Church of the Messiah, at Mount Pleasant, Penn.
C.S. WINSLOW, farmer, P.O. Benezette, is a son of Charles K. and Rebecca (Hicks) Winslow, former of whom was born January 23, 1818, in Maine, and latter born November 2, 1826, in Pennsylvania. They were married February 20, 1845, and reared a family of seven children five sons and two daughters, of whom C.S. Winslow is the fourth son. He was born in Benezette township, Elk Co., Penn., October 3, 1852, and received a practical education in the district schools of the township. He has always lived upon the homestead which his father settled, and has for many years taken care of his mother, his father having died April 4, 1869.
GEORGE W. WINSLOW, farmer, P.O. Benezette, was born in Maine, May 25, 1820, the second son of ten boys and four girls born to Carpenter and Beulah (Keene) Winslow, also natives of Maine, who came to Clearfield county, Penn., in 1820. They lived here one year, then removed to Punxsutawney, Penn., where they remained until 1828, when they removed to Benezette township, Elk county, where George W. Winslow still resides. They were obliged to endure many hardships incident to pioneer life, bringing all provisions in a canoe from Lock Haven, a distance of seventy-five miles, taking two and one-half days to push the canoe up the stream. George W. Winslow was educated in the common schools of Benezette township, and worked on the home farm until he was twenty-five years of age, when he purchased two hundred acres of land in Benezette township and began life for himself as a farmer. He has been successful in life, still retaining the farm he purchased in early manhood, upon which he has erected fine buildings, and which gives evidence of prosperity and thrift. His father and mother made their home with him during the latter years of their life.
C.H. WINSLOW, inspector of timber, and blacksmith, Benezette, is a son of James and Elizabeth (Miller) Winslow, natives of Maine, who came to Jefferson county, Penn., in 1818. They reared a family of twelve children, C.H. being the third son. He was born April 19, 1837, at Punxsutawney, Penn., and here received an education in the district schools, working upon the farm with his father during his boyhood days. In July, 1858, he came to Benezette, and engaged with Reuben Winslow as clerk in a general store, where he remained until 1863. He married in July, 1864, Miss Ellen J., a daughter of William and Eva B. Deer, natives of Union county, Penn., and they have had a family of ten children, seven of whom are still living. After his marriage, Mr. Winslow engaged in lumbering, and his time was divided between that business and blacksmithing, until 1887, since when he has been employed as a timber and log inspector. He has held various township offices, such as supervisor, school director, auditor, etc. Mr. and Mrs. Winslow are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
G.L. WINSLOW, butcher and proprietor of meat market, Benezette, is a son of Eben and Elizabeth (Hicks) Winslow, natives of Pennsylvania, and was born in the woods during the great flood of 1847, it having driven the family from their home. He received a practical education in Benezette, Penn., and, his father dying, he was thrown upon his own resources at the age of fifteen years. He went into the woods and cut timber, the second winter clearing $1,100; thus, when still a young man, securing a fair start in the world. He married, October 24, 1869, Miss Martha A., daughter of Benjamin and Margaret (Frisbee) Lee, of Caledonia, Penn., and to them have been born six children, all living at home and named as follows: Cora E., Ebon L., Roy, Byron, Jennie E. and Floyd L. In 1871 Mr. Winslow rented the Benezette Hotel, which he conducted until 1875, when he removed to what is now the Winslow House, where he remained until the spring of 1889, when he opened a meat market, which he still conducts with marked success in connection with his butchering business.
JAMES BLAKE; JR., blacksmith and wheelwright, Weedville, was born in Michigan, August 29, 1850, a son of James C. and Lucinda (McConnell) Blake. When fourteen years of age he entered a blacksmith shop as an apprentice, serving three years, and in 1868 he came to Elk county, Penn., where he engaged in lumbering. In 1872 he opened a blacksmith shop, in Weedville, which he has since successfully conducted. Mr. Blake married, in February, 1884, Miss Annie Beck, of Armstrong county, Penn., and they have three children, named as follows: James O., Charles A. and Franklin.
E.L. BROOKINS, farmer, P.O. Caledonia, is a native of New York State, born in Montgomery county, January 8, 1836, a son of Charles and Betsy (Lindsley) Brookins, who came to Elk county, Penn., in the fall of 1839, and lived in the old pine school-house the ensuing winter. They reared a family of ten children, the subject of this sketch being the fifth son. He worked for his father until he was twenty-one years of age, when he engaged in lumbering. He was in the Civil war, enlisting July 17, 1861, and was assigned to Company G, Forty-second Regiment, P.R.V.C., serving until the close of the war, and participating in many battles; was wounded in the right arm by a ball, and was honorably discharged June 28, 1865. His regiment was known as the old "Bucktail" regiment, which took part in nearly every battle fought by the Army of the Potomac, from Drainesville to the surrender of Lee at Appomattox Courthouse. He returned to his home, and in November, 1868, was married to Miss Harriet, a daughter of S.R. and Phoebe (Pearsall) Gardner. She died, June 6, 1875, leaving three children: Alice E., Martha J. (deceased) and Harriet E. Mr. Brookins still resides upon the old homestead, in Jay township, where his father lived and died.
R. BURK, sawyer, Caledonia, was born in Northumberland county, Penn., March 24, 1844, the fifth son of six children born to James and Jane (Nieff) Burk, natives of Pennsylvania. The mother died when our subject was eight years of age, and from that time, until he was seventeen, he followed the canal. In 1861 he enlisted in the United States army, and was assigned to Company D, Third Artillery, Pennsylvania Volunteers, in which he served well and faithfully until the close of the Rebellion, in 1865. Returning home, he engaged with the Philadelphia & Erie Railroad as fireman, filled the place three years and was promoted to engineer, which position he held one year, when he came to Jay township, and entered the employ of O. Dodge, in the capacity of sawyer. Mr. Burke married, in July, 1867, Miss Elizabeth, a daughter of William and Catherine (Brumbach) Levan, of Reading, Penn. Mrs. Burk died in August, 1887, the mother of nine children, six of whom are still living. July, 1888, Mr. Burk married Cora B., daughter of David and Charlotte (Kinner) Dixon, of Jay township, and to them has been born one child. Mr. Bark is a member of Benezette Lodge, No. 988, I.O.O.F; White Pine Lodge, No,. 478, K. of P., and Washington Camp, No. 437, P.O.S. of A.
C.J. DILL, farmer, P.O. Caledonia, was born in St. Mary's, Elk Co., Penn., December 21, 1849, a son of Joseph and Barbara (Schiessell) Dill, natives of Germany. They were married in St. Mary's, and here they afterward resided. C.J. is the eldest of six children. When twelve years of age, he began working in the woods, cutting lumber. He was married, October 30, 1877, to Miss Mary M., a daughter of Herman and Caroline (Groover) Straessley, of Fox township, Elk Co., Penn., and to them have been born five children, named as follows: Herman J., Frances E., John A., Annie G. and William G. Mr. Dill is a Democrat in politics, and in November, 1888, he was elected jury commissioner; he has also served one term as township auditor. The family are members of the Catholic, Church.
O. DODGE, lumberman, P.O. Caledonia, was born in Burlington, Bradford Co., Penn., October 2, 1824, a son of Loren and Jane (Head) Dodge, natives of Massachusetts. They reared a family of five children, our subject being the second son. Mr. Dodge received, a practical business education in the common schools of Bradford county, but worked at home on his father's farm until October 19, 1846, when he married Miss Amanda Smith, daughter of Rufus and Eunice (Mead) Smith, of Connecticut. In 1846 he also engaged in mercantile business, which he continued three years, when be returned to the farm, on which he passed another period of three years, after which he removed to Mississippi, and engaged in lumbering. In 1865 he came to Elk county, where he reengaged in lumbering and still resides. Mr. Dodge has held various township offices, and is a successful business man.
S.R. GARDNER, farmer, P.O. Caledonia, was born in Otsego county, N.Y.; August 4, 1819, a son of John and Polly (Abbey) Gardner, who came to Elk county in 1822, settling in Jay township. S.R. Gardner is the eldest son of sixteen children. He remained at home until he was eighteen years of age, when he began life for himself by working for others, and was employed by one man for six years. He was married, in August, 1843, to Miss Phoebe, a daughter of Peter and Hannah (Clement) Pearsall, who removed to Elk county from Saratoga, N.Y., in 1822, and settled in Jay (then Fox) township. Mr. and Mrs. Gardner have reared a family of sixteen children, ten of whom are still living. Before his marriage Mr. Gardner bought a small farm, which he afterward sold; the one where he now resides is owned by his son. He has taken an active part in local politics, and has held various township offices.
ABEL GRESH, merchant, Weedville, was born in Berks county, Penn., March 7, 1842, a son of Daniel and Susannah K. Gresh, natives of that county. His father's family consisted of twelve children seven sons and five daughters, he being the ninth child, and sixth son. His parents being poor, he was bound out at the age of ten years to an uncle, John Kooser, of Lawrence county. He served there eight long and weary years, toiling on his uncle's farm, not being permitted to visit his native home in all that time. He then was hired to a drover of the neighborhood, and assisted in driving a drove of cattle from New Wilmington, Lawrence county, to Harrisburg, occupying three weeks and one day on the, journey. He then started by railroad to visit his old home, being nearly eighteen years old a scuff suit on his back, and $17 in his pocket, with which to battle the world for himself. He found his relatives, but his home was broken up, and a kind mother's heart alone left to counsel and assist him. He worked at whatever his hands found to do, and attended common school in winter, for two years, when, having saved a few dollars, he attended school at Mount Pleasant Seminary, Boyerstown, Berks county. After attending the school for seven weeks, examinations for teachers were held in the neighborhood, and, entering one of the classes, passed examination successfully, being the second in a class of fifteen to receive a certificate to teach. He then taught a term of four months, and in the spring attended a normal institute, held in Pottstown, for ten weeks, after which he labored during the summer, and taught the following winter a term of six months. In the spring of 1863 he entered Freeland Seminary, afterward known as Ursinus College, at Collegeville, Montgomery Co., Penn., where he continued his studies for five terms. In 1864 he received the appointment of assistant teacher and prefect at the house of refuge, Philadelphia, Penn. After discharging the duties of this appointment about six months, an enrollment was made to draft men to fill our serried ranks in the army. Being a single man, he felt it his duty to enlist, which he did in March, 1865, enlisting in Company C, Two Hundred and Fourteenth Pennsylvania Volunteers. He was honorably discharged at the close of the war, and returned to Philadelphia. In May of the same year he came to Elk county, engaging as weighman in the coal mines at Kersey. In 1876, in company with his brother, Augustus, he engaged in lumbering at Gilbertsville, Penn., but he finally returned to Elk county, and assisted W.H. May, civil engineer, in surveying. He remained in his employ until December, 1877, when he came to Weedville and started in the mercantile business, which he is successfully conducting at the present time. Mr. Gresh married, in February, 1888; Mrs. Sarah J. Bader, widow of the late John Bader, and daughter of George Hane, of Armstrong county, Penn. They have had two children: Ruby and Pearl (twins), the latter of whom died August 23, 1889. Mr. Gresh has held the offices of justice of the peace for nine years, and various other offices of public trust, and is one of the wide-awake men of the township.
W.W. HOOVER, jeweler, P.O. Caledonia, was born in Clearfield county, Penn., September 3, 1844, the eldest son of twelve children nine boys and three girls born to Abraham and Margaret (Murray) Hoover, natives of Clear-field county, Penn., and the former of German origin. Mr. Hoover received a practical business education in the public schools of Clearfield, and worked upon his father's farm until he was twenty-two years of age, when he engaged in the lumber business on his own account, coming to Elk county, in 1888, and conducting the same successfully until November 1, 1888, when he commenced the jewelry business, dealing in watches, clocks, jewelry, silverware and glasses, and making repairing a specialty. He married in November, 1869, Miss Drucilla, a daughter of Ira and Margaret (Hicks) Greene, of Benezette, Penn., who were among the first settlers of Elk county, Penn. No children have been born to this union, but Mr. Hoover has reared two girls, both now married. Mr. Hoover, in 1874, joined Wallaceton Lodge, No. 411, Knights of Pythias, Clearfield county. He is now a member of White Pine Lodge, No. 478, Knights of Pythias, at Benezette; of the Ellsworth Lodge, No. 489, at Penfield, Clearfield county, and of Caledonia Lodge, No. 437, Patriotic Order Sons of America, and of the American Mechanics of Penfield. Mrs. Hoover is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Caledonia.
J.B. MILLER, farmer, P.O. Caledonia, is the eldest son of Michael and Tracy (Craterer) Miller, and was born in Philadelphia, Penn., June 19, 1838. His parents were natives of Germany, and came to America in 1836, first locating in Philadelphia, where they remained until 1847, when they removed to St. Mary's, Penn. They afterward purchased a farm in Jay township, where they remained the rest of their lives. J.B. Miller, worked upon the farm with his father until 1861, when he enlisted in the service of his country. He served three months in the famous "Bucktail" Regiment of Pennsylvania, and afterward re-enlisted in the Eighty-fourth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, serving one year, when he was discharged on account of disability. After his return home, he went to Chicago, Ill., returning in the fall of 1865, when he married Miss Sophia, a daughter of George Zimmerman, of Williamsport, Penn., and to them were born six children, five of whom are still living. Mr. Miller remained in Williamsport until 1873, when he returned to Jay township, and engaged in farming. He has held various township offices, and is a member of White Pine Lodge, No. 478, Knights of Pythias, of Benezette.
J.S. MILLER, farmer, P.O. Caledonia, was born in Philadelphia, Penn., April 24, 1844, a son of Michael and Tracy Miller, who came from Philadelphia to St. Mary's, Penn., in 1847, and settled upon the farm, where J.S. now resides, in 1850. During his early manhood Mr. Miller worked upon the farm with his father, the latter making his home with his son in his old age. In 1861 J.S. Miller entered the United States service, and was assigned to Company I, Eighty-fourth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, and served until the close of the war, when he was honorably discharged from the 57th Pa. V.V. and returned to his farm in Jay township. He married, in June, 1876, Miss Anna, a daughter of Matthias Huff, of Clarion county, Penn., and they have three children: Maggie M., Lizzie A. and Tracy M. J.S. Miller has held various township offices, and is highly respected by his fellow-citizens:
M.A. OVELL, farmer, P.O. Caledonia, was born in Jay township, Elk Co., Penn., June 1, 1862, a son of Jacob and Sarah B. Ovell, natives of Pennsylvania, who settled in Jay township, where they reared a family of nine children, M.A. being the second son. Mr. Ovell was early in life thrown upon his own resources, his father dying, and leaving him, a boy of twelve years, to assist in the support of the family. When he was fifteen years of age he began working for others, and when twenty-one he removed to the old homestead, which had been left by his father to three surviving sons and three daughters in equal parts. The youngest daughter died unmarried and the other two sold their portions to David Dixon; our subject bought out Mr. Dixon for $660, and paid the sons $300 each for their portions, and thus became sole possessor of the farm. This fact renders the old home and its associations an object of interest and regard to Mr. Ovell and his family. He married, December 25, 1882, Miss Lovern Stephens, who was born in Blue Rock, Penn., May 28, 1862, a daughter of Jonathan and Almira (Welsh) Stephens, and they have been blessed with two children: Stella C. and Carrie G.
N.S. SHAFFER, manager of general store, Caledonia, was born in Sinnemahoning, Cameron Co., Penn., September 12, 1861, the elder of two children born to Joseph and Eliza (McCloskey) Shaffer, natives of Pennsylvania. He received a practical business education in his native town, and remained with his parents until he was fifteen years of age, then worked in mills at Sinnemahoning and Benezette until he was seventeen, when he went to Caledonia, Penn., where he was employed by Andrew Kaul as a shipper of lumber. He worked for Mr. Kaul six months, and was afterward, for three years, in the employ of J.E. Putnam as lumber inspector and counter, since which time he has been engaged with W.E. Zierden, as general manager of a large store in Caledonia (since June 25, 1888, owned by M.E. Taylor), showing by his successful management his thorough ability and understanding of the business. Mr. Shaffer married, January 12, 1886, Miss Mary E., a daughter of H.D. and Amelia (Morey) Derr, of Benezette, and they have one child: Edna Larue Shaffer. Mr. Shaffer is a member of Benezette Lodge, No. 988, I.O.O.F.; Caledonia Lodge, No. 437, Patriotic Order Sons of America, and also of the Knights of Pythias, Ellsworth Lodge, No. 489, Penfield, Penn.
F.A. TOZIER, merchant, Caledonia, was born in Benezette township, Elk Co., Penn., January 5, 1851, and is a son of Thomas and Lydia (Morey) Tozier, the former of whom came to Caledonia from Maine in 1848, and the latter was born in Benezette township. They reared a family of eight children, F.A. being the eldest son. When a young man he developed unusual business ability, and when twenty years of age entered into partnership with B.E. Morey in the mercantile business in Jay township. After a few months, however, his father employed him as foreman in the lumber business in Elk county, where he remained until 1875, when he entered the Williamsport Commercial College, from which he was eventually graduated. He then spent three years lumbering in Wisconsin, but finally returned to Pennsylvania, and was employed by the Portland Lumber Company, of Vineyard Run, in the capacity of book-keeper. In 1885 he purchased an interest in the firm of G.W. Tozier & Co., and returned to Caledonia in March, 1889. Mr. Tozier has held the office of auditor of the township, and has always taken an active interest in the advancement and prosperity of the social and business interests of his town. He is a man of excellent capabilities in his management of business. He is a member of Ellsworth Lodge, No. 489, Knights of Pythias, Penfield, Penn.; also a member of Washington Camp, No. 437, P.O.S. of A., Caledonia, Penn.
SAMUEL UHL, farmer, P.O. Caledonia, was born in Germany, April 4, 1840, a son of Christopher and Annie (Brunner) Uhl. The family came to Elk county, Penn., in 1840, and settled in St. Mary's. They reared a family of eight children, Samuel being the second son. When fourteen years of age our subject went to Sligo, Clarion Co., Penn., and was employed four years in the iron works, at the close of which time he removed to Centreville and engaged in lumbering. In February, 1868, he married Miss Tracy Cross, a. daughter of Andrew Cross, of Fox township, and she bore him six children, five of whom are still living: Katie, William A., Josephine, Tracy L. and John E. Mrs. Uhl died in 1875. In 1869 Mr. Uhl purchased the farm where he now resides. He has been supervisor of the township, and is a highly respected citizen. He is a member of the Catholic Church.
JUSTUS WEED, postmaster, Weedville, was born at what is now Weedville, Jay township, Elk Co., Penn., December 18, 1831, a son of A.B. and Charlotte (Mead) Weed, natives of New York State, who came to Elk county, Penn., in 1818. They reared a family of seven children, the subject of this sketch being the fourth son. He worked for his father until he was twenty-three years of age, when, in March, 1854, he married Miss E.J., a daughter of John and Elizabeth (Hunter) Tudor, who came to Weedville in 1853. Mr. and Mrs. Weed have three children, viz.: Abijah B., Manley E. and Eva E. (wife of J.H. Webb, Falls Creek, Penn.). J.H. Webb was born in Weedville, and is a son of William M. and F. Elizabeth (Morey) Webb, both residents of that place. Mr. Weed purchased a farm in Jay township, and in 1882 engaged in the mercantile business in Weedville. He has always taken an active interest in the welfare and growth of the township, and has held various local offices, now being postmaster of Weedville. Mrs. Weed is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
THEODORE F. YOUNG, lumber inspector, Caledonia, was born March 12, 1845, at Flemington, Hunterdon Co., N.J., and is the eldest son of William R. and Hannah (Stires) Young, also natives of New Jersey. He came to Williamsport, Penn., with his parents, in 1854, and here he was reared and educated. When but a lad of seventeen years he entered his country's service, enlisting in August, 1862. He was assigned to Company B, One Hundred and Thirty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers, served nine months, and afterward re-enlisted in the Third New York Light Artillery. After two and one-half years service he was wounded, and returned home to Williamsport. He married, September 3, 1866, Miss Mary, a daughter of Lewis Carter, of Bethlehem, Penn., and to them have been born three children, named as follows: William B. (telegraph operator for the Philadelphia & Erie Railroad Company, at Williamsport), May B. and Minnie (both at home). Mr. Young was engaged as a shipper of lumber in his father's mill until in 1883, when it was destroyed by fire. Since then he has been employed in the same capacity with J.E. Putnam and Col. James Cochran, being with the latter at the present time. Mr. Young is a member of the Williamsport Post, No. 385, G.A.R., Caledonia Lodge, No. 437, Patriotic Order Sons of America; Williamsport Lodge, No 106, F. & A.M., Chapter No. 222, and Williamsport Lodge, No. 662, I.O.O.F.
Source: Page(s) 774-788, 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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