Sketch From History of the counties of Lehigh and Carbon, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Authors: Alfred Mathews, 1852-1904 and Austin N. Hungerford, published by Everts & Richards 1884, pgs. 57 & 58.
page 57 The Bench And Bar Of Lehigh County
Adam WOOLEVER was a descendant of a family among the pioneers to this country from the Palatinate, named Wohlleber (Well-liver), numbering several brothers, one of whom first settled in what is now Columbia County, where a town located by them was given the name of “Woolever-Stettle” (Woolever-town). Another planted his home in the Mohawk Valley, N.Y., while another nestled down amid the hills of New Jersey, within sight of the Delaware, and in the original home of the proud LENNI LENAPES. These hardy pioneers, having by hard labor founded a home, cleared the forests, and broken up the soil in Columbia County, anticipated rest and comfort in the days to come, had scarcely time to enjoy the fruits of their toil before the hand of oppression reaching across the broad ocean again grasped them, and by the unjust tasation of her Majesty Queen Anne, and some technical plan in the titles of land they occupied, deprived them of their rights and homes and compelled them to renew their efforts elsewhere. Almost disheartened, but braving the dangers and trials awaiting them, with Spartan energy they packed their humble furniture on sleds and, in the midst of a severe winter, wended their way through an unbroken and almost trackless way to the Mohawk Valley, where they settled once more. From this hardy and determined race sprang Adam WOOLEVER, the subject of this sketch, born in Franklin township, Warren Co., N.J., on the 7th of March, 1833, and the son of Adam and Diana WOOLEVER. In his boyhood he enjoyed excellent educational advantages, and at the age of about fifteen he entered a store in Easton as clerk. After remaining for a time he entered the office of Judge Joseph VLIET, of Washington, N. J., and read law for one year. With a view to better opportunities for study he left Washington, and removing to Easton, entered the law office of the Hon. Judge MCCARTNEY, one of the most eminent lawyers of the day. Here he read law until 1855, when he was admitted to the bar. In March, 1855, he removed to Catasauqua and opened an office, continuing in practice until 1859, when in the fall of that year he was appointed by Sheriff HAINES as his attorney, and served three years in that capacity. At the end of his term, in 1862, he was elected district attorney, in which official relation he served creditably for three years. In 1866 he, in connection with David O. SAYLOR and Esaias REHRIG, CONCEIVED THE IDEA OF STARTING THE Coplay Cement Works, now so well and favorably known, and which project proved successful. While thus engaged in manufacturing interests he continued the practice of law, and in the fall of 1869 was elected to the Legislature, serving creditably during the years 1870-72. In 1872 he was nominated in the Democratic caucus for Speaker of the House, but the Republicans having a majority, one of their number was chosen. In 1875 he was elected chief clerk of the House of Representatives, in which capacity he served until the spring of 1877, when the Republicans gained the ascendency and ended his term. From that time he lived a more or less retired life. He was also a candidate for the office of State senator, and at one time mentioned for the gubernatorial chair.
In 1876, Mr. WOOLEVER published a very meritorious book entitled “Treasury of Wit and Humor,” containing sayings of 931 authors, 1393 subjects, and 10,299 quotations, a work favorably received by the press, as also by literary and professional men. He was a fine scholar, devoted much of his time to books, and was as thoroughly versed in the standard and light literature of the day as any man in the city of his residence. His social nature and genial temper made numerous friends, and rendered his home the almost daily meeting place of many kindred spirits. His word ever was regarded as a law unto him. A man of generous, kindly impulses, with the hand of charity ever open for the needy and deserving, the poor ever found in him a practical helper and friend. As a citizen he was plain and unassuming, treating the poor and humble with the same deference as the rich and exalted. His simple and polite demeanor made him universally esteemed by all who knew him.
There was excellencies of character displayed in
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his private life, there were traits of goodness and kindness and genial warmth and brightness exhibited in his social intercourse with those friends whose “adoption he had tried,” which the world knew not of. Few men exhibited the best that is in them to the world. Those who have mingled in the strife of politics and have done battle in the arena in which selfishness and hardness and cynicism are a part of the armor of successful combatants, hide the better feelings of their nature from the gaze of the multitude. It was so with Adam WOOLEVER. It was only to those with whom he was on terms of closest intimacy that he spoke without reserve of those things of which he thought most deeply. They only knew the enthusiastic love he had for all that is strong and pure and beautiful in humanity, and his detestation for falsehood, cruelty, and deception. He had the manliness of a man united with the tenderness of a woman. He was as straightforward and honest in the warmth of his friendships and in the intensity of his dislikes as a child. He was bluff and hearty in his ways, with a keenly humourous instinct, but with an undercurrent of grave, old-fashioned courtesy and thoughtful consideration for the feelings of others. A gentleman because he possessed a gentle, kind heart, he was utterly incapable of mean and despicable things. His knowledge of history was remarkable; he had studied it as one who looks beneath the surface to discover the hidden springs of action which have changed the current of national life. He believed in the universal brotherhood of man, and all forms of oppression outraged the fine sense of justice which was a prominent trait in his character.
In politics Mr. WOOLEVER was always a Democrat. He took an active part in every State campaign, and was popular with the masses as a speaker. With a clear perception of the issues involved, a lucid style of speaking, and a pleasing address, he combined an agreeable modicum of facetiousness, never failing to attract and hold the attention of his auditors. He was also equally successful as a lecturer; his productions evincing close thought, careful study, and great purity of language. He believed in “women's rights,” and the injustice and inequality of the laws of the various States with regard to women and their property was a subject upon which he could quote an array of facts absolutely unanswerable.
Mr. WOOLEVER was married in January, 1857, to Miss Eliza Ann SAYLOR, only daughter of Samuel SAYLOR, of Hanover township. Their children are Lilly, Ida, Samuel S., Harry, Maggie, and three who are deceased. The death of Adam WOOLEVER occurred on the 24th of September, 1882, in his fiftieth year. The virtues of his true heart were apparent in all his life to those who knew him best, and to them is known how much constancy, truth, and manliness, how much tenderness, kindness, and charity, are buried in his grave.
Source: History of the counties of Lehigh and Carbon, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Authors: Alfred Mathews, 1852-1904 and Austin N. Hungerford, published by Everts & Richards 1884