PAGenWeb McKean County, Pennsylvania
Elk, Cameron, and Potter, Pennsylvania
J.H. Beers, Chicago, 1890
Keating Township & Borough of Smethport Biographical Sketches
N.W. ABBEY, merchant, Smethport, son of Timothy and Betsy (Jaycox) Abbey, was born at New Berlin, Chenango Co., N. Y., in 1819, and with his parents removed to Norwich township, McKean county, where his father became a farmer. Their family consisted of four sons and four daughters, of whom three are deceased. N.W., the second son, received a common-school education, and learned the carpenter's trade, which he followed until 1886, when he started a grocery, flour and feed store in Smethport. He married Emily P. Patterson in 1850, and they have two sons: J. B. and Pitt E. Mr. Abbey is an active Republican, and was elected county commissioner in 1881, serving a term of three years.
M. N. ALLEN, justice of the peace and insurance agent, East Smethport, was born in Steuben county, N. Y., January 21, 1854, a son of Alfred and Jane (Davis) Allen, natives of New York State. He received a practical business education in Watkins, N. Y., and when only thirteen years of age began working in a foundry and machine shop, where he remained five years; then engaged with Matteson Brothers, of Watkins, N. Y., to learn the millwright trade; he worked there for six years, when he came to East Smethport with the same firm for the purpose of building the extract works. Since that time he has rebuilt the works throughout, and has also been engaged in constructing bridges, etc. He married July 3, 1878,MIiss Emma. daughter of William S. and Belinda (Hall) Oviatt. William S. Oviatt published the first newspaper in this section of the country. Mr. and Mrs. Allen are the parents of four children, named as follows: Barber D., Bessie O., Rena R. and Frank, all at home. Mr. Allen worked at his trade until 1884, when he was elected justice of the peace at East Smethport, since which time he has been engaged in the duties of his office and in the insurance business. Mr. Allen has erected a handsome residence in East Smethport, and is one of the wide-awake men of the town.
JAMES F. ANGLUN, county commissioner, Smethport, was born in County Clare, Ireland, in 1846, and with his parents, Thomas and Bridget Angling, came to Steuben county, N. Y., in 1849, where he remained until 1860, when he removed to Scranton, Penn. In 1861 he enlisted in Company K, Seventeenth Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry. He was twice wounded, first at the battle of Gettysburg, and again at Five Forks. He was promoted to first lieutenant, was discharged at the close of the war, and removed to Bradford, Penn., where he was engaged is hotel keeping and the oil-producing business, and was for eight years member of the council and of the school board. There he remained until July, 1888, when he came to Smethport, having been elected as one of the county commissioners in 1887. He married May 16, 1887, Catherine Cannavan, and they had ten children, six of whom are still living: John F., aged twenty years; Nellie, fifteen years; Thomas C., thirteen years; Mary, nine years; Charles, six years, and William, three years. Mr. Angling is a member of the Union Veteran Legion and of the Catholic Church. In politics he is a Democrat.
A. B. ARMSTRONG, druggist, Smethport, is a son of Alexander and Julia Armstrong, and was born at Cuba, Allegany Co., N.Y., in 1838. His parents were originally from Seneca county, N.Y., bat removed to Allegany county about 1830, being among the pioneers of that county. They were married at Nunda, Livingston Co., N.Y. Alexander Armstrong was a cabinet maker by trade, and for many years resided at Cuba, N: Y. ; he was also a contractor, engaged upon the construction of the Erie Canal, but moved to Rushford, Allegany county, in 1849, and went west in 1860, locating in Iowa. They reared a family of eight children, of whom but three are living: A. B., M. L. (a merchant in Smethport) and Alice (now Mrs. J. L. Anderson, of Kansas). A. B. Armstrong completed his education at Rushford Academy, Allegany Co., N. Y., and in 1854 became an employee of Joseph Hyde, of Ridgway, Penn., with whom he remained about a year; then was clerk in a store and hotel for James M. Miller at Smethport, and later with Ford & Smith, merchants. In 1857 he became associated with Gideon Irons in the purchase of the grocery store of It. F. Williams, and the general store of Ford & Smith, the firm name being Irons & Armstrong. He continued in business for about two years, when he sold his interest to his partner and began the study of law with John C. Backus, of Smethport, being admitted to the bar in 1861. He, however, never became a practitioner, and that year found him in the grocery trade as the senior member of the firm of A. B. Armstrong & Co. In this he was engaged until 1866. In that year he, with H. L. McCoy, purchased the drug store of Seems & Hogarth, corner of Main and State streets it being the only drug store in the county at that date. In 1869 he was elected a member of the legislature, representing the counties of Clinton, Cameron and McKean, which necessitated a dissolution of partnership, and since his return to private life he has been in business alone. In 1860 Mr. Armstrong married Carrie, daughter of David R. Bennett. and they have one child, Ethel. Mr. Armstrong is a member of McKean Lodge, No. 334, F. & A. M., and of the Chapter at Olean. Politically he is a Democrat. Mr. Armstrong is practically a self-made man, and in the evening of his years enjoys the fruits of a successful business career, having the esteem and confidence of the community generally. Domestic in his tastes, he has never, with but one exception, accepted positions of a political nature which tended to separate him from the home circle, although he served as justice of the peace for ten years, and was a member of the borough council many terms; an active member in the Rose Hill Cemetery Association, holding the position of treasurer for the last twenty years; was also among the first to organize the Smethport Water Company--securing to Smethport one of the best systems in the State--being the treasurer and manager and director from its first meeting; he was also among the first citizens of Smethport to secure and make successful the Smethport Gas Company, which supplies the borough with fuel--being its treasurer and managing director; also any enterprise with which Smethport was to be benefited found in Mr. Armstrong a champion and an earnest supporter. He is contented with his lot, and is the owner of the oldest drug store in McKean county.
M. L. ARMSTRONG, jeweler, express agent and telegraph operator, Smethport, son of Alexander Armstrong, was born in Cuba, N. Y., in 1845. In early years he attended school at Cuba, and when thirteen years old his parents removed to Denmark, Iowa, where he completed his studies, remaining there until he was nineteen years of age. In 1865 he came to Smethport and engaged in the jewelry trade, which he still continues. He is also agent for the American Express Company and has charge of the telegraph office; he was also postmaster for many years. Mr. Armstrong married Alice, daughter of John R. Chadwick, but she did not long survive her marriage, dying in November, 1$77, and he afterward married Miss Nettie Ripley, daughter of William Ripley. She died in November, 1887, leaving two children--one son and one daughter. Mr. Armstrong is a member of the Select Knights of the A. O. U.W. He has been burgess of the borough, and for the past three years has been a member of the council and trustee of the borough.
L. J. BACKER, one of the proprietors of the Smethport Extract Works, East Smethport, son of Peter and Lovisa Backer, was born in Tioga county, Penn., in 1836, where he was reared and educated and began his business career. For several years he was in the employ of a large hemlock extract company, and as their traveling agent and salesman visited nearly all the territories of the United States, also Europe. While in their employ he contemplated the establishing of a company, and the erection of works for the manufacture of an extract for tanner's that would be in every way serviceable and reliable. With that purpose in view ho devoted a year's time, and expended over $1,000 in traveling through the hemlock districts in search of a location. Finally his attention was called to Smethport, which is located in one of the finest white hemlock districts in the world, and he decided to make this the place of his operations. He accordingly had the necessary buildings erected, supplying them with the latest improved machinery, and in 1877 began the manufacture of the extract. In 1883 the buildings were destroyed by fire, but were immediately rebuilt, and greatly enlarged, having now a capacity of 300 barrels weekly, being the largest works of the kind in the United States, and affording employment to a large number of men. The factory is now under the superintendence of Mr. Backer's son, Clarence A., Mr. Backer and his family residing in Boston. Mass. Mr. Backer was married in 1860 to Miss H. E. Peters, and they have three children, two daughters and one son: Minnie E, Effie L. and Clarence A. In religion Mr. Backer is a Methodist, and in politics a Republican.
MAJOR JOHN C. BACKUS (deceased). Among the leading and representative men of Smethport, no one has held a higher place in the affections and esteem of its people than the late Maj. John C. Backus, who for nearly half a century was closely connected with all their efforts for its welfare and improvement. Maj. Backus was generous almost to a fault, no one needing help ever applying to him in vain; naturally positive and energetic, he pursued with untiring zeal every cause he championed, and every work he undertook. He was born in 1817, at Lee, Berkshire Co., Mass., and had seven brothers and two sisters, of whom Cornelia (the eldest, born in 1801), William and Seth survive him. In his fourth year his parents, Thomas and Rebecka Backus, removed to Lansing, N. Y., where his childhood and youth were spent. He was a graduate of Oberlin College, Ohio. After attaining his majority, he with his older brother, Seth, engaged in the lumbering business at Wellsville, N. Y., and in 1845 they came to Turtle Point, McKean Co., Penn., where they purchased a saw-mill (the remains of which are still to be seen), and continued their lumbering operations at that point, until 1848, when, becoming tired of the business, John C. removed to Smethport, and commenced the study of law with N. W. Goodrich, a then prominent lawyer of the county. Mr. Backus was admitted to the bar in 1851, and to practice in the supreme court in 1856. For over twenty-five years he was engaged in nearly every important case tried in the county, and at the time of his death, which occurred October 26, 1888, he had practiced law for a longer time than any other attorney in McKean county, except Hon. B. D. Hamlin. In politics Mr. Backus took an active part, being a lifelong Democrat, and in 1851 was elected register and recorder of McKean county; was burgess of Smethport borough about ten years, and was a member of the legislature in 1875 and 1876. He was one of the first to answer the nation's call to arms in 1861, and in December of that year was commissioned captain of Company E, Fifty-eighth Regiment, P. V. I., afterward rising to the rank of major; he participated in all the engagements of his regiment until he was compelled to resign on account of ill health, in 1863. In 1877 Sheridan Gorton, of Friendship, N. Y., became his law partner, continuing with him until the major's decease, and succeeded to his extensive law practice. He was a charter member of McKean Post. No. 347, G. A. R., and its second commander. In 1857 he married Mary, the only daughter of Solomon Sartwell, one of the oldest residents of the county, and to them were born two children: Frank, who died in infancy, and Cora, who died in 1880. This wife died in 1860, and in 1861 Major Backus married Mary A. Windsor, daughter of Ebed and Mary A. Windsor, who, with eight children--six sons and two daughters--was left to mourn his loss. His funeral obsequies were conducted by the Masons, of which order he was a prominent member. No more fitting tribute can be paid his memory than that said of him by his brethren Of the bar. "In him his country has lost one who proved, by his acts, that he fully appreciated the duty of a good citizen and true patriot. In him his wife has lost a kind husband, children an indulgent father, and kin of every degree a generous friend."
JOHN BAKER, proprietor of planning-mill, Smethport. son of Ezra and Sarah (Sweet) Baker, was born at Stanbridge, Canada, in 1821. With his parents he removed to Malone, Franklin Co., N. Y., and thence to Red Rock, and in 1847 he became an employee on a railroad. In 1873 Mr. Baker came to Smethport, where he bought a planning-mill of Sheridan Gorton, and is still engaged in planning and manufacturing moulding, sash, doors and blinds. In 1854 he married Miss Betsy P. Barnum, and they have had eight children: Charley, Frank S., Fred M., John W., Josie E., George W. and two who died in infancy. Mr. and Mrs. Baker are members of the Methodist Church. In politics he is a Republican.
GEORGE N. BARRETT, farmer, P. O. Smethport, is a son of Gard. net and Elizabeth Barrett, was born in Keating Township, McKean Co., Penn., in 1849. His father was one of the pioneers of the county, coming here in 1825, and engaging in farming. He had a family of four children, of whom three are living, viz: John C., George N. and Cyrus E. The father died in March. l887; the mother still survives. George N. Barrett attended the schools of McKean county, also other educational institutions abroad, and after the completion of his studies married, in 1872, Ellmerett, daughter of J. W. Stark, of Keating township, after which they located on the farm he now owns in that township, and where he has since been engaged in farming. They have one child, Frances E. Mr. Barrett is an active and prominent worker for the Republican party, having been for three years auditor of the county. He has also been supervisor, overseer of the poor, and has filled various political positions in his township. He is a member of McKean Lodge, No. 388, F. & A. M.; Arnold Chapter, No. 254, R. A. M.; Bradford Council, No. 43, R. & S. M., and Trinity Commandery, No. 58, K. T.
E. M. BELL, merchant, East Smethport, was born in Susquehanna county, Penn., in 1846. where he attended school until 1859, when his parents, Worthy and Julianna Bell, removed to Cattaraugus county, N. Y., where he completed his education. He then accepted a clerkship with a commercial house in Olean, N. Y., remaining there until the disastrous fire of 1865 threw him out of employment; then he entered a wholesale dry goods house in New York City, remaining till December, 1867, and then became one of the firm of Bell Bros. at Limestone, N. Y., still retaining an interest there. He, however, became associated as partner with Messrs. Stickney & Co., the firm now being Stickney, Bell & Co., of East Smethport, dealers in general merchandise, and they are now doing an immense business. He is a member of Henry Rennet Lodge, No. 780, F. & A. M. He affiliates with the Democratic party, and is a member of the Methodist Church. In 1869 he married Nellie C. Beardsley, and they have two children: May and Carl.
R. W. BLOODSWORTH, merchant, East Smethport, is a son of John and Elizabeth (Pew) Bloodsworth, natives of Hamilton, Canada, who came to Pennsylvania in 1867. He was born in Hamilton, Canada, in August, 1863, and came to Erie county with his parents when four years of age. When twelve years of age he entered a store in Oil City, Penn., where he remained until 1881, when he went to Olean, N. Y., and was employed in the store of N. S. Butler, dry goods merchant, for one year, at the close of which time he went to Philadelphia, and engaged with the dry goods firm of Sharpless & Sons. Here he remained for one year, at the close of which time he came to Carlton, Penn., and took charge of a store for Stickney, Bell & Co. In December, 1886, he came to East Smethport, where he is now employed by Stickney, Bell & Co. as overseer. Mr. Bloodsworth married in November, 1883, Miss Minnie, daughter of Rufus Page, of Olean, N. Y., and they have two children: Robert and Charles. He is a member of Smethport Lodge. No. 389, I. O. O.F. Mr. and Mrs. Bloodsworth are members of the Baptist Church of Smethport.
ALFRED J. BOND, farmer and lumberman, P. O. Smethport, is a son of James A. and Elizabeth P. Bond, and was born on Marvin creek, Keating township, McKean Co., Penn., in 1860. James A. Bond purchased what is known as the Bond coal vein, a tract of land containing about 400 acres, the occupation of which necessitated the opening of a railroad. After making the purchase, James Bond, grandfather of Alfred J., removed to this locality, and they were the means of developing the coal mines here, which have been extensively operated. They sold that tract, however, and located on Marvin creek on the old Marvin farm, the first settled farm on the creek. Here they passed the remainder of their lives engaged in agriculture. The family of James A. and Elizabeth P. Bond consisted of two sons and two daughters, viz. : Laura A., now Mrs. Harley Sawyer; Emma, now Mrs. Strong Hayden, of Wyoming county, N. Y.; Alfred J. and Erastus, the latter attending college in Eastern Pennsylvania. Alfred J. Bond completed his education at the Smethport Academy, and in 1886 married Miss Christine, daughter of Casper Hafner, of Sergeant township, this county. After his marriage he located on the old homestead, and has since been engaged in farming, and also extensively in the lumber business. His father was one of the representative men of this portion of the county, liberal in dispensing charity to the needy, and respected by all. He died in 1881, having lost his wife, Elizabeth P., about eight years previously, and. after remaining a widower about five years, married Miss Amy K. Lackey, who still survives. A. J. Bond is a member of McKean Lodge, No. 388, F. & A. M. He is in politics a Republican, and for two terms has been supervisor of his township.JOSEPH W. BOUTON, attorney at law, Smethport, son of Enoch E. and Mary L. (Crandall) Bouton, was born in Cattaraugus county, N. Y., in 1856. When a child of twelve years of age he began life's struggle, and although young in years, seeing the value of as education, secured the best his limited means afforded. He was engaged in the hardware business about two years in Port Allegany, McKean county; then accepted a position as book-keeper, which he held for five years. He was also deputy clerk of courts and recorder of deeds of McKean county, during which time he read law with the Hon. Judge Morrison, and was admitted to the bar in 1885. He began the practice of law in Smethport, and in October, 1887, became associated in the practice with J. N. Apple, the firm name being Apple & Bouton, and they enjoy a large and remunerative practice, Mr. Bouton was candidate for district attorney, but was defeated by a small majority. In 1877 he married Julia A., daughter of Luther Eastman, of Ceres township, McKean Co., and they have one child, Victor B., nine years of age. Mr. Benton votes with the Democratic party. W. S. BROWNELL, retired merchant, Smethport, was born October 27, 1818, and is a native of Cicero, Onondaga Co., N. Y., whence he removed in the spring of 1857, to Smethport, Penn., where he became a merchant, and carried on business until 1882, having previous to latter year admitted his sons as partners He married, on August 22, 1852, Miss Octavia Howard, born October 13, 1822, and became the father of throe children: G. R., F. W. and Addie, the last of whom was married to William F. Specht, May 15, 1889. Brownell Bros. (G. R. and F. W.) is now the style of the firm, which upon the retirement of W. S. Brownell became successor to Brownell & Sons, and they are now doing a prosperous business in general merchandise. Of these brothers at Smethport, Fred. W. is a member of McKean Lodge, No. 3S8, F. & A. M., of Bradford Chapter, No. 260, R. A. M., and of Trinity Commandery, No. 5S, K. T., and has been master of McKean Lodge for three years. He was elected burgess of the borough of Smethport in 1888. G.R. Brownell is a member of the Select Knights, A. O. U.W. Both brothers are identified with the Democratic party.
JOHN T. BURKHOLDER, general merchant, P. O. Cyclone, was born June 19, 1841, and was reared and educated in Lycoming county, Penn. He served an apprenticeship of three and one-half years in the illuminary office, one of the oldest papers in the State. On December 20, 1860, the day South Carolina passed a secession ordinance, he was married to Margaret A. Rook. They located at Hughesville, where he carried on blacksmithing until he enlisted in Company F, One Hundred and Sixth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. At the close of the war he returned to the same place, resumed his former business which he continued until 1873, and then removed to Williamsport, same State, where he was in the lumber trade, remaining until the close of the Centennial, when he came to State Line, McKean county, and was in the employ of the Forest Oil Company. Later he became a merchant at Davis City, whence he removed to Kinzua Junction, and went into the hotel business. Afterward he was on the ill-fated train that burned with such a fearful loss of life. Removing to Simpson, also in McKean county, he here commenced his present business as dealer in general merchandise. He has suffered severe losses by fire, but hag rebuilt, and is still in trade. Mr. Burkholder is a-member of the I. O. O. F., K. of P., G. A. R., A. O. U. W., Order of the Iron Hall, and Knights of St. John and Malta. In politics he is an active Democrat.
JOHN W. BUSH, farmer, P.O. East Smethport, is the third son of Elisha and Hannah Bush, and was born on the farm he now owns in Keating township, McKean Co., Penn., in 1837. His father was a native of Oneida county, N.Y., where he married, and in 1828 located on the farm now owned by his son, John W. When Elisha Bush settled on his purchase, McKean county was an unbroken wilderness. Dense forests of pine, hemlock, cherry, maple and almost every species of timber stood in majestic grandeur; sloping hills and fertile valleys spread out before them, and little streams of pure soft water flowed in great abundance through these grand old forests, winding their way to the Allegheny river. Land was cheap, and his keen eye foresaw that with industry and economy he could soon possess a comfortable independence, for McKean was soon to develop mines of wealth and stand as one of the first counties for health and industries in the State. True, it must be a life of toil and privation, with land to clear before he could raise food for himself, wife and little ones; during this time of waiting he must work wherever opportunity offered, and has worked all day from sunrise till sunset for the small sum of 50 cents, or eight pounds of flour, and was thankful for even that. Today you hire a man, and he will work nine hours and charge $1.50 or $2. At that time there were no mills where grain could be ground nearer than twenty miles, but for the convenience of himself and the little settlement where he lived, Mr. Bush invented a small hand-mill for grinding corn, and this convenience supplied many a want. But if they had privations, they had blessings also, and, when wan$ pressed hard, each neighbor felt his friend's trouble was his also. If a family had sickness it was not necessary to ask help, for friends or neighbors came miles to assist. There were no schoolhouses or churches, but mothers taught their little ones what they could, and the inhabitants would assemble in some neighbor's house and unite in prayer, feeling even in their rude homes they were sure of the same blessing from their Heavenly Father that they received in the prosperous far-away home they had left. The woods abounded in wild game, and if meat were needed it was not necessary to go far from home to fetch down a fine deer or go to the brook and catch as many speckled trout as might be desired. But there were animals that were not so harmless as deer, for bears were plenty and often tore down the ripening corn or committed depredations on the sheep-fold; and Mrs. Bush states that in this lonely place, without a neighbor within a mile of her, she has stayed alone with her little ones for a week at a time when their necessities kept her husband away to work, and all night long the hoarse bark of the wolf in an adjoining thicket, or the scream of the panther, kept her company. Woman is said to be weak and dependent, and in many things it may be the, but in times of trial she is strong, and when a man would despair and die, she is hopeful, ever assisting, ever cheering him on, so that difficulties may be overcome. As the settlers had not yet cleared land for grazing purposes, their cattle were obliged to seek food in the forest, and the cows were brought at night and secured in a yard till after they were milked in the morning, when they were chiven away again. One night Mr. Bush returned home rather late, and hastened in search of his cow; having found her and started her homeward, imagine his horror when the terrific scream of a panther in a tree near by sounded on his ears. The cow did not need farther urging to start at full speed down the irregular footpath for the clearing, and Mr. Bush, preferring the company of the fast-fleeing cow to that of the panther, seized hold of her tail, and in a remarkably short space of time the two arrived at home. In due time his children were able to assist him, and at length he got control of the United States mail route from Smethport to Wellsborough, a distance of seventy miles, but, carrying the mail part way the most of the time, and a Mr. Barnaby carrying the other end of the route, the services of his son, John W. Bush. were called into requisition, and he (being a boy about fourteen years of age) was entrusted with the mail, and, there being hardly an apology for a road, he was obliged to carry it on horseback, making two trips a week. For nearly six years he performed this duty through mud and storm with the utmost promptness and fidelity. He had the benefit of an academic course at school, and to-day is an honored citizen of McKean county, Mr. and Mrs. Elisha Bush, however, in course of time, retired from active life, and removed to the town of Smethport, where the mother died in 1883 and the father followed her November 22, 1885. Their children were Hiram (deceased), Charles, John W., Mary (wife of Homer Howe, Silas, Andrew, Saloma (wife of William Stauton, of Keating), Melinda (wife of Walter Evans, of Smethport) and Wallace (deceased). John W. Bush bought the farm adjoining the old homestead, and after his marriage located on his purchase and engaged in farming, until now he is a large land holder, also owning the old homestead, to which he removed, April 20, l 875, and which is still his residence. He was married in 1856 to Mary, daughter of John and Maria Dexter, of Port Allegany, and they have three children: O. D., Jane (wife of J. L. Smith) and Desdemona (wife of O. B. Cooper). Mrs. Bush is a member of the Baptist Church. In politics he is a Republican.
W. T. CALLAR, druggist, Smethport, son of William and Alvira (Lewis) Cellar, was born in Sharon township, Potter Co., Penn., in 1841. His father was a native of England, where he was reared, and educated. He emigrated to America and located in Allegany county, 17. Y., where he married; soon after he went to Potter county, Penn., and from there to what is now the county seat of Cameron county, where he was engaged in the lumber and milling business. He died in 1848, and his widow in January, 1885. W. T. Callar, their only son, began life as a farmer, but removed to Kane, where he started the first drug store, and in 1876 came to Smethport and opened a drug store, which he still carries on. He is a thirty-second degree Freemason, and a member of the consistory at Bloomsburg; also a member of the I. O. O. F., lodge and encampment. Mr. Callar is identified with the Democratic party, but is no politician, as he devotes his entire time to business. He and his wife are members of the Presbyterian Church.
J. R. CHADWICK, Smethport, son of Richard Chadwick, was born at Williamsport, Penn., in 1825. His father, who was a native of Monmouth county, 17. J., came, with his parents, to what is now Cameron county, and in 1811 settled at the mouth of 17orth creek. Richard Chadwick there married Prudence Freeman and reared a family of three children: Freeman and Temperance (both deceased) and J. R. March 9. 1826, his wife died, and the following year he removed to Smethport, entered the prothonotary office as deputy, and afterward taught school; eventually he returned to Cameron county and made his home with his daughter, Temperance, until his death in 1866. J. R. Chadwick was his father's assistant in the various positions he held. In 1846 he married Miss 17ettie Wright (now deceased), by whom he had two sons. In politics he is a Republican, and in 1887 he was elected superintendent of poor.
HOMER M. CHOATE, deputy register, recorder and clerk of the court of McKean county, with residence at Smethport, was born August 22, 1843, at Portage, Genesee Co., 17. Y., where his father carried on a lumbering business, saw-mills, etc. The record of the ancestry of Homer M. Choate in America is as follows: John Choate, born in 1624, in Groton, Suffolk, England, came to Ipswich, Mass., about 1645, and settled in that part of Ipswich which is now the town of Essex; Thomas Choate was born in 1670; Francis Choate was born in 1701; Isaac Choate was born in 1733; Joshua Choate was born in 1768; Isaac W. Choate, the father of Homer M. Choate, was born in 1794 at Lansingburgh, N.Y. About 1690 John Choate gave his son, Thomas, all his land on an island on the coast of Massachusetts, known as "Hog Island," and the house that was built there by Francis, son of Thomas, about 1725, is still occupied by his descendants. In this house Isaac Choate, Sr., was born, also Isaac's son Joshua. The farm is still in possession of the descendants of John Choate, and has never been out of the family, a period of more than 200 years.. Rufus Choate, the lawyer and orator, was born in this house about thirty years after Joshua Choate was born. William Choate, who bought from Isaac Choate (his brother) his half of the farm in 1770, was the grandfather of Rufus, the lawyer. While yet young Homer M. Choate was brought by his parents from Portage to Clarence, Erie county, same State, and there he attended the common schools and the academy until the outbreak of the Rebellion, when, in 1861, at the age of eighteen years, he enlisted in the Twenty-first 17ew York Volunteers for two years, served out his term and was honorably discharged. He was then appointed a United States inspector in the customhouse at Buffalo, N. Y., which office he relinquished in the fall of 1865 to accept the position of book-keeper in the First National Bank of Oil City, Penn. Here he remained, part of the time as cashier, till the fall of 1875, when he resigned in order to go into business in the Oil Exchange, same city. Mr. Choate continued in this and in the brokerage business until 1883, in which year he accepted the position of paying teller in the Seaboard Bank, New York, but having the misfortune to shoot and kill a burglar in his wife' s room at Newark, N. J.. on November 10, 1883, the shock to her, which no doubt precipitated her early death, was so great that he had. to resign his position and move his wife and family back to her home in the oil country, where he received the appointment to his present position. Mr. Choate was married September 11, 1867, to Helen E., daughter of Stephen McCoy, of Ellicottsville, Cattaraugus Co., N. Y., and niece of Dr. William Y. McCoy, of Smethport, Penn. She died January 22, 1886, from cancer of the stomach. Mr. Choate is commander of the G. A. R. Post at Smethport, and is a member of the F. & A. M. and of the I. O. O. F.
WILLIAM B. CLARKE, sheriff of McKean county, Smethport, was born in Westbrook, Conn., in 1845, and When he was two years of age his father moved to New York City. He was e4ncated in the high schools of that city, from which he subsequently graduated. When about eighteen years of age he entered the employ of Jacob Lorillard, the celebrated tobacconist, for whom he worked for four years. The Lorillard establishment employed over 600 men at that time, and Mr. Clarke was the principal bookkeeper, having also entire charge of the internal revenue branch of the business. There was a heavy tax on tobacco in those war times, and thousands of dollars of internal revenue tax was paid monthly by this one establishment. Mr. Clarke had the confidence of his employer to such an extent that very few men possess before the age of twenty-one years, and he has in his possession a letter of recommendation from Jacob Lorillard which he values very highly. In l866, at the instance of a brother-in-law, who owned a majority of the stock of the Home Petroleum Company, he visited Oil creek, the valley of which was then booming as an oil tertiary. This company owned the Blood farm, which was then a fine producing territory, and Mr. Clarke was induced to take the position of assistant superintendent, and was given considerable charge of the property. He remained in the employ of the company nearly nine years, during five of which he lived at Titusville. He came to McKean county in 1875, locating at Tarport, and for four years had charge of the oil properties of Col. A. I. Wilcox. For a long time he was in the employ of his father- in-law, Frederick Crocker, whose producing interests were very large, and during a portion of the time he superintended the extensive coal business of Sheriff Bannon. In January, 1884, he was appointed the principal deputy sheriff under Sheriff Bannon, and in 1887 was elected to the office of sheriff, proving himself one of the most popular officials of the county. He was married in 1876 to Edna Crocker, daughter of Frederick Crocker, and they have one son. Mr. Clarke has taken the thirty-second degree in Freemasonry and is a member of the consistory at Bloomsburg; is also a member of the Knights of Pythias.
W. J. COLEGROVE, Smethport, was born in what is now Norwich township, McKean Co., Penn. His father, Jonathan Colegrove, late of McKean county, was one of the pioneers of said county, having removed hither from Chenango county, N. Y., in 1815, and was one of three brothers (the others being Park and Benjamin), all of whom resided for many years in what was then Sergeant township, but is now Norwich township. They were born in the town of Sterling, Windburn Co., Conn. Jonathan Colegrove was educated at the district school of his native town, and at Plainfield Academy, Windburn county, after which he taught at the Catskill Academy. He was married to Miss Eliza Gallup, a native of Griswold, Conn., and removed to Chenango county. ,4.fret serving in the army at Sackett's Harbor in the war of 1812, he lived on a farm which he worked summers, and taught school, winters, for some years, after which they came to McKean county, where he followed farming and teaching, also had charge of the large Ridgway landed property until 1852. He was twice county commissioner, being the first at its organization, and when it was connected with Potter county; he was also treasurer one term; served one term as representative of his district in 1824-25; was the first postmaster of Norwich when the mail was carried from Smethport to Lock Haven once in two weeks on horseback, the rider carrying a " tin horn " to give warning of his approach. The children born of this union were Eliza F. (the late Mrs. Daniel Rifle), William W. (who died when five years old), Horace (who married Emily Burlingame, and whose death occurred in Norwich township in 1888), William J., Laura Ann and Laura Ette (twins). The only survivors of these children are William J. and Laura Ann. Mrs. Colegrove died in 1859 in her seventy-fourth year. Jonathan Colegrove was respected by all who knew him for his sterling integrity and his business qualifications. He was an old- line Whig from their organization, and on the dissolution of that party became a zealous Republican, and so continued to his death. Through his influence, while in the legislature, he obtained an appropriation from the State for the Smethport Academy, which was subsequently built and opened to the public. He died in 1872 in his ninetieth year. W. J. Colegrove, the subject proper of this sketch, was born in 1821, and was educated at the common schools of Norwich township, and Smethport Academy, after which he married, in 1841, Miss Eunice H. Wright, of Kanona, Steuben Co., N. Y., and they began their married life on the old homestead farm in Norwich township, McKean Co., Penn., he teaching school, winters, for some years. There they remained until 1880, when they removed to Smethport, he having since 1852 had charge of the Ridgway estates, which were located in McKean and Elk counties, embracing two tracts of land, each containing 40,000 acres, situated in said counties, and of which he had exclusive control, being authorized to sell, collect and make titles without restriction. This continued until the decease of the principal, when the executor wished :Mr. Colegrove to continue as before, which position he still occupies. A portion of the estate had been sold when Mr. Colegrove assigned its management, but he has now disposed of all, except about 16,430 acres in McKean county. Mr. Colegrove was elected justice of the peace, in 1842. while residing in Norwich township; has also served two terms as commissioner of McKean county, and was a member of the board during the erection of the present fine court house, which was begun and completed during his term from 1879 to 1881, inclusive. Mr. Colegrove was instrumental in the creating of a new post-office at Colegrove, of which he was postmaster until 1880; he was also appointed by Gov. W. F. Johnston as sheriff of McKean county, in 1851, to fill the unexpired term of E. Bard. He is a prominent and active worker in the Republican party, his first vote, however, having been cast for Clay and Frelinghuysen, Whigs; but he has voted for every Republican candidate since the organization of the party, and he was the elector of his district at Grant's last election. He is a Prohibitionist in principle, but not a third-party man. Mr. and Mrs. Colegrove have four children: Harriet Amelia, who married Thomas Saunders, of Westfield, Tioga Co., Penn. ; Alpha William, now on the old homestead; Lydia Sophia, widow of the late John S. Ross. of Coudersport, Penn., and Clarence Melville.DAVID D. COMES, farmer and lumberman, P. O. Smethport, is a son of David and Hannah (Marvin) Comes, and was born in Norwich township, McKean Co., Penn., in 1824. His mother was a daughter of Seth Marvin, one of the first settlers of McKean county, from whom Marvin creek derived its name. David Comes, the father of our subject, was a native of Cheshire county, N. H., and Hannah, his wife, was a native of New York State. David removed to McKean county in 1810, locating at what is now Clermont, Sergeant township, where he purchased and partially cleared a farm, and then removed to near the head of Potato creek. They reared a family of nine children, viz: Calvin S. ,who bore the proud distinction of being the first white child born in McKean county; Roxy, the late Mrs. Edward H. Dickinson, of Norwich township, same county; David D. ; Lucy; now Mrs. Chauncey Holden, of Liberty township, same county; Florilla and Floretta (twins), the former Mrs. William Rumsey, of New York, and the latter Mrs. Orlando Gallup, of Norwich, McKean county; Jane, the late Mrs. Bishop Lucas; Herrick T., and Mary, the late Mrs. Daniel Forsyth. David D. Comes early purchased the farm he now owns in Keating township, and has since been extensively engaged in the lumber business. He built a steam saw-mill on Bed Mill brook Norwich township, having a capacity of 30,000 feet of lumber daily. He is one of the prominent and self-made men of McKean county, and by good financiering and increasing effort, has secured a handsome competency. He was married March 11, l847, to Miss Polly V. Smith, and they have had ten children, viz. : Jane, wife of J. B. Kelly; Almina, wife of D. M. Wright; Clinton D. ; Charles; M. S. ; Hattie; Millie, wife of Amos Smith; Eseck D. ; Harriet and Benjamin F. Mr. Comes is identified with the Democratic party, though not an active politician, as he wisely devotes his entire time and energy to the supervision of his large business interests.
ASA H. CORY, farmer and postmaster at Coryville, is a son of Thomas R. and Litta (Howe) Cory, and was born in Sullivan, Tioga Co., Penn., in 1814. His father died when he was a boy, and he began his business life at Wellsboro, Tioga county, where he published the -Phoenix for a period of two years, and September 13, 1837, he purchased the McKean county Journal, changing its name to the Beacon. He remained its publisher nearly three years, and was identified with the McKean county press for many years. He eventually removed to his present residence at Coryville, where he purchased a farm, and is recognized as one of its most enterprising men. In 1861 he raised Company H, Fifty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, and became its captain, but, becoming disabled through exposure, he returned home in 1862. Mr. Cory was married in 1838 to Lacy, daughter of the Hon. John Holmes, and their children are A. Orson and Ella C., now Mrs. F. S. Holmes, of Keating township. Mr. Cory is a member of the Sons of Temperance. He and his wife are members of the United Brethren Church. He has been postmaster at Coryville since 1872. Politically he is a Prohibitionist.
AS& R. CORY, lumberman and proprietor of saw-mill, P. O. Farmers Valley, is a son of A. B. Cory, and was born in Smethport, McKean Co., Penn., in 1845. His father was a native of Tioga county, Penn., and came to McKean county at an early time, locating at Smethport, but soon removed to Potter county, where he married Hannah Maria Rees, and finally removed to Arkansas, where he now lives. Their children were Asa R., Lytta E. (the late Mrs. Lyman Clinton), Benjamin F. and Mary A. (wife of Frank Caldwell). The mother died in 1879, and in Missouri the father married, for his second wife, a Miss West, and to them have been born four children: Lillian (wife of J. J. Johnson), Lucy (wife of Alexander Hull), Thomas M. and Azro. Asa B. Cory lived with his mother until her death, and he then became associated with the Messrs. Pelton in the lumber trade and in operating a steam saw-mill; also operated a mill in Keating township, which was burned in 1888, but was rebuilt the same year, and he is now quite heavily engaged in the lumber trade. In 1S72 he married Emogene Smith, and they have had three children: Ella M, 0rlo D. (yet living) and Lytta A. (deceased). Mrs. Cory was the daughter of Riley A. and Eliza J. Smith, both of Smethport, Penn. Mr. Smith served in the Union army during the Civil war, and died from disease contracted while in the army about two years after the close of the war. Mrs. Smith still lives in Smethport. Mr. Cory is a member of the I. O. O. F., lodge and encampment, and of the A. O. U.W. He has been supervisor and school director, and in politics is a Democrat.
ERASTUS CURTIS, farmer, P. O. East Smethport, was born in Plainfield, Mass., in 1809. His parents removed from Massachusetts to Tioga county, Penn., where they remained until 1814. and then migrated to Madison county, N. Y., where he grew to manhood. He remained there until 1847, when he removed to Keating township, McKean Co., Penn., where he cleared a farm. He is still leading an active wife, engaged in agricultural pursuits. He was married in 1834 to Miss Mary Ette Starr, and they have had four children, of whom but one is living, Mary E.. now Mrs. Frank Richmond, of Smethport. Mr. Curtis is identified with the Republican party, and has filled most of the township offices.
JOHN O. DODGE, lumberman. East Smethport, was born in Kennebec county, Me., January 14, 1846, a son of John P. and Rosannah (Richardson) Dodge, natives of Maine. He received his education in the common schools, and his early boyhood days were spent with his father upon the home farm. He enlisted in the United States service in September, 1864, and was assigned to Company K, Ninth Maine Regiment of Infantry, but his service was comparatively brief, being discharged the following May on account of disability. Returning home, he purchased a farm in Kennebec county, Me., and was married in May, 1868, to Miss Miranda, a daughter of J. M. and Olive Scammon Lane, of Penobscot county, Me., and they are the parents of one child, Jennie, wife of F. L. Sherburn, of Mount Alton, Penn. Mr. Dodge sold his farm in 1869, and went to Old Town, Me., where he began lumbering, remaining there two years. He followed the same business in Bartlett. N. H., until 1879; then came to McKean county, Penn., where he is still engaged in the lumber business. In 1888 he purchased the farm where he now resides. He is a member of the A. O. U. W., No. 182. In politics he is a Republican, and in religion is a Methodist.
MICHAEL DUNN, lumberman, Smethport, son of Thomas and Mary (Phalin) Dunn, was born in Cuba, Allegany Co., N. Y., in 1849. When he was three years of age his parents removed to Ceres township, McKean Co., Penn., where they engaged in farming. They had a family of six children, viz. : Michael, John, Mary (Mrs. Henry McMann), James, Anna and Patrick, all in this county but John, who lives at Austin, Potter Co., Penn. The parents are still living on the old homestead. Michael received his education in the old log schoolhouse, on Newell creek, and afterward engaged in farming and lumbering. In 1882 he married Flora A, daughter of Capt. Chauucey and Lucy (Comes) Holden, of Port Allegany. McKean county, after which they located at Larrabee, remaining until 1888, when they removed to Smethport. He is, and has been for the last eight years, engaged in the lumber trade. He is a member of the I. O. O. F., lodge and encampment, at Smethport. In politics he affiliates with the Republican party.
JOHN FORREST, attorney at law, Smethport. was born in Brooklyn. N. Y., February 8, 1851, a son of John and Ann (Wright) Forrest, natives of Scotland, who came to Brooklyn, N. Y., in 1845. They reared a family of six children, John being the eldest son. He received a practical business education in the schools of Brooklyn, and when sixteen years of age entered the law office of Edwin C. Delevan, where he remained until 1868. He then went to Fall Brook, Penn., where he was employed as clerk in the office of the Fall Brook Coal Company, until 1875; then he went to Clermont. McKean county, as paymaster for the Buffalo Coal Company; after remaining there about one year he went to Buffalo, N. ¥., as book-keeper for the same company. In January, 1877, he came to Smethport, McKean county, and entered the law and land office of B. D. Hamlin. Mr. Forrest married in August. 1878, Miss Mary, daughter of B. D. and Harriet (Holmes) Hamlin, and to them have been born two children: Helen and Ruth. Mr. and Mrs. Forrest are members of the Episcopal Church. Mr. Forrest has always been a Democrat in politics.
DR. S. D. FREEMAN, Smethport. son of Edmund and Elizabeth (Chadwick) Freeman, natives, respectively, of Connecticut and New Jersey, was born in Potter county, Penn., January 29, 1829; his ancestors came over in the "Mayflower" in 1620 and 1623, his father having been a lineal descendant of Elder William Brewster, of "Mayflower" fame, and the name Edmund has been given to the eldest son from generations back. His parents after marriage removed to Potter county, thence to McKean county in 1832. To them nine children were born, five now living and four deceased. The deceased are Edmund Allen (named after Ethan Allen, his grandmother being a niece of the general). Sabra Calista, Mary Jeffery, and a son still-born. Those living are William Chadwick, Sylvanus Dwelley, Malinda Corbett, Francis Halleck and Mary Elizabeth. The subject of this biography received his early education in McKean county, eventually graduating from the University of Buffalo in 1856, and first began the practice of medicine at Smethport. In this he continued until the beginning of the Civil war, when he was made surgeon of the Pennsylvania Bucktails, and in October, 1862, he was promoted to surgeon of the United States Volunteers, a position he retained until after the close of the war, when he was brevetted lieutenant-colonel and resumed his professional practice, continuing therein until the Mexican disturbance of 1876, when he proceeded to that country as correspondent for the committee on foreign relations. On his return home he again commenced active practice at Smethport. On June 1, 1855, the Doctor married Lucretia A. Reisdorph, the union being blessed with three children, of whom two are yet living: Kate (now Mrs. F. N. Taylor) and Ella (now Mrs. H. C. Wells); their second daughter, Bessie Kane, is deceased. Dr. Freeman is a prominent member of the G. A. R., a thirty-second degree Freemason, and a member of the consistory at Bloomington; ex-president of the McKean County Medical Society, member of the State Medical Society and of the American Medical Association.
MRS. L. A. FREEMAN, Smethport, is a daughter of John G. and Marilla (Johns) Reisdorph, and was born at Java, Livingston Co., N. Y., in 1836. Her parents removed to Ischua, Cattaraugus Co., N. Y., and thence to Minnesota. Her mother died in 1838, and her father afterward married Mrs. Mabel Adams, widow of a Dr. Adams, and this lady also died, when the subject of our sketch was quite young. The father of Mrs. Freeman died in 1886, aged eighty-eight years. Her mother was a lineal descendant of a family in England named Johns, of which family two bachelor brothers, very wealthy, at one time presented the Quaker Society at Philadelphia with $40,000, and died leaving an immense estate in Europe to be divided among the heirs.
P. M. FULLER, commissioner of McKean county, P. O. Smethport, was born in Erie county, N. Y., May 4, 1823, a son of Chase and Nancy (Kenyon) Fuller. In 1840 his father moved to Cattaraugus county, N. Y., and the young man completed his school days in the common schools of that section and in the seminary at Arcade, Wyoming county. In 1843 he left the seminary and traveled on foot to the Tuna valley for the purpose of teaching school, where the town of Limestone now stands. In 1845 he married Cornelia Kinsman, and in 1850, with his family of wife and three children, moved to McKean county, where he has since resided. In October, 1861, he enlisted in Company E, Fifty-eighth P. V . I., under Capt. John C. Backus, and in 1863 re-enlisted, serving until January, 1865, when he was honorably mustered out of the service. He was promoted from time to time until he was, in October, 1864, made captain of his company, and at one time he was the ranking officer, and for six weeks had command of the regiment. He was in several engagements and battles in which the regiment participated, commencing with the driving of the forces of the rebel Gen. Magruder out of Norfolk, Va. He participated in the battles at Blackwater and Suffolk, Va., Sandy Ridge, Gum Swamp and Batchelder's creek, N. C., where Col. Jones of the Fifty-eighth was killed. He was with the regiment while it lay for a long time in front of Petersburg, and participated in the battles of Cold Harbor, Chapin's Farm and in the capture of Fort Harrison, south of Richmond. He had command of the regiment when it marched into Richmond, which was the day Jefferson Davis vacated his premises in that city. After Capt. Fuller's return from the army he was elected to several local offices in Bradford township, McKean county, including that of justice of the peace, and was subsequently elected an alderman of Bradford. He has served five years as associate judge of McKean county, has twice been elected county commissioner, the last time in 1887, and is now serving in that position. Capt. Fuller has a very extensive acquaintance in McKean county, and his popularity is co-extensive with his acquaintance. He is a member of Post No. 141, G. A. R., of Bradford, and of the Masonic fraternity, lodge, chapter and commandery. His first wife died in 1868, and he was again married this time, in 1870, to Mrs. Elizabeth A. (Heyter) Drake, widow of Joshua J. Drake. She died in October, 1881, and in 1883 Capt. Fuller was married to his present wife, whose maiden name was Anna Sparks. He has three children: Ophelia (wife of William Monroe), Emma E. (wife of Webster K. Knye), and Royd E. (in Nebraska.)