MONTOUR COUNTY, PA BIOGRAPHIES

VALLEY TOWNSHIP

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


 
JOHN BENFIELD, farmer and lumberman, P. O. Danville, was born in Columbia County, Penn., February 5, 1832, a son of Thomas and Catherine (WERTMAN) BENFIELD, natives of Pennsylvania, and of German origin. His father was engaged in several branches of business, among which were distilling, boating, milling and lumbering, and was very successful. John is the second of three children, and spent his earlier years with his parents on the farm in Valley Township. Here he was educated, and has been engaged in business, being a farmer, miller, dealer in and manufacturer of lumber, and has met with success in his ventures. He is the owner of 600 acres of land in different farms in Montour County, and 400 acres of woodland in Columbia County. He also owns the BENFIELD flour-mill in Valley Township. In 1855 he married Catherine, daughter of Daniel and Sarah (EVERETT) CROMLEY, and of German descent. The children born to Mr. and Mrs. BENFIELD are Catherine (wife of Robert CROSLEY, a farmer), Emma Jane, John Clark and Thomas H. Mrs. BENFIELD is a member of the Lutheran Church. Mr. BENFIELD is a Democrat, and was recently elected associate judge of Montour County. The judge is a prominent citizen of Valley Township.("History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania" Battle - 1887 Valley Township pg. 215)

JOSEPH BRYANT, Danville, weigh-master for the Montour Iron & Steel Company, also farmer in Valley Township, Montour Co., Penn., was born May 6, 1833, son of Samuel and Hannah (SPERRING) BRYANT, natives of England. Samuel BRYANT was a miner; he went from England to Wales, and in 1837 came to Pottsville, Penn., where he worked in the iron ore mines. Our subject attended school in Danville, Penn., and early in life was apprenticed to learn the puddler's trade in the rolling-mill in Danville, which occupation he followed until the breaking out of the Rebellion in 1861, when he enlisted in the Fifty-fourth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, in Company E, and was discharged in 1862 for disability. After returning home and regaining his health, he accepted his present position, and has since devoted most of his time to it. He was married, in 1856, to Lydia, daughter of Jacob ROUP; she was born in Pennsylvania, and of German origin. They have five children now living: Charles M. (a miner), Henrietta, Alice, Martha, Sarah J. (deceased). In politics Mr. BRYANT is a Republican. ("History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania" Battle - 1887 Valley Township pg. 215)

D. R. P. CHILDS, farmer, P. O. Danville, was born in the house where he now resides, in Valley Township, Montour Co., Penn., October 16, 1838, son of Andrew and Margaret (ARNWINE) CHILDS. The former was born in Northumberland County, Penn., June 13, 1789, of parents John and Mary (GREGG) CHILDS, the former born in England and the latter in Ireland, and were married in Northumberland County, February 1, 1785. They were farmers and came to Valley Township in 1795 and commenced to improve the farm where Mr. CHILDS now resides. Mr. CHILD's father was a farmer, and spent nearly all his life here in that occupation. He reared a large family and died in 1865. The widow, who was born in New Jersey, November 17, 1798, a daughter of Jacob ARNWINE, a farmer is still living. Our subject's parents were married in Valley Township, October 24, 1815. This union was blessed with fifteen children, thirteen of them living to be grown, nine of whom were sons. Twelve of the family are now living (1886). D. R. P. CHILDS was the fourteenth in the family, was reared on the home farm, attending school in his native township, and has always followed farming. In 1862 he enlisted in the One Hundred and Seventy-eighth Pennsylvania Infantry, served nine months and was discharged in 1863 on account of ill health. In politics he is a Democrat.("History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania" Battle - 1887 Valley Township pg. 215)

JOHN A. COOPER, miller, P. O. Danville, was born near Washingtonville, Montour Co., Penn., August 15, 1859, son of Abraham and Jane (LANEY) COOPER. They were natives of Pennsylvania and of Irish and German origin. Abraham COOPER was a farmer all his life; his family consisted of six children; he was twice married, J. A. being the only child by his second marriage. Our subject attended the schools of Washingtonville and remained on the farm with his parents until he went to learn the miller's trade, and in due time became a miller, which has since been his business. He has met with success, and now owns the Frosty mills in Valley Township. His mills were destroyed by fire in 1883, and since then he has rebuilt them. He was married in 1884 to Miss Daisy, daughter of Lafayette FAUST, a native of Pennsylvania. They have one child, Vergia May. Mr. COOPER is a Republican in politics.("History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania" Battle - 1887 Valley Township pg. 215)

JOSEPH CORELL, general merchant at Mausdale, P. O. Danville, was born in Northampton County, Penn., August 12, 1818, a son of George and Susannah (SCHOCH) CORELL, natives of Pennsylvania and of German descent. The grandfather came from Germany; settled in Northampton County, Penn., and followed farming, which was also the vocation of George CORELL. Joseph is the fifth in a family of twelve children, and was reared on the farm. In 1849 he came to Columbia County and followed agricultural pursuits. He served a regular apprenticeship at millwrighting, and worked at it for six years, and again farmed for a time in Columbia County. In 1868 he embarked in the general mercantile business at Bloomsburg, and subsequently moved to Mausdale, where he still continues in business. In 1843 he married Elizabeth HESLETT, who was of Scotch descent and died in 1870. Mr. CORELL in 1884 married Rachel M. MULLIN, daughter of John S. and Catherie M. (PLUSH) MULLIN, the mother of German and the father of Irish-German origin. Mrs. CORELL is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, but her husband affiliates with the Reformed Church at Mausdale, in which he is an elder and was formerly superintendent of the Sabbath-school. Politically he is a Republican; is director of the poor and treasurer of the board, and one of the representative citizens of Mausdale.("History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania" Battle - 1887 Valley Township pg. 216)

JAMES CURRY, deceased, was born in what is now Valley Township, about 1812, where he passed his life, dying in 1876, honored and respected by all who knew him. He was the eldest son of William and Jane (MOORE) CURRY; was educated in Montour County and made farming his business, and was the owner of 245 acres of well improved land at the time of his death. In politics he was a Democrat, and held most of the township offices in Valley Township, also served ten years as an associate judge of Montour County. February 2, 1841, he married Christiana, daughter of Samuel YORKS and granddaughter of William YORKS. The latter was an officer in the Revolution under Washington. Mrs. CURRY's father was a lieutenant in the war of 1812, and died in Danville in 1868 at the age of seventy-nine years. When eight years of age he came to Columbia County, and grew up on the farm where the State asylum now stands, and became a successful business man. He reared a family of nine children, only two of whom now survive, Mrs. THOMPSON and the widow of our subject. To Judge and Mrs. CURRY six children were born, all of whom are living: William; Elizabeth, wife of James McWILLIAMS; Agnes; Mary Ella, wife of Dr. W. FAULDS; Samuel and Stewart. Mrs. CURRY is a member of the Presbyterian Church, of which denomination the CURRY and YORK families have always been members.("History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania" Battle - 1887 Valley Township pg. 216)

WILLIAM CURRY, farmer and stockgrower, P. O. Danville, was born in Valley Township, Montour County, November 23, 1842, a son of Hon. James and Christiana (YORKS) CURRY, of Irish and German origin and whose ancestors were among the early settlers of Pennsylvania. William is the eldest in a family of six children and was reared on the farm in Valley township. He was educated in the country schools, and academy at Danville, and adopted agriculture as his vocation. In 1873 he married Helen, daughter of Samuel LOWRIE, of Scotch-Irish descent. Mr. and Mrs. CURRY have five children: Eloise, James, Anna, Robert and Jean. The parents are members of the Grove Presbyterian Church of Danville. Mr. CURRY has been school director. Politically he is a Democrat.("History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania" Battle - 1887 Valley Township pg. 216)

SAMUEL CURRY, farmer and stock grower, P. O. Mooresburg, was born on the farm where he now resides in Valley Township, Montour County, September 3, 1819, a son of William and Jane (MOORE) CURRY, natives of Pennsylvania and of Irish origin. The grandfather, Robert CURRY, came from Ireland to America and settled in what is now Montour County, Penn., where he was killed by the Indians. William CURRY was reared here and became a successful farmer, and was the father of the following children: James, who grew to manhood, married, engaged in farming and died in 1876; Margaret, who was married to Daniel MONTGOMERY; Robert and Samuel. The last two farm the homestead and are the third generation on it, the deed to which has never been in any other name. They are partners and own 250 acres of land; are industrious and honest and enjoy the respect of all who know them. In politics the family have usually been Democrats. James, their elder brother, died in 1876, and had served as associate judge of Montour county.("History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania" Battle - 1887 Valley Township pg. 216)

JONATHAN DAVIS, farmer and stock grower, P. O. Danville, was born where he now resides in Valley Township, July 23, 1819, a son of Griffith J. and Phebe (BURRY) DAVIS, natives of Pennsylvania and of Welsh descent. His father, a relative of the famous Jefferson DAVIS, ex-president of the Southern Confederacy, was engaged in farming all his life and died in 1874. Jonathan was educated at the schools of his native county, and from youth up has been engaged in agricultural pursuits, and has been very successful. He is a member of the Presbyterian Church and stanch Democrat politically.("History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania" Battle - 1887 Valley Township pg. 216)

DAVID DAVIS, farmer, P. O. Danville, was born in Valley Township, January 5, 1823, and is a brother of the preceding gentleman. He was educated in the common schools and engaged in farming. He and his brother, Jonathan, are partners and together own the farm of 300 acres. Mr. DAVIS married in Northumberland County, Penn., Theodocia, daughter of Gen. William CASE of the Pennsylvania militia. This union has been blessed by two children: Thomas Beaver and William. Mr. and Mrs. DAVIS are members of the Presbyterian Church. He generally refuses to accept office, but has served as assessor.("History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania" Battle - 1887 Valley Township pg. 216)

JAMES FENSTERMACHER, farmer and stock grower and owner of the FENSTERMACHER tannery in Valley Township, P. O. Danville, was born in Valley Township, April 4, 1849, a son of Charles and Catherine (SCHUMACHER) FENSTERMACHER, natives of Lehigh County, Penn. His father came to Montour County about 1831, a tanner by trade, and about 1836 built the tannery, which he operated until his death in 1886. He served one term as one of the commissioners of Montour County. James is the only son in a family of three children; was reared in his native township, and educated at Danville and Mercersburg College, Franklin County. He engaged in farming and tanning, has met with success, and owns 200 acres of land on which he resides. He married, in 1872, Kate KOCHER, a native of Pennsylvania, who has borne him four children, of whom Ida P., Charles N. and Laura May are living, one having died at the age of two and a half years. Mr. and Mrs. FENSTERMACHER are members of the Reformed Church, in which he is a deacon. His parents were also identified with that denomination, his father serving as a deacon and elder for many years.("History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania" Battle - 1887 Valley Township pg. 217)

NATHAN FENSTERMACHER, farmer, P. O. Danville, was born in Lehigh County, Penn., January 8, 1827, son of Abraham and Christianna (WISE) FENSTERMACHER, natives of Pennsylvania and of German origin. His paternal and maternal ancestors were among the early settlers of Pennsylvania. His father was a merchant miller by occupation, and settled in Valley Township in 1834 on the farm where Nathan now resides and which he owns. Abraham erected a saw-mill and tannery until his death in 1851. His family consisted of eight children, of whom Nathan was the fifth. He was reared in Valley Township on the farm, attended the district schools and chose farming as an occupation, in which he has met with success, and is the owner of 112 acres of land. He was the father, being a native of Valley Township, born March 3, 1810. The house in which he was born is still standing. Our subject and wife have two children: Minnie and Estella J. The family are members of the Reformed Church, in which he has been a deacon and of which he is now an elder, treasurer, and secretary and treasurer of the Sunday-school. In politics he is a Republican.("History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania" Battle - 1887 Valley Township pg. 217)

JAMES FLORA, retired hotel-keeper, P. O. Danville, was born in 1817 in Columbia County, Penn. He is the son of Joseph and Jane (CRAIG) FLORA; Joseph Flora was a miller, and followed that as a business for many years. James, our subject, was his only child, and was reared in Montour County, attending the subscription schools. Jane FLORA lived to the advanced age of ninety-eight; Joseph FLORA died before our subject was born, therefore the latter's knowledge of his father is limited. They were of Scotch-Irish descent. Our subject has made farming his occupation, but kept the hotel for twenty-one years. He still owns the farm in Anthony Township, the hotel in Valley Township and other real estate. He was married, in 1841, to Sarah Ann, daughter of John SMITH; she is of German origin. They have six children now living: Jane E. (wife of Samuel BEAVER), Sally Ann (wife of Grier ACOR), Mary C. (wife of Wesley PERRY), William, Hannah (wife of Henry BILLINGER) and Caroline (wife of Harry A. GRIENER). The family are members of the Reformed Church, and in politics Mr. Flora is a Democrat.("History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania" Battle - 1887 Valley Township pg. 217)

EDWARD FRAZIER, farmer, P. O. Danville, was born in Danville, Penn., February 16, 1852, son of Daniel F. FRAZIER, who was the first sheriff of Montour County, of which the brother of Edward is the present sheriff. Edward is the youngest of the family of seven children, and was reared on the farm, receiving schooling in the district school. He chose farming as his occupation and has followed it until the present time, being owner of the farm where he now resides in Valley Township. He was married in 1881 to Sarah J. (of German origin), daughter of Samuel HERR. Their children are Samuel and Alice. Mr. FRAZIER is a member of the Lutheran Church, and in politics is a Republican.("History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania" Battle - 1887 Valley Township pg. 217)

HARRY A. GREINGER, carriage-grimmer and musician, P. O. Danville, was born in Lehigh County, Penn., March 9, 1853, son of Christian and Tacy (LEVAN) GREINER. His father was born in Wurtemberg, Germany, his mother in Lehigh County, Penn., and of German origin. His father was a brewer in Germany, but after he came to America he followed the occupation and business of manufacturing carriages. His family consisted of nine children, of which H. A. is the sixth. He was reared in Snyder County, Penn., attending school at Selin's Grove. He excelled in penmanship and music. In 1873 he came to Montour County, and engaged in teaching music and carriage-trimming. He was married in 1874 to Caroline, daughter of James and Sarah A. (SMITH) FLORA. They have one child now living, William. Mr. and Mrs. GREINER are members of the Reformed Church. In politics he is a Democrat.("History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania" Battle - 1887 Valley Township pg. 217)

JOHN HENDRICKS, farmer, P. O. Danville, was born in Montgomery County, Penn., October 25, 1826, son of Abraham and Mary (HUNSICKER) HENDRICKS. John HUNSICKER, his grandfather, was a bishop in the Menonite Church and served for twenty years in that capacity. Abraham HENDRICKS was a farmer and the father of six children, all living to be grown and married. Roger HENDRICKS, brother of our subject, is also a prominent farmer in Valley Township. At the age of seventeen John, our subject, commenced to teach school, and followed that until he was thirty-one years of age, and since then has devoted his time to farming. He came to Montour County, Penn., in 1858 and settled on the farm where he now resides. He was married in 1861 to Hannah, daughter of Jacob and Sarah (ROBERTS) HIGHLEY, who were of German and Welsh extraction. The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. HENDRICKS has been blessed with three children: Joseph, who is a carpenter by trade; Frank, also a carpenter, and Sally at home. Mr. HENDRICKS is a Republican in politics, and at present is a justice of the peace. He has served as school director for twelve years.("History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania" Battle - 1887 Valley Township pg. 217)

W. S. LAWRENCE, superintendent of the Montour Iron and Steel Iron Mines, in Valley Township, Montour County, was born in Danville, Penn., December 20, 1842, son of William T. and Ann (PHILLIPS) LAWRENCE. His parents were born in Monmouthshire, South Wales. William T. LAWRENCE, a miner by occupation, was married in Wales in 1839, came to America and settled in Montour County, Penn., where he worked in the iron mines. Of their ten children only two survive, W. S., and Sarah Ann, who is now the wife of Joseph WOODFORD, of Valley Township. Our subject was reared in Danville, attending the common schools, and at an early age went to work in the old Rough and Ready Mill of that place. At the age of fifteen he commenced to work in the mines, and when twenty-seven years old was appointed foreman. Since 1882 he has served as superintendent of the mines. He was married in 1863 to Rachel, daughter of William CHURM, a native of England. This union has been blessed with nine children, eight of them now living-five sons and three daughters. The family have been members of the Baptist Church. In politics Mr. LAWRENCE is a Republican and he has served nine years as school director in Valley Township. He is the owner of a farm, and all he has acquired has been by his own industry and exertion.("History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania" Battle - 1887 Valley Township pg. 218)

A. J. MAUS, farmer, P. O. Danville, was born in Montour County, Penn., September 15, 1831, a son of Lewis and Catherine (BAUGHMAN) MAUS, whose paternal and maternal ancestors were among the earliest settlers of Pennsylvania. His maternal grandfather was a soldier in the Revolution, and the gun carried by him all through that struggle is in possession of our subject. His father, Lewis MAUS, ran the first keel-bottom boat on the Susquehanna, and bought an extensive tract of land in Valley Township, which was then a wilderness. A. J. is the youngest in a family of ten children, nine of whom grew to maturity; was reared in Valley Township and has farmed most of his life. Since 1879 he has acted as agent for Walter A. WOOD, of Hoosick Falls, N. Y., manufacturer of reapers and binders, and this is at present his principal business. In 1847 he married Harriet BILLMEYER. Their children are Maggie, wife of Orin KIMERER; Matthew, in the employ of the Walter A. WOOD Mowing & Reaping Machine Company, of New York, and at present in South America; Ida, wife of H. H. SOUTHWICK; Harry and Edna. Mr. and Mrs. MAUS are members of the Episcopal Church.("History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania" Battle - 1887 Valley Township pg. 218)

PHILIP E. MAUS, bookkeeper and business manager for his father, Philip F. MAUS, was born May 22, 1852, and is the only surviving member of the family. His mother, whose maiden name was Sarah GALLAGHER, was born in Lycoming County, Penn.; was of Scotch-Irish and German origin. His father was born in what is now Valley Township, made milling and farming his business, and succeeded in amassing a handsome fortune. His birth occurred in 1810, a son of Joseph MAUS, who was a soldier in the Revolution, serving under Washington at Valley Forge. The great grandfather of our subject was Philip MAUS, who was among the earliest German settlers here. Philip E. attended school in Danville, and also the Tuscarora Academy and Chambersburg Academy. He commenced business first as a lumber dealer, but, on account of his father's health, came home to assist the latter in his business. In 1878 he married Mary R. LEINBACH, of German descent, and a daughter of John B., a farmer of Northumberland County. Politically Mr. MAUS is a Republican.("History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania" Battle - 1887 Valley Township pg. 218)

WILLIAM PURSEL, Sr., farmer, P. O. Danville, was born in Hemlock Township, Columbia Co., Penn., April 9, 1808, son of Daniel and Mary (GREEN) PURSEL, natives of New Jersey, and of Irish origin. Daniel PURSEL was a blacksmith and farmer, and came to Columbia County with the early settlers; his family consisted of eight sons and three daughters. Our subject was the seventh child, and was reared on the farm, attending the subscription schools in the township; he chose farming as his occupation, but learned the tanner's trade and worked at it four years, when he again resumed farming, and made that his business until he retired from the active labors of life. In business he has met with success, and is the owner of the farm where he now resides. He was united in marriage in 1830, with Susan, daughter of Peter and Elizabeth (RUPERT) FARNWALD; her parents were natives of Pennsylvania, and of German origin. The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. PURSEL has been blessed with seven children, (six now living): Charles, Daniel G., Sarah B. (now the wife of P. MOORE), Peter, William F. (deceased), James, and Samuel who has charge of the farm. Mr. and Mrs. PURSEL are members of the Reformed Church in which he has been a deacon and elder. He has served as school director, supervisor, and overseer of the poor.("History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania" Battle - 1887 Valley Township pg. 218)

STEPHEN F. ROBERTS, farmer, P. O. Danville, was born in Mahoning Township, Montour Co., Penn., July 10, 1814, son of Edward and Rebecca (PHILLIPS) ROBERTS, natives of Montgomery County, Penn., and of English and Welsh origin. Edward ROBERTS was a carpenter in early life, and finally settled on a farm in Montour County. His family consisted of ten children, all of whom were reared in Montour County. Our subject attended the common schools in Mahoning County, and remained on the farm with his parents until old enough to learn the tailor's trade, but, on account of ill health, he has devoted his time to farming. Since 1849 he has resided in Valley Township on the farm owned by A. F. RUSSEL, and his heirs, of Danville. Mr. ROBERTS has farmed this property for thirty-three years. He was married, in 1847, to Miss Margaret M., daughter of Stephen GEORGE, of Irish origin. Their children now living are Eli W. and George E. Mr. and Mrs. ROBERTS are members of the Grove Presbyterian Church. In politics he is a Republican, and has held nearly all of the offices in Valley Township; served three terms as justice of the peace, and three terms as director, supervisor and tax collector.("History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania" Battle - 1887 Valley Township pg. 219)

E. SIDLER, farmer and stock grower, P. O. Danville, was born on the farm where he now resides, march 26, 1829, a son of Jacob and Elizabeth (BENFIELD) SIDLER, natives of Pennsylvania, the former of German origin. In early life he learned the carpenter's trade, but has made farming his chief occupation. Our subject is the fourth in a family of eight children, and was educated in the district school, and from his youth up has been engaged in agricultural pursuits. He now owns 100 acres of land where he resides, and where he has one of the most desirable country dwellings to be found in Valley Township. Mr. SIDLER has been twice married; first, in 1853, to Rebecca, daughter of Abraham FENSTERMACHER. Mrs. SIDLER died in 1872, the mother of the following children; Martha (wife of Calvin SCHULTZ, Nathan Elmer (a farmer) and William H. In 1874 Mr. SIDLER married Rebecca, daughter of Peter BRIGHT, and a sister of Hon. Dennis BRIGHT, of Danville. Her mother was of Welsh and her father of German descent. Mr. SIDLER is a member of the Lutheran Church, in which he has been an elder and a deacon, and is now treasurer. He was director of the poor twelve years, and served one term as county treasurer, as school director six years, and supervisor two years.("History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania" Battle - 1887 Valley Township pg. 219)

THOMAS T. YOUNG, farmer and stock grower, P. O. Danville, was born in England, December 8, 1838, a son of George and Louise (PURNELL) YOUNG, natives of England. His father was a prominent farmer in his native country, where he died when Thomas was only six years of age. Later his widow married Charles HARDING, and in 1857, in company with his mother and step-father, our subject came to America and settled in Danville. Here Thomas first worked in the iron ore mines, and subsequently was appointed foreman of the Bradford County Mines, where he remained a short time. Since 1878 he has been engaged in agricultural pursuits, and is a successful farmer. He has been twice married. His first wife, whom he married in 1866, was Miss Jane BEDDOW, a native of Pennsylvania, and of English origin. She died in 1874, the mother of five children, of whom Mary Louise is living. Mr. YOUNG next married in Danville in 1875, Clara M., a native of Pennsylvania, and a daughter of Jonathan RUDY, and one child, Viola, was born to the union. Mr. and Mrs. YOUNG are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, at Danville, of which he is a trustee, and in which he has been a class leader and superintendent of the Sunday-school. In politics he is a Republican.("History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania" Battle - 1887 Valley Township pg. 219)

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