COLUMBIA COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA

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Biographies 6


A. B. FORTNER, stoves and tinware, Centralia, was born in Catawissa, Columbia Co., Penn., July 28, 1843, son of B. P. and Mary (DAVIS) FORTNER. They were both born in Columbia County, the former now living at Catawissa; the latter died there in April, 1884. Our subject was reared in Columbia County, and was employed on the Catawissa Railroad about nine months. In 1863 he was appointed assistant internal revenue assessor for the Thirteenth District. He was engaged in the Government service about one year, and then came to Centralia, and embarked in his present business which he has since followed. He married at Catawissa, in November, 1865, Miss Mary N. DEAN, a native of Columbia County, Penn., and a daughter of Thomas L. DEAN. Her father now resides in Catawissa. Her mother is dead. Mr. and Mrs. FORTNER are the parents of five children, three of whom are living: Elizabeth, Charles and Mary; the deceased are Harry and an infant. Mr. FORTNER is a member of the K. of L. His father was a representative in the Legislature of the State of Pennsylvania at the time of the division of the counties of Columbia and Montour, served one term and also held the position of general internal revenue assessor of the Thirteenth District for about three years. (History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle, 1887, pg 430)


THOMAS IRVIN, of the firm of Irvin Bros., Centralia, was born in Ireland, June 12, 1844, a son of William and Ann Jane IRVIN. His father died in that country, and in 1861 the family removed to the United States, and located at Christian Hundred, Brandywine Banks, Del. There they resided until coming to Centralia, Penn., about 1863. Thomas worked on the repairs in the mines for about three years and then obtained the position of boss of the loading, at which he was employed a number of years. he then engaged as clerk in the coal company‚s store and was there employed until 1879, when he and his brother embarked in mercantile business under the firm name of Irvin bros. They carry a general stock of clothing, dry goods, boots and shoes, groceries, flour and feed, and own the building in which the store is kept. Thomas married in 1866, Miss Mary, a native of Schuylkill County, Penn., and a daughter of John and Catherine BRYSON. Mr. and Mrs. IRVIN were the parents of nine children, six living; Robert, Catherine Ann, Thomas, Mary, Eva Lillian and William John. The deceased are John, Jennie and an infant unnamed. In 1861 Mr. IRVIN enlisted in Company B, Fifth Delaware Infantry, Col. McComas, and was assigned to garrison duty at Fort Delaware. He remained in the service nine months and then returned home. Mr. IRVIN is a member of the Joe Hooker Post, G. A. R., at Ashland, and with his family, attends the Protestant Episcopal Church. John IRVIN, brother of Thomas, was born in Ireland, March 8, 1858. He came with his family to Centralia; is a member of the I. O. O. F. at this place. (History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle, 1887, pg 430)


H. J. FERGUSON, railroad agent L. V. Railroad, Centralia, was born in Minersville, Schuylkill Co., Penn., January 1, 1852, to Thomas and Martha (CHRISTOPHER) FERGUSON, natives of Ireland, who came to America in 1842, and located at Pottsville, Penn. From Pottsville they removed to Branch Dale, thence to Minersville, thence to Shenandoah, where the father died in September, 1883, and where the mother still resides. Our subject was educated at Minersville, Fort Carbon and Boylestown, and on going to Shenandoah taught school in the vicinity and afterward in the borough. In 1870 he entered the office of the Lehigh Valley Railroad at Shenandoah, where he was assistant agent under his brother. There he remained about eight years, varying his occupation sometimes by teaching school. In October, 1878, he was appointed by the railroad management as agent at Centralia, which position he has held since that time. The business of the Centralia office, over which he has control, will amount to probably $30,000 per year; this is exclusive of the coal trade, with which this office has nothing to do. (History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle, 1887, pg 430)


R. C. BUCKALEW, liveryman, Bloomsburg, was born in Cambria, Luzerne County, Penn., July 9, 1836, a son of John and Rachel (CREVELING) BUCKALEW. He was reared on a farm, where he remained with his father until 1862. In the spring of that year he enlisted in Company F, Seventh Regiment Pennsylvania Reserve Corps, and participated in many engagements; was through the Seven Days‚ fight, second Bull Run, Harper‚s Ferry and through Virginia, where he served on detached duty, taking part in several engagements and skirmishes; was at the battle of South Mountain and Antietam. He was mustered out at Philadelphia in the spring of 1865, having served just three years and three days. Returning home he remained there until 1871, when he went to New York City where he was engaged by Dufais & Walter, cotton brokers, one of the most prominent firms in that business in New York. There he acted as shipping clerk and cotton sampler, for which office he was licensed by the New York Cotton Exchange. These responsible positions he held until 1879, on October 1 of which year he came to Bloomsburg, and the day after his arrival bought his present business. Mr. BUCKALEW married January 28, 1880, Mary E. GAGER, who has borne him two children: Louis Walter and Lillian, aged respectively four and two years. (History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle, 1887, pg 327)


AMOS BUCKALEW, LIVERYMAN, Bloomsburg, was born in Cambria, Luzerne Co., Penn., October 11, 1837, a son of John and Rachel (CREVELING) BUCKALEW. He was reared on a farm, educated in the schools of the vicinity, and remained at home until twenty-five years of age, when he married, January 4, 1879, Mrs. MEARS, nee CREVELING. Mr. BUCKALEW came to this county in April 1869, and entered the employ of George REISWICK, in the livery business. October 3, 1879, he purchased it in company with his brother R. C., and since then they have conducted the business. They keep on an average ten single buggies, some carriages, and also run the stage lines to Rupert and the Delaware, Lackawana & Western Railroad. (History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle, 1887, pg 327)


PETER BRUGLER, capitalist, of Bloomsburg, was born in Hemlock Township, this county, October 7, 1824, a son of John and Mary A. (KINNEY) BRUGLER, and grandson of Peter BRUGLER, who came to this county, and settled at Limestone about 1790. He subsequently moved to Jerseytown, and thence to Hemlock Township, where he purchased 200 acres of land, on which he erected buildings and where he died, aged about ninety-four years. his wife also died there aged about seventy years, and both are buried in the Columbia graveyard, Hemlock Township. He was of Dutch and his wife of English descent. John BRUGLER, the father of our subject, was born in this county, married Mary A. KINNEY, a native of New Jersey. John was a farmer all his life and lived on and owned the homestead, to which he added until it consisted of 360 acres. He was a member of the Presbyterian church and an elder for many years. During the latter years of his life he resided at Bloomsburg, where he died, aged about sixty years. His wife died aged about fifty-nine years, and both are buried in Rosemont Cemetery. Our subject lived on the old homestead which was owned by himself and his brother, Elisha, until 1872, when he moved with his family to Bloomsburg, where he resided in a commodious residence on Third Street, engaged in the care of his estate and the loaning of money. He is a member of the Methodist Church, and has officiated as church steward for several years. He married, July 16, 1862, Sue BILLIG, who was born February 18, 1842, a daughter of Daniel and Martha (TALBERT) BILLIG. They have had five children: Anna May, Lizzie J. (deceased), John (deceased), Elmer and Martha. (History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle, 1887, pg 326)


JEREMIAH JOHN BROWER, MERCHANT, Bloomsburg, was born in the village of Brower Town, Union Township, Berks Co., Penn., April 10, 1821, a son of John BROWER, and from him the village took its name. John BROWER was the patentee of a grain scoop that had a very extensive sale, also of door locks and many other manufactured articles that were universally used. He was a native of Berks County, Penn., and a son of Abram BROWER. The father of our subject was of German, the mother of Quaker descent. John and Frances (MILLARD) BROWER had two children: Jeremiah John, and Matilda, who married Richard H. JONES, now a widow and resides at Brower Town. Our subject was educated in the common schools and when seventeen taught school, which profession he followed eight years. He came to this county in 1839, where he resided until 1843; then for two years kept a boarding-school at Brower Town. In 1846 he came to Catawissa, this county; from 1848 to 1850 he resided in Mifflinville, and in the latter year opened a general store in Bloomsburg, which he conducted nineteen years. He was elected in 1870 justice of the peace, and served ten years. He has also served as school director and has taken an active part in forming four building and loan associations, and is now treasurer and secretary of the Mutual Building and Savings Fund Association, of Bloomsburg. The first which became a success was organized October 19, 1867, and terminated in June, 1877, Mr. BROWER being its president. Our subject was married in 1841 to Eliza, daughter of Dr. Eleazer BROTHWELL, of Mifflinville. They have four children: Eleazer B. BROWER, Frances J., wife of James K. BRUGLER, now of Butler, Bates Co., Mo.; Ada Eveline, wife of L. S. WINTERSTEEN; Mary Eliza, wife of J. H. LINGLE, of Bellefonte, Penn. Mr. BROWER established in 1881 his present business, trading in carpets, oil cloths, etc.; erected the building occupied by him in 1868 at a cost of $25,000 and has occupied it since 1869. (History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle, 1887, pg 325)


SAMUEL VASTINE BOONE, farmer, P.O. Bloomsburgh, was born November 5, 1828, in the old homestead in Bloom, where he has always resided. The first of his ancestors to settle in this county was Samuel BOONE, who was born in Exeter Township, seven miles below Reading, and came to this township about 120 years ago. He took up nearly 400 acres, 123 of which being where our subject now resides, a part of the old homestead. He was a member of the society of Friends and a man highly respected. He and his wife, whose maiden name was Eleanor HUGHES, are buried in the Friend‚s burying-ground at Catawissa. Their son, Samuel, was the father of our subject, and was born September 3, 1786, in Bloom Township. He married August 18, 1813, Mary VASTINE, a native of Rush Township, Northumberland Co., Penn., and a daughter of Benjamin VASTINE. Subject‚s father inherited the farm and always resided there. He learned the blacksmith‚s trade through he was principally engaged in farming. He attended the Friends‚ meetings. He and wife had five children, four of whom lived to be married: Elizabeth, born July 3, 1815, became the wife of David CLARK, and is now deceased; Annna, born December 19, 1818, was the wife of Andrew CLARK and is now deceased; Benton, died aged twenty-three years; he was born December 31, 1816; James, born March 5, 1821, married Anna OHMAN and died aged forty-nine, and Samuel V., our subject. The mother of this family died in 1835, and later the father married a Mrs. SHROCK, by which union there was no issue. Our subject‚s father died October 9, 1863, and is buried by the side of his wife in the Friends‚ burying-ground at Catawissa. Samuel V. inherited the homestead after the death of his father and there he yet resides. He married, October 23, 1856, Nancy, daughter of Gideon and Anna (DODSON) POST, and they had five children, four sons and one daughter Rosa Eleanor, who died in childhood. Of the sons, Samuel D. is the eldest, Josiah B. is the second, John S. is the third and Frank W. the youngest. Mr. and Mrs. BOONE are both members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. (History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle, 1887, pg 324)


JOHN K. BITTENBENDER, of the firm of ELWELL & BITTENBENDER, proprietors of "The Columbian," Bloomsburg, was born in Centre Township, this county, June 4, 1854, a son of Conrad and Lovina (KNORR) BITTENBENDER, the latter of whom died October 14, 1875. They were the parents of three sons and one daughter. The father was a farmer, but moved to Bloomsburg in 1869, where he carried on a planing-mill and lumber business, and for many years was one of the most substantial men of this place. He was treasurer of the Bloomsburg Lumber company, and had charge of its financial affairs during its existence. When our subject was but two years old his parents moved to Bloomsburg where he was reared. Up to 1870 he attended the schools of the borough, and graduated at the normal school in 1874. In 1870 he began to learn the trade of printer, and after graduating taught school for one year. In 1875 he opened a job printing office in Bloomsburg, which he conducted for three years; then sold out and became interested in a planing-mill about a year. In 1878-79 he aecepted [sic] the position of foreman in the office of The Columbian, and held it until October 1, 1879, when he became one of the proprietors of the paper. Our subject married, January 19, 1881, Alvaretta, a daughter of I. S. KUHN, and they have one son. Claude K. The family attended the services of the Lutheran Church. (History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle, 1887, pg 324)


FRANKLIN PIERCE BILLMEYER, Bloomsburg, district attorney of Columbia County, is a native of this county, born December 31, 1852, son of Peter BILLMEYER, who was sheriff at the time, residing in the old jail. The subject of this sketch obtained his early education at the schools of Bloomsburg and Bloomsburg Literary Institute, where he completed his preparatory studies for college. He entered Lafayette College in the second term (the Freshman class) in January, 1870, and was graduated from there in June, 1873. He was a member of the "Theta Delta Chi" fraternity, a popular student, a proficient in athletic exercises, class orator on public occasions, and was class historian and orator on graduating. After his graduation Mr. BILLMEYER read law in the office of E. R. SKILER, was admitted to the bar in 1875, and the following spring began the practice of law at Bloomsburg. He has taken an interest in the politics of the county and State, and in September, 1877, was elected a member of and secretary of the board of trustees of the State normal school, and still serves in that capacity, the balance of the board being composed of men of fifty years of age and upward. In the spring of 1877 he was elected town treasurer, an office he filled two years. In 1879 he took a prominent part in organizing the water-works, and in July was elected secretary of the citizens‚ meeting called to discuss the feasibility of the enterprise. In August a permanent organization was effected, of which he was elected secretary, an office he has continued to fill, and since 1881 he has been treasurer. In 1881 he was again elected town treasurer for one year; in 1882 was elected a director of the Rosemont Cemetery Company, and still fills the position; in 1884, for the third time, he was elected town treasurer; in June, 1885, he was one of the organizers of the School Furniture Company, was elected secretary, and as such is still serving. In September, 1885, Mr. BILLMEYER was appointed district attorney by the court to fill a vacancy, and in November was elected to the office, being the present incumbent. He was also one of the organizers, in 1886, of the board of trade, and was elected its secretary. He was also one of the proprietors of and is now a stockholder in the Oak Grove Association. Mr. BILLMEYER was married in December, 1878, to Anna D. SNYDER, youngest daughter of Wm. SNYDER, an old and prominent citizen and business man of Bloomsburg. They have one child, Helen May. (History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle, 1887, pg 324)


JONATHAN BEAVER, farmer, P.O. Mill Grove, was born in what is now Locust Township, Columbia Co., Penn., October 24, 1838, to Daniel and Esther (MARTS) BEAVER, the former a native of Berks County, Penn., and the latter of this county. When Daniel BEAVER was about six years of age he came to this county with his father, who was a tanner, which trade he followed while living in Berks County. On coming to this county the latter kept tavern in the same house where Jonathan now lives, which is a stone structure, built in 1806. He afterward turned his attention to farming and in his last years lived retired. He died at the age of eighty-six years. Daniel, the father of Jonathan was a farmer; married and lived and died in this county. His death occurred June 22, 1871, in his sixty-fifth year, in the house where our subject now lives, and was buried in Numidia Cemetery. His widow resides in Roaringcreek Township, this county. Our subject was reared and spent his life on the old homesteadd where his grandfather settled. He worked with his father until 1867, when he bought the farm of fifty-two acres. He was married in Northumberland County, Penn., December 31, 1870, to Margaret JOHNSON, a native of Northumberland County, and a daughter of Samuel and Schsah JOHNSON; her parents are both deceased. Mr. and Mrs. BEAVER have no children of their own, but have an adopted son, Harvey, and a girl whom they have reared, Mary. Mr. BEAVER and son, Harvey, are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and his wife of the Danville Baptist Church. Politically he is a Democrat. (History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle, 1887, pg. 492)


SAMUEL CAMP, farmer, P.O. Numidia, was born in Northumberland County, Penn., December 15, 1828, a son of Benjamin and Mary (HENKEL) CAMP, natives of Pennsylvania and of German descent. His great-grandfather came from Germany and settled in Berks County, Penn., whence his grandfather emigrated to Northumberland County, and followed farming until his death. Our subject‚s father was born in Northumberland County and there remained engaged in farming and the carpenter trade. He moved to this county about 1836, settled in this township, and engaged in farming until his death in 1872. His wife died about four years prior; both were members of the Lutheran Church. Our subject was brought up to the carpenter‚s trade which he followed until about thirty-two years of age. He followed contracting about twenty-two years, taking contracts for building coal breakers, and erected two very large ones in Schuylkill County, containing over 6000,000 feet of lumber, and also several smaller ones. He resided twenty-two years in Schuylkill County, a part of the time in Pottsville and a part in Ashland. In 1863 he enlisted in the militia, and was out two weeks, at the battle of Antietam. In the fall of 1865 he came to Columbia County, settled on the farm where he now resides and built a fine two-story frame house, which is one of the best in the township, and the improvements on the place are all first-class. Mr. CAMP owns 106 acres of good land. He married, in January, 1850, Harriet HENKEL, who has borne him nine children, five of whom are living; Lucinda, wife of Edward CLEAVER; John H., married Clara CHERINGTON; Andrew C., married Mary BALIG; Lincoln and Elmira. Mr. and Mrs. CAMP are members of the Lutheran Church. He served as auditor of this township nine years, and is one of the prominent men of the county. (History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle, 1887, pg. 492-3)


ELIJAH C. CLEAVER, farmer, P.O. Roaring Creek, was born in Columbia County, Penn., March 18, 1833, a son of Joseph and Sarah (CASE) CLEAVER, natives of Penn., and of Scotch-(Holland) Dutch descent. His great-grandfather came from Scotland in 1786, and settled in New Jersey. His ancestors on both sides came from that State to Columbia County, Penn., about 1806. The grandfather, David CLEAVER, settled in Catawissa, where he engaged in mercantile business; was among the first merchants of that place and the only one at that time. He also owned several farms in Franklin Townshipųsome 400 or 500 acresųwhich he rented out. He built the brick hotel in Catawissa known as the "Susquenanna House," but never conducted it, engaging in mercantile business all his life after coming to this country. He reared six children: Rebecca, Elizabeth, Elijah, Joseph, John and David, all of whom are now deceased. Subject‚s maternal grandfather, Adam CASE, came about the same time and settled in Catawissa, where he bought a farm along the Catawissa Creek. He carried on the farming all his life. He reared a family of thirteen children, as follows: Elizabeth, Hester, Sibilla, Jonathan, William, Jacob, Nathan, Malan, Christian, Milton, Sarah, Rebecca, Susanna. Four of these are yet living: Christian, at Havre de Grace, Md.; Jonathan, in Illinois, married a Miss COX; Sibilla, widow of John MANLEY, in Danville, Penn., and Rebecca, wife of Richard DOUTY, in Shamokin, Penn. Adam CASE died January 29, 1848. Joseph, the father of our subject, was born in Catawissa Township, and was brought up a farmer, and also did teaming.

After his marriage he settled in what is now known as Franklin Township, and there followed farming all his life, owning a farm at the time of his death, February 22, 1834. His widow died January 27, 1856. They were the parents of five children: Eliza (deceased). Harriet (deceased). Matilda (wife of Allen JOHN, in Mahaska County, Iowa), Elijah C. and Rebecca (deceased). Our subject was only eleven months old when his father died, and he remained with his mother until sixteen years of age, when he hired himself out for four years. In 1852 he commenced life for himself, and rented a farm in Roaringcreek Township, which he cultivated one year before his marriage, his sister keeping house for him. After his marriage he remained on the same farm one year, and then moved into Catawissa where he now resides and purchased the farm consisting of 104 acres of land. He has made all the improvements on the place, all of which are first-class. He married, March 24, 1853, Martha A. COOL, daughter of Philip and Hannah (SMITH) COOL. Mr. and Mrs. CLEAVER are the parents of nine children (eight of whom are now living): Wesley M., Britton W. (married to Sarah ERNEST), Charles L. (married to Mary J. PERRY), Nelson E., Curtis (deceased), Clarence Grant, Joseph C., Rosie A. and Hannah L. Wesley M. is a graduate in both courses (degrees: B. E., M. E.; B. S., M. S.) of the Bloomsburg Normal School, and also a graduate from Amherst College, 1886, classical course; Nelson E. is a graduate of the collegiate preparatory course of Bloomsburg; he has attended, three years, Dickinson College, Carlisle, and will graduate in 1887. Mr. CLEAVER has served as school director one term. He and his wife and five of their children are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He is a member of the G. A. R. at Catawissa. During the civil war he served in Company I, Thirteenth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Militia, and was at Camp Biddle and Cold Springs, near Hagerstown during an emergency. In politics he is a Republican. (History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle, 1887, pg. 493)


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