COLUMBIA COUNTY, PA BIOGRAPHIES

MIFFLIN TOWNSHIP

From "The History of Columbia and Mountour Counties"
Battle, 1887


 
ELISHA B. BROWN, (deceased) was born near Mifflinville, Penn., May 13, 1819, the youngest child of Samuel and Dorothy BROWN, and died September 23, 1885. His great-grandfather, James BROWN, was born in England, November 12, 1716; coming to America, he settled on Long Island, but finally moved to Warren County, N. J., where he owned a large tract of land extending three miles along the Pawlins Kill from near Columbia to Hainesburg. His son, John, the grandfather of our subject, married Mary M. BRUGLER, and immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1795, and purchased 400 acres near Mifflinville, for which he paid about $5,000. At the age of eighteen, Elisha B. BROWN engaged in mercantile pursuits with Samuel CREASY and John BROWN, the firm name being BROWNS & CREASY, and thus continued for forty-four years. The firm of BROWNS & CREASY was established in 1838. The business was purchased of Robert McCURDY for nearly $8,000. Their patronage embraced a large extent of territory. Mr. John BROWN died in 1856. He was succeeded by Mr. N. B. CREASY. "CREASYS & BROWN" appeared upon the new sign. It was a peculiarity of this firm to hold at all times a large cash surplus to be available in emergencies. Samuel CREASY died in 1873. In 1882 E. B. BROWN retired. The business then passed under the exclusive control of N. B. CREASY. During the Presidency of Gen. Harrison, in 1840, our subject was appointed postmaster of Mifflinville, and with the exception of six months, he held the office as principal or assistant until his death. As a business man he was eminently successful. He possessed a superior mind enriched by reading and observation; was positive, accurate and true, his judgment was held in high esteem, and his counsel was frequently sought. He never deserted a friend. He was a man of principle, honor and strict integrity, and lived and died an exemplary Christian. In 1845 he married Martha, daughter of John H. BOWMAN. Her mother dying when she was a child, she found a home with her grandfather, John FREAS, near Briarcreek, Columbia Co., Penn. Her father immigrated to Michigan in 1837, and became identified with the business interests of the territory, engaging in mercantile business and building several large flouring-mills; was one of the founders of the village of Colon and the town of Three Rivers, and became a member of the Legislature. Mrs. BROWN, besides having the advantages of the schools of her neighborhood, attended an academy at Catawissa under the charge of a Mr. BRADLEY. She is a voluminous reader and preserves the vivacity of her youth in a way that is remarkable. The three children born to herself and husband are still living: J. Jordan, Dorothy N. and Martha B.(History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle, 1887, pg. 509)

J. JORDAN BROWN was born March 31, 1848. He attended a select school taught by Hiram HUTCHINSON, and afterward completed a course at Williamsport, Dickinson Seminary, graduating in 1867. He then attended lectures at Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, and took the degree of M. D. in the spring of 1870, and since that time has been practicing his profession at Mifflinville. He has written some able articles for the medical press. While at college he took a special course in operative surgery under the personal supervision of Prof. William H. PANCOAST, and has gratified his taste in this line by doing some work rarely performed in a country practice. We might mention among these operations, those of double hare-lip and cataract. In 1880 he married Miss Mary, daughter of David F. BRANDS, of Hackettstown, N. J. She attended Blair Academy and Schooley's Mountain Seminary; is talented with the brush and her works of art do her credit. Calm and self-possessed, she is the sunshine of her circle.(History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle, 1887, pg. 510)

DOROTHY NICE, second child of Elisha B. and Martha (BOWMAN) BROWN, is a namesake of her paternal grandmother, who was of a family of NICES living near the Delaware water Gap. She is endowed with a delicate nervous organization rendering her very susceptible to aesthetics, but inherits her father's latent force. She spent two years at Wyoming Seminary, where her talent for music was developed and was rewarded by flattering commendations. She has the BROWN characteristics of being strongly attached to place and friends.(History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle, 1887, pg. 510)

MARTHA BOWMAN, the youngest child, of Elisha B. and Martha (BOWMAN) BROWN, gave evidence in childhood of superior mental strength. She developed a taste for business, and upon the death of her father assumed a large share of the financial management of the family. She possesses many of the mental characteristics of her father. Her memory is seldom surpassed and she is a close observer of men and things. Her common sense and native vigor of mind avail her and more than compensate for the want of a collegiate education. (History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle, 1887, pg. 510)

M. M. HARTZEL, farmer, P. O. Hetlerville, was born in Mifflin Township, Columbia Co., Penn., February 2, 1845, a son of Jonas and Mary Magdalena (HELLER) HARTZEL, both natives of this county. John Jacob HARZEL, grandfather of our subject, came from Northampton county, Penn., about 1813, and located in Roaringcreek; thence came to Mifflin Township, one year after. He was a cooper by trade but bought a farm in this township, on which he put up a cooper-shop and carried on coopering and farming for many years, but gave up the cooperage about thirty years before his death. He died about September, 1867, aged ninety years, ten months and four days, and is buried at Mifflinville. He was twice married; first to miss NUSS, and second to Mrs. HARPSTER, but survived both. Jonas HARTZEL, father of our subject, learned the cooper trade when a boy from his father, and followed it five or six years, when he gave it up and turned his entire attention to farming. He was actively engaged at farm labor until the time of his death; he died June 9, 1881, aged sixty-five years, seven months and seventeen days, and is buried at mifflinville. His wife died November 13, 1879, aged sixty-one years, five months and ten days, and is buried by the side of her husband. Our subject was reared in Columbia County, and followed farming on the home place until he arrived at the age of twenty-two, when he went to Berwick and commenced to learn the carpenter's trade. He then returned to Berwick, and was engaged at car building until the spring of 1881, when he bought eighty-five acres of land which had formerly belonged to his father, and this land he has since continued to farm. He married in Mifflin Township, in April 1871, Miss Frances Ann LONGENBERGER, a native of Butler Township, Luzerne County, and a daughter of Simon and Lucinda (KIKENDALL) LONGENBERGER, both deceased and buried at Mifflinville. Mr. and Mrs. HARTZEL were the parents of four children, three of whom are living: Lula May, Minnie Florence and Clarence Bruce. The deceased one was named Wilson Montgomery. Mr. HARTZEL is a member of the Grange, and has been a member of other organizations. He is also a member of the Old School Lutheran Church; his wife of the Baptist denomination. In politics he is a Democrat. He is serving at present as a school director.(History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle, 1887, pg. 510)

MICHAEL HELLER, farmer, P. O. Hetlerville, was born in Mifflin Township, Columbia County, September 8, 1823, a son of Christopher and Susannah (LANTZ) HELLER. The former was a native of Hellertown, Northampton Co., Penn., and was there reared to farm life; was also married there and afterward removed to Columbia County, where he lived the remainder of his life. It was about 1816 when he came to this county. His father, Michael HELLER, the grandfather of our subject, was a soldier in the Revolution and served under Washington. Christopher followed farming after coming to Columbia County, and put up a blacksmith shop, where he did his own smith work. He died about December 14, 1861, aged seventy-six years, and is buried in the Mifflinville Cemetery. His widow died May 4, 1872, aged eighty-four years, and is also buried at Mifflinville. Our subject was reared in Mifflin Township and has always lived on the place where he now resides, and which his father settled upon coming to this county. He farmed with his father until the retirement of the latter, when our subject took the entire charge of the farm. His father willed him eighty-five acres, and since that time he has added sixty-three acres more. Our subject married in Columbia County, March 13, 1847, Miss Mary Ann HETLER, a native of Columbia county, and a daughter of Michael HETLER. Her parents are both deceased and are buried at Mifflinville. Mrs. HELLER died in 1863, and is buried at the same place. She bore her husband seven children, four of whom are living: Francis Whitney, married to Mary Elizabeth HELLER (they reside at Wapwollopen); Hiram Wesley, a resident of Montrose, Susquehanna County, this State; Christopher Columbus married to Anna DODSON (they reside at Hazleton, Penn.), and Sarah Catherine. The deceased are John Madison, Harriet Alice and an infant. Mr. HELLER's second marriage took place February 15, 1864, with Miss Elizabeth SMOYER, a native of Columbia County, and a daughter of Peter SMOYER. Her parents are both deceased. By this marriage the following children were born: Alfred Bartley, Amandus and Wilson Arnolphus, living. Rush Monroe, Martha Minerva, William Harvey and an infant unnamed are deceased. Mr. and Mrs. HELLER are members of the German Reformed Church, of which he was for many years deacon. He is now overseer of the poor and is serving his third year in that capacity. He is a Republican and was twice elected to the position notwithstanding the fact that the township is over ten to one Democratic, and although he made no effort to be elected. He is a member of the I. O. O. F., Lodge No. 246, Berwick, and has passed all the chairs in the lodge.(History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle, 1887, pg. 511)

AARON W. HESS, hotel-keeper, Mifflinville, was born in Luzerne County, Penn., November 30, 1827, a son of Jeremiah and Mary (FENSTAMACHER) HESS, the former a native of Wilheim Township, Northampton Co., Penn., and the latter of Luzerne County, same State. The father came to Luzerne County with his parents when but eight years of age, learned the miller's trade and later erected a mill at Wapwollopen, Luzerne County. After operating the mill for a couple of years he traded the property for a farm on which he lived for the remainder of his life. He died in 1880 aged about eighty-five years, and during the last twenty-five years of his life had lived returned, attending to his farm. His wife died in 1860, and both are buried in Beach Haven Cemetery, Salem Township. They were both members of the Reformed Church, and were the parents of thirteen children, ten of whom are living, and of which Aaron W. is the seventh child and made his home with his parents and worked with his father until the age of twenty-one, and from that time until twenty-five worked at home in the winter and boated in the summer on the canal from Wilkesbarre to Baltimore and Philadelphia. He had a boat built, of which he was the owner, and with which he was engaged during the time mentioned in the coal and lumber carrying trade. He married, January 2, 1855, in Beaver Township this county, Miss Esther BITTENBENNER, a native of Luzerne County, and a daughter of Jacob and Catherine (NUSS) BITTENBENNER, both deceased, her father being buried near Shamokin and her mother at Nescopeck, Luzerne County. For the first two years after his marriage Mr. HESS and his wife lived on his father's farm in Luzerne County. The year after marriage he discontinued business on the canal and sold his boat. On removing from Luzerne County he located in Mifflin Township, Columbia County, where he had purchased a farm of 113 acres. There he lived for eight years and then removed to Mainville and took charge of the hotel now conducted by Mr. LONGENBERGER, which he had also purchased. The next spring he sold both the farm and hotel and came to Mifflinville where he bought the hotel property which he now owns and conducts. This was in the spring of 1867, and Mr. HESS has since continued at the same stand. He and his wife were the parents of six children, two of whom died in infancy. The living are Clara Adora, wife of A. W. SNYDER, a merchant at Mifflinville; Harvey Wilbur, a traveling salesman for J. C. Bright & Co., shippers and dealers in oil-he also learned the jeweler's trade at Hazleton; Milton J., studying dentistry with Dr. ERVIN of Catawissa, and George W., learning the jewelry business at Hazleton. Mrs. HESS is a member of the Lutheran Church, as are most of the family. Mr. HESS owns thirty-five acres outside the corporation besides ten or twelve acres in lots and residence property in Mifflinville, also a house and lot in Mountain Grove. He was overseer of the poor for two years. In politics he is a Democrat. About two years after our subject's mother died his father married Widow RUCKLE, who died shortly after his death.(History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle, 1887, pg. 511)

L. B. KOEHLER, farmer, P. O. Mifflinville, was born at Nescopeck, Luzerne Co., Penn., May 18, 1854, a son of John George and Catherine (HELLER) KOEHLER. His father was a native of Saxe-Coburg, Germany, and his mother of Bethlehem, Penn. The former learned the trade of pump-making in his native country, and at the age of twenty-six took his departure for America, coming direct to Luzerne County, Penn. After remaining a year he sent for his family, and his father, mother, two brothers and sisters came over and settled in Luzerne County, where his parents died and also one of his brothers. He carried on pump-making and also owned his farm, which was conducted by his sons. He died in Luzerne County on the 2d of February, 1884, and is buried at Black Creek, Luzerne County. His widow died May 2, 1885, and is buried alongside her husband. Our subject was reared at Nescopeck and made it his home until coming to Columbia county in the spring of 1885. He farmed his father's place until 1882, when he purchased it and continued to farm until coming to his present location. He was married at Conyngham, Luzerne Co., Penn., June 12, 1874, to Miss Catherine BITTENBENDER, a native of Black Creek Township, Luzerne County, and a daughter of Jonas and Caroline (LUTZ) BITTENBENDER, former a native of Luzerne County, latter of Columbia County, and are still residents of Black Creek Township. Mr. and Mrs. KOEHLER were the parents of six children, of whom four are living: Caroline, Jonas Marcellus, Adas and Cora May. The deceased are Clara Idella and an infant unnamed. Mr. KOEHLER has over seventy-two acres of land, of which about sixty-eight are cultivated. He and his wife are members of the Old School Lutheran Church, still retaining their membership at Black Creek Church, Luzerne County.(History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle, 1887, pg. 512)

WILLIAM J. NUNGESSER, proprietor of the South Mifflin Mills, P. O. Mifflinville, was born in Mifflin Township, Columbia Co., Penn., January 23, 1851; a son of George and Phoebe (ECKROTH) NUNGESSER, both natives of this county. The former followed farming until about 1881, when he sold the farm and mill to his son (our subject), with whom he remains retired from business. His wife died on the 1st of July, 1878, and is buried at Mifflinville. Our subject was reared on the farm where he now resides and which was settled by his grandfather over a century ago, which makes quite a record for one family on one piece of ground. Our subject spent his early life at farming his father's place, and about a year after the construction of the mill he commenced learning the milling business, after which he acted as the miller of the plant until 1881. He then bought eighty-six acres, and hiring a miller, devoted his attention to farming. In the spring of 1885 he resumed milling and now carries on both occupations. He was married in the county, December 25, 1874, to Miss Ellen BREDBENNER, a native of Columbia County, and a daughter of Conrad and Hannah BREDBENNER, residents of Beaver Township. Mr. and Mrs. NUNGESSER are the parents of three children: Martha E., George C. and James J. Mr. NUNGESSER is a member of the Presbyterian Church, and his wife of the Old Lutheran. In politics Mr. NUNGESSER is a Democrat.(History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle, 1887, pg. 512)

J. N. PEIFER, merchant tailor, Mifflinville, was born in Georgetown, Northumberland Co., Penn., December 12, 1834; a son of Nicholas and Mary (FETTERHOLF) PEIFER, both natives of Lower Mahanoy Township, Northumberland Co., Penn. The former was a tailor, which trade he followed until his death; he is buried at Georgetown. The latter resides at Mahantondo Station, Dauphin County, this State. J. N. was reared in Georgetown, and at the age of twelve years commenced to learn the tailor's trade with his father, and worked with the latter until he had reached the age of eighteen years. He then started for himself, opening his first ship in the Mahontondo Valley, and conducted it about a year; thence went to Sacramento, Schuylkill County, where he worked at journey work until the following spring, when he worked on the canal and boated that summer. In the fall he took a trip to Stephenson County, Ill., and worked at farming and tailoring until 1855. He then went to the Madison County (Wis.) lumber regions, and was engaged in rafting on the river about seven months. In the fall he went to Rockwell, Ill., and worked at tailoring that winter, and in the spring worked in his cousin's brickyard in Monroe County, Wis. He returned to Pennsylvania in the fall of 1856, and worked with his father until 1857. February 19, of that year, he married Miss Catherine SHAFER. Her father was accidentally killed, but her mother is still living in Jackson Township, Northumberland County. After his marriage he started a shop for himself at Hickory Corners, same county, and continued it until the war, when he enlisted in Company B, Sixth Pennsylvania Reserves. He served with the regiment until April, 1862, when he was discharged, having participated in the battle of Dranesville. He then returned home, where he remained until March 12, 1864, when he again enlisted, this time in the Thirty-fourth Independent New York Light Infantry, field battery, captain, Jacob ROEMER. They were assigned to the Army of the Potomac and served in the following engagements: Wilderness, Spottsylvania Court House, Salem Church, Gaines' Farm and Cold Harbor. They were before Petersburg from June 17 to August 19, and September 30, 1864, served in the defense of Petersburg and participated in the operations resulting in the fall of Richmond. Mr. PEIFER was also present at the grand review at Washington, and was discharged June 26; 1865, and returned home. His first wife died May 6, 1865, the mother of three children: Jerome Wilson and Mary Ann, who conduct a shop at Nescopeck, Luzerne County, and Catherine, deceased. Mr. PEIFER removed to Mifflinville in the fall of 1865, and from 1867 to 1876 reside in Rockport, Carbon County. January 30, 1866, he married Mrs. FRY, a daughter of George MILLER, and by this marriage four children were born: Ulysses Grant, a cutter at Watsontown; William Thomas, a tailor; Ella Matura Jane and John Jacob Astor. Mr. PEIFER is a member of the C. G. Jackson Post, No 159, at Berwick. He and family are members of the Lutheran Church.(History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle, 1887, pg. 512)

ABRAHAM SCHWEPPENHEISER, farmer, P. O. Mifflinville, was born in Mifflin Township, Columbia Co., Penn., January 3, 1822, a son of John Jacob and Rebecca (SUTTON) SCHWEPPENHEISER, the former a native of Columbia County, this State, and the latter of the State of New Jersey. They lived in this county until their death. John SCHWEPPENHEISER followed farming during life, and died February 20, 1866; his widow died in September, 1880, and both are buried in the Mifflin Cemetery. Abraham was reared in Mifflin Township, and has always made his residence at the old homestead, and farming his occupation. He married, in Lycoming County, on the 24th of May, 1847, Miss Elizabeth P. CLARK. Her parents are both deceased, and are buried in Lycoming county. Mr. and Mr. SCHWEPPENHEISER are the parents of seven children, of whom six are living: Catherine, wife of C. R. HENDERSON, in McDonough County, Ill.; Ella, wife of George Milton LEHMAN, in Mifflin township, this county; Lydia Alice, wife of Aaron A. BREDBENNER, also in Mifflin township; Martha, wife of Jacob KNECHT, resides in Berwick, this county; Miranda, wife of R. S. WINTERSTEEN, Mifflinville, and Wilmina Jane. Mr. SCHWEPPENHEISER has ninety acres of land, all of which is under cultivation. He is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and his wife of the Methodist. He has served as supervisor two years and as school director of Mifflin Township eighteen years. In politics he is a Democrat.(History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle, 1887, pg. 513)

JACOB YOHE, (deceased) was born near Mifflinville, this county, October 12, 1810, to Peter and Nonie (FORTNER) YOHE, the former a native of Berks County, Penn., and the latter of New Jersey. Both came to Columbia County when young; here they were married, lived and died, and both are buried in Mifflinville, the former died about 1855 and the latter about 1851. Jacob learned the milling trade when a boy at the Mifflinville mills, and when he had reached manhood and finished his trade his father built the YOHE or Mifflin mills, which Jacob conducted for his father until the latter's death. About two or three years after that event Jacob purchased the mill property, which he conducted until one year before his death. He was then elected county treasurer and served two years, after which he lived retired until his death. He married, October 18, 1836, Miss Rachel BROWN, a native of Columbia County, born February 13, 1814, and a daughter of John and Elizabeth (LUNNENBERRY) BROWN, both of whom were born in the State of New Jersey, and were there married before coming to Pennsylvania. The former was a farmer in New Jersey, and followed that occupation after coming to Columbia County. Besides Rachel, there were ten other children, of whom six are living, including Mrs. YOHE> Mr. BROWN died in this county in February, 1863; his wife had died some years prior. Mr. and Mrs., YOHE were the parents of eight children, two of whom are living: Margaret, wife of Luther HUTCHINS (had ten children, four living), at Rock Glen, Luzerne Co., Penn., and Marshall, who resides with his mother. The deceased were named as follows: John Wesley, whose widow and two children survive him; Ezra; David Brown; Ashbol Gwynn, whose widow and two children survive him; Naomi Jane and Benjamin Fortner. Mr. YOHE died August 29, 1871, and is buried at Mifflinville. He was a man much esteemed, and enjoyed a large and favorable acquaintance throughout this section of country. He was a member of the Methodist Church; his widow is a member of the same at Mefflinville.(History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle, 1887, pg. 513)

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