Distinguished Citizens of
Excerpts from History of Allegany County
by Williams and Thomas (1923)
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PATRICK HAMILL, member of Congress, and a director of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, was born in Maryland, April 28th, 1819. He was the third son of Patrick and Mary (Morrison) Hamill of County Antrim, Ireland. His father was a rebel under Emmett, in 1798, and was forced to flee to America to save his life. He was a Catholic, but his wife, Mary, was a Methodist. He was educated at the common schools of his neighborhood until he was of age, when he went to a private teacher at his own expense. He learned the carpenter's trade, at which he worked one year, then engaged in farming and stock-raising. In 1841 he was appointed Collector for Allegany county, which position he held for two years. In 1843 he was elected to the Legislature, and was reelected in 1844. In 1845 he commenced merchandising, and continued in the business for ten years. He was nominated to the Constitutional Convention which met in 1852, but declined, and held no public office until appointed Judge of the Orphan's Court by Governor Ligon. He was re-elected to the same office for a second term. In 1866 he was elected to the Legislature, but declined to take his seat because of the test oath and other causes. In 1868 he was again elected Judge of the Orphan's Court for Allegany county. He was tendered the nomination for the Constitutional Convention which framed the present constitution of Maryland, but declined; was nominated and elected to the Forty-first Congress, to succeed Governor Thomas. He held on public office afterward except that of Director of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.
JOHN R. HAMILTON, of Lonaconing, superintendent of the extensive workings of the Georges Creek Coal Company in Maryland and West Virginia, is a man of large experience in the successful operation and management of coal properties, his association with that business in this region covering more than twenty-five years.
The Hamiltons have been identified with Lonaconing since 1864, when John
Hamilton, grandfather of John R. Hamilton, brought his family here from Ireland.
Robert Hamilton, father of John R. Hamilton, was born in Ireland, and was nine
years old when he accompanied his parents to this country and settled with the
family at Lonaconing, Allegany county, Maryland, where he still continues to
make his home. He is a steam and mechanical engineer. To his marriage with
Isabella Reynolds, a native of Scotland, has been born one son, John R.
John R. Hamilton was born at Lonaconing, January 16, 1877, and was reared and educated there, enjoying the best public school privileges until he was fourteen years old. At that age he began to work as a clerk for the New Central Coal Company at Lonaconing, remaining in their employ ten years, until he joined the rush to Alaska in 1901 to prospect for gold, passing seven months at Dawson City. On his return to Lonaconing, in 1902, he took a position as assistant cashier in the Miners' & Merchants' Bank there, holding it until 1904, since when he has been in the service of the Georges Creel: Company. He began as clerk, was promoted to paymaster in 1906, and in 1908 became chief clerk, filling that position until the company changed hands in 1910, and assumed its present title of Georges Creek Coal Company, formerly Georges Creek Coal & Iron Company. In the fall of that year he was promoted to superintendent, having complete oversight of the large working force of the company, now comprising about four hundred men at the Maryland operations and one hundred and fifty men in West Virginia. Mr. Hamilton has demonstrated his thorough fitness for his present responsibilities, not only as an executive under ordinary conditions, but' also for his promptness in meeting emergency situations, and his capacity for placing the
help under his charge most favorably. He has a comprehensive familiarity with general conditions in the territory, as well as in the workings of the Georges Creek Company, and keeps in close personal touch with its employees, whose unqualified respect he has held by his undeviating fairness and honorable treatment, which have been valuable factors in the smoothness of operations at the mines.
Mr. Hamilton is a Mason socially, belonging to Georges Creek Valley Lodge. A. F. & A. M., and Garfield Chapter, No. 30, R. A. M., both of Lonaconing, and Boumi Temple, Mystic Shrine, Baltimore, His religious connection is with the Presbyterian Church, his political affiliation. with the Republican party, in whose activities, however, he takes no part beyond voting.
In 1902 Mr. Hamilton married Miss Nettie M. Duckworth, daughter of Simon Duckworth, of Lonaconing, and they are the parents of three children: Isabell, John Calvin, and Alan.
Reliability, expertness, courage and patience are some of the characteristics absolutely necessary for the efficient discharge of the duties pertaining to the police department of any large city. The applicant for a position on the police force in these days is required to measure up to very high standards and generally, securing his appointment, he plans to spend the remainder of his active years in the discharge of its duties. Making a life work of it, the police official becomes an expert in his line, and is gradually promoted as his record justifies. One of these alert and efficient members of the Cumberland force is Thomas L. Hassan, present desk sergeant, whose birth occurred in this city May 16, 1857.
The parents of Sergeant Hassan, Joseph and Melvina (Holtzman) Hassan, are now deceased, the latter having been a daughter of John and Delahna Holtzman. Joseph Hassan came to Allegany county from Prince George's county, Maryland, where his father, who came to this country from Ireland, had established himself as a currier and tanner, and from the early part of the last century until his demise continued to be a useful citizen. On the maternal side Sergeant Hassan is descended from a long line of ancestors who were the pioneer settlers of Allegany county; and who have always been active and prominent in the business and political life of this region, and rewarded in many instances by election to offices within the gift of the people.
At a very early age Sergeant Hassan was taken by his parents to Frederick, Maryland, but not long thereafter, while still a boy, he went to Baltimore and began working as an errand boy for the man with whom he had left Frederick. This man was first engaged with Geo. W. Arnold in a baking business, but later, in 1872, began handling queensware. The bakery business with which Mr. Hassan was connected had been originally the property of a man who was implicated in the plot to assassinate President Lincoln. It was while acquiring a knowledge of this business, and later as a traveling salesman in the same line, that Mr. Hassan spent all of his early life until he returned to Cumberland, in 1891, where he was still engaged as a salesman for a Baltimore house. Soon after his return to his native city he began to take an active part in politics, and was a candidate for sheriff and later for collector. Since April 3, 1916, he has been a member of the police force, and no man has a better record.
On September 13, 1893, Mr. Hassan was married to Ellen Reynolds, a daughter
of James W. and Sarah Reynolds, of Washington county, Maryland, who died
December 23, 1921. Mr. and Mrs. Hassan have no children. He belongs to
Cumberland Aerie, No. 245, F. O. E., of which he is a charter member. Few men
are better known all over Allegany county than Mr. Hassan, and he numbers as his
warm personal friends people all over this part of the State. His long
connection with public affairs has given him a keen insight into conditions, and
as he knows his city; is able to properly estimate its needs and measure its
Self help has accomplished about all the great things in the world and the door of opportunity has generally been opened by men who have found success awaiting them therein. In every city every year there are thousands of young men who cherish ambitions in one direction or another, but how few ever reach the top of the ladder. It requires a brave heart to fight one's way through discouragements, temptations and momentary failures, but that many have succeeded is proved by the long list of names honored in business, professional and political circles. These remarks are particularly applicable to the life of Merwin Roy Hast, city clerk of the city of Cumberland, for, although one of the young men of the city, he has already proven his reliability and worth, and stands deservedly high in the confidence and esteem of his fellow citizens.
The birth of Merwin Roy Hast took place in Cumberland, February 18, 1891, and he is a son of Henry and Mary C. (Berg) Hast. They had seven children, namely: William H., who is proprietor of the Bedford Street Fish Market, Cumberland; Albert, who is in the automobile repair business in Cumberland; C. Herman, who was chief mechanical and electrical engineer at the Queen City Garage, and was practically the pioneer in this line of work in Allegany county, and was one of the oldest members of the Cumberland Concert Band and an enthusiastic musician, who died December 14, 1912; G. Lewis, who is now field representative of the Radcliffe Lyceum and Chautauqua, and formerly booked engagements and managed the United States Marine Band; C. Adelia, who married W. H. Askey, of Lonaconing, Maryland; Irene, who died in 1890, and Merwin Roy, who was the youngest in the family.
Merwin Roy Hast was reared in the family home, corner of Bedford and Center streets, in the center of the business district of Cumberland, and attended the city's excellent public schools through the common grades. Following his graduation from the eighth grade, he took a position with the Western Union Telegraph Company, later becoming a telegrapher, and worked as such until after four years he took a position with the relief department of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, and still later was in charge of the clerical work of the Medical Examiner's offices for Cumberland and Keyser, West Virginia, which appointment he held until he was made city clerk of Cumberland, June 1, 1918, and is still filling that office. Mr. Hast has the distinction of being the youngest man to fill this important office during the history of Cumberland, and he is also one of the most capable.
On November 11, 1913, Mr. Hast was united in marriage with Miss Jennie B. Rice, a daughter of Millard F. and Sarah Rice. Mr. and Mrs. Hast have three children: Merwin Roy, Jr., Avis Gwendolyn and Nola Marjorie. Throughout his life Mr. Hast has been an active member of Saint Paul's English Lutheran Church of Cumberland, is a member of the church council and its secretary, is a member of the church choir and was superintendent of the Sunday School, in which important work he succeeded his father, who was also for twenty years a member of the church choir. Although all of the other members of his family are Republicans, and he is active in politics, Mr. Hast has not affiliated definitely with either of the great parties, but is an independent voter, his support to the candidates he deems best fitted for the offices in question. Mr. Hast is clerk to the Civil Service Commissioners, and also a member of the quartette at the Reformed Jewish Synagogue, South Center street.
FINLEY C. HENDRICKSON, of Cumberland, enjoys an extensive practice as a member of the Allegany county bar, where he has gained unimpeachable standing on his merits and honorable record. The substantial character of the clients who rely upon his legal aid and counsel affords reliable testimony as to his personal and professional qualities, which have successfully stood the test of varied responsibilities. Mr. Hendrickson belongs to a family long and favorably known in Allegany county, his grandfather, Jonathan Hendrickson, having settled here over a hundred years ago. Jonathan Hendrickson was a native of Pennsylvania and a wool carder by occupation. His family consisted of eight children, all of whom grew to maturity, namely: Rachael, married to Wm. Blair; Eliza., married to Hanson Cresap; William; Richard; John, N. M.; Oliver P.; Mary L., married to Bryce Gowden, and Rebecca, married to Henry Hardenman, all now deceased.
Oliver P. Hendrickson, father of Finley C. Hendrickson, was born in Allegany county, Maryland, and died in 1893 [25 Apr 1891 according to obituary in Cumberland Times] at the age of seventy-one years. He married Sarah A. Folck, who also died in 1893 [27 Jul 1891 according to obituary in Cumberland Times], aged sixty-nine years, and they were the parents of six children, viz.: Caroline, who married R. R. Eyler; Summerfield, who married Elizabeth Wilson; Milton C., who married Laura Smouse; Victoria, now the wife of E. B. Willison; Orion P., and Finley C.
Finley C. Hendrickson was born October 22, 1863, seven miles east of Cumberland, his birthplace being on the Mason and Dixon line, on the Pennsylvania side. His boyhood was spent in rural environment, his early education acquired in the country schools, and during his youth he worked on a farm. Having determined to enter the legal profession, he began to study law with Judge A. Hunter Boyd, remaining under his tuition for two years, and gaining admission to the Allegany county bar in the year 1895. While carrying on his preparatory studies he had been engaged as a stenographer, and his experience in that capacity gained him the appointment, one year after he was admitted to practice, as court stenographer, a position which he continued to fill, in addition to attending to the obligations of hire private practice, for a period of thirteen years. Since 1909 he has devoted his business hours entirely to the interests of a steadily widening clientele, whom he has served ably and conscientiously. His offices are at No. 14 S. Liberty St., Cumberland.
Though Mr. Hendrickson has had to make his own way in the world, and was dependent entirely upon his own efforts while preparing for his profession and laying the foundations of a lucrative practice, he has not limited his exertions to those for self-advancement. The larger questions affecting humanity in general have always had a place in his thoughts and activities. Aside from his legal practice he has devoted much of his interest in public affairs to the cause of State and National prohibition. For a number of years he has been one of the most active leaders in the cause in Maryland, prominently identified with the Prohibition party as a member of the National committee for the last fifteen years, and delegate to several of the National conventions. In the convention of 1916 he was mentioned as candidate for president on the National ticket. He feels well rewarded for the time and energy devoted to the cause in the headway which it had made during recent years, which is one of the greatest inspirations to continued effort which the leaders have ever had. In his home community Mr. Hendrickson has manifested his interest in the public good more especially in religious enterprises, and was twice elected president of the Duke Memorial Bible Class of Cumberland, one of the largest organizations of its kind in Maryland. His unselfish labors in behalf of the general welfare are the best indication of his standards of citizenship.
In September, 1897, Mr. Hendrickson married Miss Edith Hamilton, daughter of Levi and Melvina (Wolford) Hamilton, of Cumberland. They have two daughters. Mary Willard and Lucile.
The late George H. Hetzel was a man to be designated as one of the most progressive and highly-esteemed figures in the civic life and commercial activities of his native city, and well upheld the honors of his family name, that stood as an exponent of the best element of citizenship in Allegany county for many years. A vast amount of discernment and dynamic force has been brought to bear in developing the city or Cumberland, so as to make it what it is today, one of the most important commercial and industrial centers of Western Maryland, and back of those who have wrought well and who sustained the constructive activities of the representative citizens and business men, were the Hetzels.
For many years George Hetzel was secretary and treasurer of the Hetzel Brothers Company, wholesale confectioners and dealers in tobacco, cigars and various specialties, but during the last few months of his life was interested in coal production and marketing. George, H. Hetzel was born at Rainsburg, Bedford county, Pennsylvania, November 28, 1864, a son of Christian Hetzel, and grandson of Philip Joshua Hetzel, who was born in the kingdom of Wurtemburg, Germany, January 11, 1809. The latter, a tailor by trade, as a young man traveled extensively through continental Europe, He finally established himself in business in Geoppingen, where he remained until 1844, when he came with his family to America. Until 1850 he remained in New York, but in that year came to Cumberland, where he continued to work at his trade until his death, in 1871, his wife, whose maiden name was Margaret Yauss, surviving him for a number of years. Both were devout members of the German Lutheran Church. They had eight children, of whom Christian F. Hetzel was the third in order of birth.
Christian F Hetzel
Christian F. Hetzel was born at Goeppingen, September 28, 1838, and he was seven years old at the time of the family's emigration to the United States. He broadened his intellectual faculties through effective self-discipline and practical experience with the passing years, and although he resided at intervals in Pennsylvania and Georgia, Cumberland figured as the principal stage of his activities during a long and useful career, within which city he was prominently identified with business and civic interests. Here, under appointment of Governor Llowndes, his close personal friend, he served as a justice of the peace, and in 1873 he gave an especially able and effective service as city treasurer of Cumberland. In 1874, and again in 1880, he was the Republican candidate for mayor of the city, but was unable on either occasion to overcome the large and normal Democratic majority. In 1884 he was appointed a trustee of the city's sinking fund, and in 1882 he ably represented Allegany county in the State Legislature. He did much to further the advancement of Cumberland, and commanded the high regard of all who knew him. He was especially prominent and influential in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and for a number of years of the Grand Lodge of Maryland. Vitally interested in the cause of popular education, he served for twelve years as a school trustee of Cumberland. Both he and his wife were earnest members of the Lutheran church.
On November 3, 1859, Christian F. Hetzel was married to Miss Margaret C. James, a daughter of George James of Rainsburg, Pennsylvania, but who, with his wife, lived at Cumberland during his last years, and here he died, as did his wife. Christian F. Hetzel and his wife became the parents of eight children, namely: George H., whose name heads this review; Maud E., who is the wife of G. S. Butler, one of the leading undertakers of Cumberland, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this work; Sarah M., who is the wife of Dr. William F. Twigg of Cumberland, whose biography also appears elsewhere in this work; Matilda, who is the wife of Webb Blackwell, of Hagerstown, Maryland; Edgar B., who is president of the Ironton Engine Company, of Ironton, Ohio; Carl C., who is president of the Midlothian Coal Company of Allegany county, and otherwise interested in other coal properties, is a resident of Cumberland, married Miss Edna Troxell, and they have three daughters, Alice V., Martlia W. and Ellen F., he being a Republican and Lutheran, and for the past twenty-five years has been one of the leading business men of Allegany county; Anna, who is the widow of John Slimmer of, Cumberland; and Bancroft, who is the youngest, is also a member of the Midlothian Coal Company, and is serving as its paymaster. He married Miss Margaret Zimmerman, the youngest daughter of Conrad Zimmerman of Cumberland, whose biography also appears in this work. Bancroft Hetzel and his wife have one son, Frederick Hetzel. Like his brother he is a Republican and Lutheran, and he belongs to Potomac Lodge, No. 100, A. F. & A. M. of Cumberland; Antioch Commandery No.6, K. T., and Boumi Temple, A. A. 0. N. M. S., Baltimore, Maryland. The Hetzel family has been one of the well known ones of Cumberland for nearly seventy-five years, and its members are all highly respected, and the Hetzel brothers have been numbered among the leading business men of the city and county for the past thirty years. Christian F. Hetzel died January 29, 1909, and his wife passed away March 16, 1906.
George H. Hetzel received his early education in the public schools of Cumberland, and the major part of his business career was spent in the effective prosecution of the line of business in which he and his brothers were engaged for so many years. For fifteen years, however, he traveled extensively as auditor for the United States Leather Company. In 1892, he and his brother, Carl C. Hetzel, founded the business which was for so many years to engage their attention, and in 1907 the business was incorporated under the name of the Hetzel Brothers Company. It was one of the important commercial corporations of Cumberland, its operations were based upon a capital stock of $20,000. and its territory extended over a radius of 200 miles. The business was that of wholesale confectionery, tobacco, cigars and various specialties, and the house was the largest of its kind between the cities of Washington, D. C., and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. For a number of years Carl C. Hetzel was president; Bancroft Hetzel was vice-president; George H. Hetzel was secretary, treasurer and general manager; and Edgar B. Hetzel was a member of the directorate. On March 1, 1917, the company sold the business to Simpson Brothers Company, and the brothers organized the Standard Coal Company of Garrett county, Maryland, the owners of which are now Carl C., and Bancroft Hetzel, the other member of the firm, George H. Hetzel having died. The other brothers are also interested in several additional coal properties in Western Maryland.
George H. Hetzel was one of the most vigorous, far-sighted and progressive business men of Cumberland. He was a Republican in politics. For some years he was on the directorate of the Citizens National Bank of Cumberland. Fraternally he belonged to the Masonic Order, and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He belonged to Saint Paul's Lutheran church, and his widow still maintains membership with that church.
On February 15, 1905, George H. Hetzel married Miss Wilhelmina Hoenicka, and they became the parents of three children: George Howard, Pauline Virginia and Florence Helen. In the city of Cumberland and throughout Allegany county the name of Hetzel stands as an exponent of sterling character, loyal citizenship and definite initiative and administrative ability, as touching both public interests and private affairs. When George H. Hetzel died, December 6, 1919, his friends over a wide territory received a shock, and his home city and county sustained a loss that will long be felt. He was a dependable friend, a kind neighbor, and loyal supporter of whatever in his judgment would work for the betterment of Cumberland and Allegany county. His home life was ideal, and not only is he deeply mourned by his widow and children, but by his brothers, with whom for so many years he had sustained close business relations, and his sisters to whom he had always been the elder brother, thoughtful and kind. Such men are rare, and when found seldom lack proper appreciation.
Levi S. Hilleary has been actively associated with the business affairs of Cumberland for about fifty-five years, during the earlier part of that period as a merchant, and of later years as the proprietor and owner of the Olympia Hotel, a valuable and desirable piece of property and a favorite hostelry among the local and traveling public. By systematic management and close attention to his interests, Mr. Hilleary has kept his affairs in a prosperous condition, and has maintained a position among the men of solid standing, being recognized by all who have had dealings with him for his reliability and genuine worth. Mr. Hilleary is a native of Allegany county, Maryland, born at Mount Savage, and he belongs to one of the oldest-settled families in the State, tracing his ancestry back about 260 years to one Thomas Hilleary, who emigrated from Scotland to the American colonies in 1661, as a bondsman, and located near Bladensburg, Maryland. His descendants are now scattered all over the United States.
Ralph Crobbe Hilleary, the great-great-grandfather of Levi S. Hilleary, is buried near Cresaptown, Allegany county. His son William Hilleary, was the great-grandfather and the latter's son, Joseph Perry Hilleary, was the grandfather of Levi S. Hilleary, whose parents were Levi Ralph and Julia Ann (Ridgely) Hilleary. Their family consisted of five children, namely: Eli Ridgely, who died young; Levi S., of this review; Margaret E., Mary Martha, of Cumberland, unmarried, and James W., who resides in the State of California. Levi Ralph Hilleary, the father of these children, was born near Cresaptown, Allegany county, but spent practically all of his life at Cumberland, where he was engaged in the manufacture of saddles, harness and trunks. In the short time allotted him he made a success of his undertakings, but was called to his final, rest in 1855 before he could accomplish his ultimate aims and ambitions when but thirty years of age. In his early manhood he was an old line Whig in his political allegiance, but later transferred his support to the Knownothing party. His religious connection was with the Emanuel Episcopal Church, of which his worthy wife, who is also deceased, was likewise a member.
Levi S. Hilleary was reared in Allegany county, and was given the advantages of such education as the old-fashioned country schools afforded. He was called upon to rely upon his own efforts to advance himself in life, and the results have proved that he was entirely capable of taking care of himself, for he has attained a substantial position and won the respect of all his associates by his upright course in life. When a young man he became engaged in the mercantile business at Cumberland, which he continued to follow for forty years. In the meantime, in 1876, he had purchased the old American House at Cumberland, in the same year became the builder of the Olympia Hotel, at that time the first four-story structure built in Cumberland, and rated as the finest hotel in Western Maryland. He has since devoted practically all of his attention to this enterprise. Its excellent condition and continued popularity are the most flattering comment upon his business policy and tactful administration which could be rendered, and he is thoroughly deserving of the success which has come to him. Like his father, Mr. Hilleary is a Democrat. Fraternally he affiliates with the B. P. 0. Elks.
In 1870 Mr. Hilleary was united in marriage with Miss Mary E. Bridgett, of Washington, D. C., daughter of John F. Bridgett, and to this union there have been born two children: Mary R., who died in childhood, and John Francis. The son, born in 1876, died July 31, 1910, at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, taken in a life full of promise, when his prospects were at their brightest. He was a graduate of Villanova College and of Cornell University, had been a cadet in the United States Naval Academy and was successfully engaged in his profession of electrical and mechanical engineer at the time his untimely death occurred.
WILLIAM G. HISER--A city, to justly lay claim to being prosperous and progressive must number large and flourishing manufacturing plants among its leading interests, that contribute to its material wealth at home, and add to its commercial importance abroad. A very important manufacturing enterprise of Allegany county, Maryland, is the Hiser Barrel Works, at Cumberland, a business founded and developed by William G. Hiser, a substantial business man and respected citizen. Mr. Heiser is a practical and experienced cooper, having learned his trade before the present complicated machinery for the manufacture of barrels had very generally come into use. Although he has not by any means confined his energies to this trade during his long business career, yet he has in some measure been more or less identified with it since early manhood.
William G. Hiser was born in Frederick county, Maryland, August 16, 1850, one of a family of seven children born to Lewis and Ulrika Hiser, natives of Germany, who came to America and settled in Frederick county, Maryland, in 1840. The mother died in 1868 and the father in 1884. They were faithful members of the German Lutheran church. Their children were: Henry, who lived to be ninety-one years old; Lewis, Charles, Augusta, John, Frederick and Minnie, all deceased; and William G., whose home and large business interests are at Cumberland.
William G. Hiser had country school privileges in Frederick county, but was still a boy when he went with William Lease to learn the cooper's trade in his shop at Frederick, and by the time he was twenty-one years old, he understood all the branches of cooperage, both wet and dry, and the best material for each kind of cask or barrel, and the most expert manner of making the staves and fitting them. At one time this was entirely hand work, and Mr. Hiser found employment at Baltimore, at Lynchburg, Virginia, and at Sandusky, Ohio, but the invention and installing of wood-working machinery began to make serious inroads in the cooperage as in other trades.
In 1873, Mr. Hiser, with fifty cents in his pocket came to Cumberland, determined to learn another trade, and found an opening with Richard Morris, under whom he learned to be a puddler in a furnace, and followed this trade for two years. This hard work however was too much for his health, and when he gave it up he worked again as a cooper for about one year, and then secured a job with the Cumberland Cement Works and remained there for over thirty-five years. Some years ago Mr. Hiser determined to go into business for himself, and, although under very different conditions than in earlier days, he resumed the making of barrels, and his well equipped modern factory is situated on North Center street, Cumberland, and he is the leading barrel manufacturer in Allegany county.
On October 11, 1875, Mr. Hiser married Miss Mary McIntosh, who died in 1913. Her father, John McIntosh, was born in Loudoun county, Virginia, and his death occurred from accidental drowning in the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, at Weverton, Maryland. Mr. and Mrs. Hiser had the following children: William, who was accidentally killed in 1918, in the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad yards, married Miss Lillie Brant, a daughter of Hilleary Brant, and they had four children, Gilbert, who is serving in the United States Navy, Beatrice May, Gerald Durwood and Hyacinth M.; Roger, who lives in Baltimore; Grace, who is at home; and Aneva at home; Goldie, who is the wife of William Hopwood of Cumberland; they have one son Kenneth Sheller Hopwood and Ray, who is the father in the factory, married Miss Charlotte Brown, and they have two sons, William G. and Garland G. In politics Mr. Hiser is a Republican and he belongs to the Center street M. E. church.
ADAM E. HITCHINS was the first of the family to become connected with the house now known as The Hitchins Bros. Co., one of the leading mercantile houses of Western Maryland. It has been owned entirely by members of this family since 1862. He was born in England, September 20, 1833, and came to the United States in the year 1854, locating at Frostburg, Md., where he secured employment in the store of James H. Hoblitzell. He soon won the esteem and confidence of his employer by his enterprise and intelligence, Mr. Hoblitzell selling him an interest in the business several years later. The firm was thereafter known as James H. Hoblitzell & Co., until the year 1864, when, in company with his brother, Owen Hitchins, Adam E. Hitchins purchased Mr. Hoblitzell's share, the firm name being changed to Hitchins Bros. The business prospered and was continued under that style until 1891, in February of which year The Hitchins Bros. Co. was incorporated with a capital of $50,000, Adam E. Hitchins becoming its first president. Due to growing business activities elsewhere, notably the growth and expansion of the Olive Hill Fire Brick Co. of Olive Hill, Kentucky, founded by the brothers, Owen and Adam E. Hitchins and George H. Parks, of Wheeling, W. Va., the responsibility and supervision of The Hitchins Bros. Co., passed to his sons, who continued the successful management of the business. Mr. Adam E. Hitchins was also an extensive coal operator of this district, being associated with his brother Owen for a great many years in the development of this important branch of industry. For a number of years, up to the time of his death, he served as superintendent of The Barton & George's Creek Valley Coal Co., of which he was a stockholder. Mr. Hitchins, while never a seeker for political preferment, did permit the use of his name on the Republican ticket in 1880, for County Commissioner. His election followed, and he was chosen by his associates as chairman of the board, and during his incumbency of the office a most efficient and business like administration of the county affairs prevailed.
Mr. Hitchins spent all of his mature years in Frostburg, and his was a long and active part in the advancement and upbuilding of this region, his efforts being especially effective in and around Frostburg. His efforts were not confined altogether, however, to those activities which had for their sole achievement the acquisition of material prosperity for himself, but were generously bestowed as well upon the more humanitarian projects and to the improvement of civic conditions.
Therefore, it is not only as a successful business man and promoter, but also as the benevolent, Christian gentleman and good citizen, to whom no one ever appealed in vain, and whose honorable life was filled with deeds of kindness.
It was while on a trip to New York City, in September, 1906, that Mr. Hitchins was stricken with what was to be his last illness, and finding recovery doubtful, his sons brought him home and two days later, October 5th, 1906, he passed away, being survived by his widow and six children: Howard, E. Stanley, W. Arthur, Owen Cooper, Emery G. and Mrs. Thomas F. DeNaouley.
The funeral was held from the home of his son, W. Arthur, and was conducted by Rev. A. C. Thompson, of the First Methodist Episcopal Church. A number of leading men of Frostburg and vicinity served as honorary pallbearers, and there were a number of prominent people who came from outside cities to pay their respects to one whom they had loved and honored in life.
The Frostburg Mining Journal, commenting upon his demise, in its issue on the day of the funeral, said in part:
"Though not a scholar in the academic sense, Mr. Hitchins had acquired a fund of learning that easily placed him in high rank in any circle. He was a constant studious reader and profound thinker, one of the scholastic class, who, believing that there is still much to learn, do not want to die."
"In business he was accurate, precise and exacting only to the point in principle that 'what is yours is yours, and what is mine is mine.'
"His charities were legion, and it is to be doubted whether a meritorious instance, ever left or passed him empty-handed."
Emery G. Hitchins, youngest son of the late Adam E. Hitchins, was born in Frostburg, Allegany county, on the 27th of May, 1872. He, like his brothers, was early associated with his father in the business of The Hitchins Bros. Co. Later he became head of the grocery end of the business, which position he held for a number of years, succeeding his brother, Arthur, as general manager of the concern upon the latter's death. He is also a director of The Citizens National Bank of Frostburg. In common with other members of his family he is a Republican in politics, and is for all worthy enterprises bearing on the welfare of the community.
On November 24th, 1896, Mr. Hitchins married Miss May Frey, of Frostburg, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Frey, and they have three children, namely: Alice M., Margaret L. and Robert E. The family home is at No. 64 Frost Ave., Frostburg, Md.
Wm. Arthur Hitchins, son of the late Adam E. Hitchins, was born in Frostburg, Allegany county, on August 1st, 1865, was reared in his native town and secured his elementary education in the public school there. Later he took a course in Dickenson College, Carlisle, Pa., and upon his return identified hiniself with the business of The Hitchins Bros. Co. Later he became its President and General Manager, positions he held for many years, up to the time of his untimely death on May 15th, 1919. The success of the business was more largely contributed to by his great industry, wise judgment and his exceptional business qualifications as an organizer and executive than to any single agency since its formation. Combined with these rare gifts, he was possessed of an honesty in both word and deed of such a high order that he enjoyed the confidence and respect of the people to a degree that is shared by few men during their lifetime. He was modest in demeanor, unassuming but courageous, and firm in his convictions and decisions. He stood ever ready to help those in need, and was always a staunch supporter of all worthy enterprises for the betterment of his town and community. While his main interest was The Hitchins Bros. Co., he was also a stockholder and director of The Citizens National Bank of Frostburg. In politics he was identified with the Republican party.
In 1903, Mr. Hitchins married Miss Rosina Frey, of Frostburg, who survives him. They had no children, and lived in what was known as the Old Frost Mansion, at No. 56 Frost Avenue.
Howard Hitchins was born May 29, 1858, at Frostburg, Maryland, and acquired his early education in its public school. His higher studies were pursued at the Pennsylvania Military Academy at Chester, Pa., and Dickenson Seminary, at Williamsport, Pa.
He entered the employ of the Hitchins Bros. as clerk, and upon the incorporation of the Hitchins Bros. Co., in 1891, was made its treasurer, which position he held until the death of W. Arthur Hitchins in 1919, when he succeeded him, becoming president. He was also made General Superintendent of the Barton and George's Creek Valley Coal Co., in 1906, when Mr. Adam E. Hitchins died. He was one of the organizers of the Citizens National Bank, of which he is still a director, and is also President of the Equitable Savings and Loan Society of Frostburg.
He is progressive Republican in sentiment, and thoroughly in sympathy with the best aims of the party.
On April 8th, 1885, he married Miss Ella M. Paul, daughter of the late Thomas Paul, for many years a prominent iron manufacturer of Frostburg. Mr. and Mrs. Hitchins have one son, Paul L. Hitchins, who educated at the University of Virginia and is now practicing law in Cumberland.
In reviewing the lives of some of the distinguished men whose activities have made possible the remarkable commercial and industrial development of this county, the biographer is confronted with several salient facts. He discovers that none of them have attained to prominence in any line without hard work and faithful service, both to their associates and the public, and also that only those who have lived honorably and uprightly are remembered with affectionate and respectful esteem. The career and life work of the late Owen E. Hitchins, of Frostburg, presents just these facts, and a record of what he accomplished during the years accorded to him is well worth preserving.
Born in a village on the Bristol Channel in Pembrokeshire, South Wales, May 25, 1831, Owen E. Hitchins inherited all of the fine characteristics of his countrymen, and when he came to the United States, in 1852, landing at Philadelphia, he found no difficulty in obtaining employment, for from the beginning he was recognized as a most desirable citizen. It was somewhat significant that he should have landed in the City of Brotherly Love on July 4, and a few days subsequently he arrived at Frostburg, which was to continue the scene of his operations during the remainder of his life. In September, 1852, he and his brother-in-law, James Jeffries, began working in the Borden mine, whose superintendent at that time was the late George Tennant. For several years Mr. Hitchins continued this connection, and then in 1855 embarked in a butchering business, which occupied him for a period of over five years. In April, 1861, he took a sub-contract to furnish fresh meats to the United States troops operating in West Virginia and Maryland, continuing this work alone until the following year, when he formed a partnership with George D. Evans, of Morgantown, West Virginia, under the firm style of Evans & Hitchins. The partners furnished fresh meat to the army variously commanded by Generals Kelly, Shields, Schenck, Milroy and Landers, and Colonels Mulligan and Hayes, the latter of whom later became president of the United States.
In 1864 the partnership of Evans & Hitchins was dissolved, and that of Owen and Adam E. Hitchins was formed, under the style of Hitchins Bros., and a, general merchandise business was established at Frostburg, the brothers purchasing the stock and leasing the store-room of J. H. Hoblitzell & Co. The firm continued to operate as general merchants until February 5, 1891, and subsequently were interested in many other enterprises of great moment, especially in the coal fields of Allegany county.
In 1882 Owen E. Hitchins entered upon another phase of his career, as superintendent of the National Coal Company's mine, which position he held until the coal deposit was exhausted. This company then operated another tract of land, leased from the George's Creek Coal & Iron Company, until it was also exhausted. In the meanwhile, however, Mr. Hitchins had become the prime factor in the organization of the Barton and George's Creek Valley Coal Company, which leased about 250 acres of land at Carlos. This company, of which Mr. Hitchins continued superintendent until his death, has always been composed of some of the wealthiest and most influential coal operators of this region, all of whom recognized in Mr. Hitchins a man eminently fitted by practical experience and business training for the responsible position he held.
Mr. Hitchins did not confine his operations, however, to any one line, but gave freely of his time and experience in the furtherance of other projects, among others that of the development of the Frostburg Gas and Electric Light Company, of which at the time of his death he was treasurer. A fitting tribute to his business sagacity and untiring zeal was paid by the directors of this company at a meeting following his death, in words as follows:
"Resolved, That the directors of this company desires to spread upon the minutes their sense of the loss they sustain individually and as a company in the death of Mr. Owen E. Hitchins. Connected with the company, as he had been as a stockholder from its inception, and for many years as advisor and director, he displayed in the management of its affairs that same sterling fidelity, intelligent conservatism and well-directed energy that made him a wise counsellor, a good citizen and a trusty friend, and which will make his loss one that will be felt not only by his business associates, but by his city, his county and his adopted State."
Always interested in sound education, he gave the public schools his unqualified support, and at the time of his demise was serving as a trustee of Public School No. 1. For many years he was a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and long held an official position in the Frostburg congregation. When the present stately church edifice was erected, he rendered very valuable service both in securing funds, and managing the building details, and he never ceased to be proud of the results. When the people of Frostburg received the news of the death of Owen E. Hitchins, the regret was universal, and all felt that the city, as well as the county, had lost one of the most representative men. Mr. Hitchins was survived by his widow and five sons, two daughters, two brothers and one sister. As a mark of respect the business houses of Frostburg closed their doors during the funeral services, at which Rev. H. S. France, of Baltimore, preached an appropriate sermon. Perhaps no better idea of the character of this eminently just and prominent man can be given than that written at the close of a biography of him published in the Frostburg Mining Journal, under date of March 25, 1893, from which we quote the closing paragraph:
"So passed away one who illustrated in a modest way what is possible of attainment in men of strong intellectuality. Since he was seven years of age he had never attended school, but he grew to be a tireless reader of the best modern literature. The library collected through forty years of discriminating selection and rejection is believed to be the choicest assemblage of intellectual achievements in the county. He had read and reread the most thoughtful, and digested the most profound, until it mattered little what topic arose he was always ready with some apt and conclusive observation from some standard literary oracle. He was an accurate judge of style, and loved the pregnant fluency of writers of the MaCauley type. Carlyle he called 'jerky,' and in general his criticisms accorded with those of expert doctors of rhetoric. Much of his reading was theological, whence he strengthened the strong religious bias with which his life began. His faith in the immortality of mankind, and in the endless triumph of a good life, grew up in his mental constitution with all the strength infallible logic can lend. His conduct, so inspired and guided, completes the biography of that 'highest type of man a Christian, and bequeaths to his children the most precious of human legacies, the memory of a just man made perfect."
CHARLES H. HOLTZMAN, Collector of the Port of Baltimore, has for many years been one of Cumberland's representative business- men, and although now a resident of Baltimore, still has important interests here. Mr. Holtzman's name is well and favorably known, not only in Allegany county, where his public activities have been numerous and efficient, but also in other sections of the state as a recognized leader in Republican politics.
Charles H. Holtzman was born at Cumberland, May 28, 1867, received his education here in the public schools and the old Allegany County Academy, and at the age of fifteen years became self-supporting. He became a clerk in the drug store of E. H. Campbell, which stood on the resent site of the Second National Bank, and continued with W. P. Campbell for several years after he purchased the store from E. H. Campbell, going then in the same capacity to the W. H. LeFevre store. Subsequently, he spent one year at Frostburg, where he had charge of the drug store of W. R. Percy, and upon his return to Cumberland, took charge of the drug store of Dr. J. F. Zacharias, where he remained until prepared to embark in the drug business for himself, being then twenty-nine years old.
In 1896 Mr. Holtzman purchased the establishment of W. H. LeFevre, on Baltimore street, which he conducted there for five years, when he removed to No. 88 Baltimore street, on the corner of Center street, a most favorable business location. In the development and upbuilding of his extensive business, which now covers a wide territory, doing the largest prescription business in the county, Mr. Holtzman has shown the same vigor and thoroughness that have been elements in his public as well as private career.
For over a quarter of a century Mr. Holtzman has held a leading place in the councils of the Republican party in Western Maryland, and the confidence reposed in him by his associates has been shown on many occasions, and his public duties have been performed with efficiency and fidelity. He has been active in civic matters at Cumberland, and from 1895 until 1899 served as city treasurer, but whether a city official or mere private citizen, he has given careful attention to every project promising to be of substantial benefit to the city. For many years he has served as a member of party organizations in county and State, and for ten years was chairman of the Republican State Central Committee of Allegany county, and other honors followed fast. In April, 1918, Mr. Holtzman was appointed by the board of county commissioners of Allegany county to the office of State and county tax collector for the First District, in which office he served for two years. In 1920 the Republican State Convention elected him delegate to the 1920 National Republican Convention at Chicago, to represent the Sixth Maryland District, and Mr. Holtzman was one of the five delegates voting for Warren G. Harding when that great statesman received the nomination for the presidency. It was with great satisfaction that the political and personal friends of Mr. Holtzman received the news early in President Harding's administration of the appointment of Mr. Holtzman to the office of Collector of the Port of Baltimore. Since assuming the duties of this high office Mr. Holtzman has removed to Baltimore.
Mr. Holtzman married December 10, 1902, Miss Ida B. Williams, of Philadelphia, and they have one daughter, Elizabeth E. With his family, Mr. Holtzman belongs to Emmanuel Protestant Episcopal Church, of which he has been an official for many years. He is a Thirty-second degree Mason and is a member of Fort Cumberland Lodge, A.F.&A.M., and belongs also to the Elks and the Loyal Order of Moose.
THOMAS H. HUMBERTSON, the "grand old man" of Frostburg, Allegany county, had the distinction of rounding out nearly a century of active, useful existence in his native environment. Born June 19, 1819, at Klondike Mines, near where the village of Woodland now is, In the vicinity of Frostburg, he died February 24, 1910., at his home on Mechanic street, Frostburg, the oldest vice president of a National Bank in Maryland and perhaps the oldest in the United States, member of one church for over eighty years, and in many other respects one of the most remarkable citizens of whom the town has ever boasted. He was a man whose life and character always commanded the esteem of his fellow men.
Thomas and Jane (Galford) Humbertson, grandparents of Thomas H. Humbertson, were natives of Southern Maryland, and among the earliest pioneers in the western part of the State, occupying the log cabin in which their son William Humbertson and grandson Thomas H. Humbertson were born, in what was then known as Frederick (now Allegany) county. After living here for some time they were forced to leave this section because of the dangers of the Indian raids, and returned to the Eastern Shore, remaining until 1761, when they again ventured out into the forest, this time establishing their permanent home here. They lived to a good old age in spite of the hardships of their earlier years, and Thomas H. Humbertson remembered them distinctly, as well as the incidents of their pioneer experiences as they related them to his parents. [Note: Census data indicates that Thomas Humbertson and Jane Galford were both born in the 1750's. They were the parents of William, born in 1799. William appears to be the youngest child of Thomas & Jane. Most probably, the g-grandparents of Thomas H were the pioneers spoken of in this biography.]
William Humbertson, father of Thomas H. Humbertson, was the eldest [youngest] son of Thomas and Jane (Galford) Humbertson, and was born in the old log cabin already mentioned in 1754 . At that time there was only one log cabin standing on the present site of Cumberland. Life was primitive in the extreme. The Humbertson home had no door, a bearskin serving to protect the opening; the bare earth formed its floor; their meal consisted largely of corn, pounded to the required fineness by hand, on a large rock; meat, which was provided by the wild game then abundant in the vicinity, was cooked over a pole fire. All their own clothing was made at home, The nearest market, where the few thing required which could not be produced at home, were to the had, in exchange for hides and pelts, was Fredericktown, Maryland, over one hundred miles distant, across mountains and unbridged streams. Everything had to be carried on horseback, as there were no roads passable for wagons, had the settlers possessed any such conveniences for transportation.
William Humbertson married Sarah Lowes [Loar, d/o Jacob Loar and Sarah Eckhart, in July 1818], and each attained the age of eighty years, full of vitality through all their busy days; neither ever had a dose of medicine prescribed for their use nor needed it. They were the parents of ten children, five sons and five daughters: Thomas H., Jane [married John Hann in 1843], Jacob [married Louisa Shaw, d/o Henry N Shaw and Sidney Thompson, in 1844], Rebecca [married William H Parker in 1844], Monnah [Hannah married John D Koontz], William [married Mary Kate Glotfelty], George [married Marietta Bateman], Sarah, Solomon and Rachel [married John McConnell].
Thomas H. Humbertson, the youngest [oldest] son in this large family, acquired his education in the old-fashioned subscription schools in vogue during his boyhood. He did farm work until nineteen years old, when he began his apprenticeship to the carpenter's trade, following that calling as well as farming until his removal to Frostburg, after which he continued to be engaged at carpentry for ten years. He helped to build the first log cabins provided for the workers at the iron and coal mines at Lonaconing in 1838. Mr. Humbertson was a pioneer in the firebrick business in Allegany county, when he gave up work at his trade, forming a partnership with the late M. L. Gorsuch of Westminister, Maryland, to enter that line of manufacture. The association lasted for thirty-one years and the business was very prosperous, their establishment, known as the Savage Mountain Firebrick Works, Long holding precedence as the leading industry of the city and its vicinity. He was never lacking in enterprise and public spirit, was one of the organizers of the Citizens' National Bank in 1893, and served as vice president and director from that time until his death, being at that time one of the oldest active bank officials in the world. He attended the directors' meetings until a short time before his demise. He occupied his home on Mechanic street from 1874, and had lived to see Frostburg develop from a small, scattering settlement along the old National Pike to a live modern city, in whose advancement he had his full share. He lived in a remarkable age, and none of its wonders were lost on him. At the time of his birth there were no steamships, railroads, electric railways, electric lights, telephones, telegraphs, automobiles, airships or any other of the thousand everyday conveniences of modern life. The armies of the world were fighting with flintlock guns and cannon no larger than a man's arm, and Napoleon was in exile on the island of St. Helena.
Originally a Whig in politics, he cast his first Presidential vote for William Henry Harrison, and never missed voting at a Presidential election to the close of his life,Though he became independent of party restrictions in his later years. For eighty-one years he was a devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Frostburg, being on of the oldest members of the denomination in Maryland, had held all the church offices, and served sixty-five years as a class leader. He continued to take an interest in current events to the last, and during the winter of 1918-1919 he entertained soldiers passing through Frostburg at his home. When ninety-five years old he took a pick and helped to dig a foundation in Frostburg.
Mr. Humbertson attributed his remarkably long life to the good care which he took of his health because he was not robust in boyhood. Later, in 1853, his life was despaired of when he lapsed into a comatose condition due to congestion of the liver. During the last forty year of his life he use no tobacco, and even during his younger days he never used any intoxicants except apple brandy. He always rose early, at five in the morning until recent years,believing an hour in the morning to be worth five in the afternoon. Mr. Humbertson's funeral services were held in the First M.E. Church, and he is buried in the Allegany cemetery.
Mr. Humbertson's first wife, Miss Elizabeth Lancaster [in Jan 1842], of Eckhart, Allegany county, died without issue, and his second marriage was to Miss Susan L. Shaffer of Preston county, West Virginia. There were no children by this union either. His household included his niece, Mrs. Martha Roberts, and her daughter, Miss Orna Roberts. Mrs. Humbertson is a sister of Jesse Shaffer of Kingwood, West Virginia and Gus Shaffer.
[Notes provided by Carol Askey]
Joseph H Humberstone
Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of Fayette County by Gresham and Wiley, 1889, p551
Joseph H Humberstone, one of the young, steady and industrious farmers of Henry Clay township, is a son of Jacob Humberstone and Louisa Shaw Humberstone, and was born in Henry Clay township, Fayette County, Penna, November 26, 1861.
His paternal grandfather, William Humberstone, was a native and resident of Frostburg, Maryland. He was a republican and a member of the Lutheran church and a farmer by occupation.
His maternal grandfather, William Shaw, was born at Barton, Maryland, was a carpenter by occupation, a republican in politics and a Methodist in religion. [Note:Joseph's proven maternal line is George Shaw & Elizabeth Nainby > Rev William Shaw & Charlotte Trimble > Henry N Shaw & Sidney Thompson > Lousia Shaw Humbertson. Rev William b 1757 in England; Henry N in 1791 in Cresaptown, MD; Louisa b 1821 probably at Pekill Hill farm. The town of Barton was founded in 1853.]
Jacob Humberstone, father of Joseph H Humberstone, was born at Frostburg, Maryland, in 1826 and at thirty years of age removed to his present location on the National Road in Henry Clay township. He has principally been engaged in farming and is of the same political faith and belief of his father.
Jacob Humberstone enlisted in 1862 in the Two Hundred and Twelfth Pennsylvania Regiment of the Line, heavy artillery, and served nine months.
He owns a good property including the old Brown wagon stand on the National Road which was established by Thomas Brown about 1798. Brown's log building was replaced in 1826 by the present large and fine two story stone house in which a hotel was kept as late as 1865.
Joseph S Humberstone was one of a family of eight children, and received his education in the common schools of his native township. He has always given his time to farming except eighteen months that he served as a telegraph operator at Marshalltown, Iowa. He was united in marriage to Miss Hattie Tharspecken of Marshalltown, Iowa.
J S Humberstone is a republican and was a delegate to the republican State Convention which met at Harrisburg on the 7th of August 1889, and nominated Boyer for state treasurer. Mr Humberstone has a comfortable home, and is kept busily engaged in the management of his farm and the care of his business interests.
[Notes provided by Carol Askey]
JACOB B. HUMBIRD, Justice of the Peace, formerly mayor of Cumberland, has been a prominent and useful citizen for over fifty years. For a number of years he was an important factor in the city's business life, but politics and public responsibilities have engaged much of his attention, whereby the city has greatly benefited. He bears a family name that has been greatly esteemed at Cumberland for more than seventy-five years.
Jacob B. Humbird was born at Cumberland, Maryland, January 26, 1845. His parents were John and Sarah (McKee) Humbird, possibly of Scotch ancestry, but both born in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, where the family is still well represented. John Humbird settled in Cumberland in 1840, and resided here until his death in 1880, at the age of eighty years. He was a man of business enterprise, and for many years was engaged in railroad contracting. His business ability, in combination with his sterling character, made him a leading citizen of Cumberland, and his fellow citizens not only honored him by electing him to their highest municipal office, but continued him in the mayor's chair for five successive terms, the city prospering under his administration, as it later did under that of his son. His family consisted of eight children, and the following reached maturity: Susan, Lydia, Jacob B., Annie M., Sarah E. and John J.
Judge Humbird had educational advantages in his youth not afforded to all of his companions, for after being under competent instructors at Cumberland, he was sent by his father to Emmitsburg, where he had collegiate training. Although probably thereby qualified for a professional career, he was more inclined toward a commercial life, and for a number of years after returning to Cumberland, engaged here in the hardware business, and subsequently for several years was in the railroad contracting business. He grew up at a time when politics and public affairs claimed the attention of the intelligent young men of the country perhaps to a greater extent than generally the case at a later time, and Mr. Humbird, like his father, became actively identified with the Democratic party, with which political organization he has ever since been affiliated. In 1895 he was elected mayor of Cumberland, and served his fellow citizens in that office with entire efficiency. He was again honored by being appointed Justice of the Peace by Governors Smith, Warfield and Crothers, and when at the next election a Republican executive came into power Governor Goldsborough, nevertheless, in recognition of his efficiency, re-appointed him, and in 1916, was again appointed by Governor Harrington, at that time having served for 22 consecutive years.
Judge Humbird's first marriage was to Miss Sarah V. Cress, of Clarksburg, West Virginia, who left three children: John, who lives at Cumberland; Susan, who resides at Clarksburg; and Mary, whose home is in the city of Washington, D. C. Judge Humbird's second marriage was to Miss Emma B. Robosson, who is a daughter of Dr. T. P. Robosson, of Cumberland, and they have one son, Thomas Robosson Humbird. It has been Judge Humbird's privilege to live through the most momentous years of his country's history, and he is proud of her great statesmen who have guided her to safety, and he is also proud of the substantial progress made by his own city, where law, order, peace and prosperity abide, and old, friendly customs of neighborliness and sincere interest yet prevail.
Jacob Humbird was a prominent figure in the County during a long life. He died at his residence on Decatur Street, Cumberland, on the 4th day of May, 1893, at the great age of 82 years. Jacob Hnmbird was born in Ligonier Valley, Westmoreland County, Pa., July 31st, 1811. His native energies were early taxed, and he became self supporting at the early age of 14 years. At 20 he was employed on the Portage railroad from Hollidaysburg to Johnstown. He thus entered the pursuit for which he was naturally fitted and providentially designed. Here he demonstrated his engineering skill which commanded permanent attention, and in 1835 was engaged with Wm. Brown, a skillful constructor, on a slack water improvement on Green River, Ky.
In 1837 he moved to Cumberland and associated with his brother John, as Humbird & Co., and took a contract on the Chesapeake and Ohio canal. Thus he became at once identified with the internal improvement of Maryland, on what was then considered her most important work and the medium of communication with the great West, as the problem of reaching the Ohio River by the railroad was then unsolved. In 1843, the Baltimore and Ohio railroad reached Cumberland. Mr. Humbird, as a far-seeing constructing engineer, foresaw its far-reaching results, and became interested in its construction.
In 1844 he was engaged in the Mt. Savage railroad and other public works. The Honorable Thomas Swan was elected president of the Baltimore and Ohio, October, 1849, and though it was invested with most perplexing difficulties at a period of financial embarrassments, he determined to push the track westward, promising the directors and the citizens of Baltimore to reach the Ohio River at Wheeling, Jan. 1st, 1853, which promise he triumphantly fulfilled. To execute this great work he sought the co-operation of those upon whose energy, skill and ability he could implicitly rely.
Mr. Humbird was permanently engaged upon the extension of the road from 1850 until its completion--January, 1853. This was considered a great triumph of engineering skill and mechanical achievement. The nature of the country through which it passed necessitating much bridging of valleys and streams, deep cuttings and tunneling of mountains and long, high gradients, made the work conspicuous in that early day of railroad construction.
Upon the building of the Grafton and Parkersburg branch, his services were again called in requisition, on which he was engaged from 1854 to 1856. At this time he constructed a great work that increased his fame and placed him among the leading contractors of the country, viz.: A tunnel, nearly a mile in length, through the Alleghany mountains, on the Covington and Ohio railroad, now the Chesapeake and Ohio. He also had the contract for building the Ravin Gap railroad, South Carolina, in 1858, on which he was engaged until the beginning of the late war in 1861. This was a State work, which was assigned to Humbird & Co., by the authorities of South Carolina.
Their next great work was the construction of a Government railroad and tunnel in Brazil, across the Sera de Mar Mountains, about forty miles. On this they, were engaged for eight years. They were associated in this work with Milnor Roberts and Robert Harvey, two eminent constructing engineers. The tunnel, however, which is an extraordinary piece of engineering and was regarded as a great triumph of skill, was exclusively the work of Jacob Humbird. The parties having the original contract for the construction of the road, discouraged by the difficulties, abandoned the big tunnel and twelve miles, of heavy work.
The United States Minister to Brazil, the Hon. Richard Kidder Mead, of Virginia, had recommended to the Emperor, Dom Pedro II, Mr. Jacob Humbird, referring to his successful enterprises in the United States, asserting confidence in his ability to prosecute the work successfully. In answer to official correspondence Mr. Humbird went to Brazil January 1, 1859, and entered his successful bid in 1860 for the contract. Before entering upon the work he stipulated that the workmen under the previous constructors should be fully paid so that there should be no dissatisfaction among them.
The contract imposed a forfeiture for failure to reach certain points at a given time of 20,000 milreis. On the first section he was so embarrassed by the nature of the country and the rocks through which he had to tunnel, that he did not reach the point in time, and forfeited the amount; but with characteristic perseverance and courage he pushed on, exceeded the time of the contracts and made, by the time he completed another section, 50,000 milreis in extra allowances, and continued successfully to the completion of the road--the railroad being a doubletrack and the great highway of Brazil.
The tunnel was, at the time of its completion, the greatest work of its kind in the world. The character of this railroad, and especially this tunnel, enhanced his reputation amongst railroad constructors, and the exceeding importance of the road to Brazil made his success highly gratifying to the Emperor and the government. His success was largely due to his management of the workmen, paying them their wages promptly and treating them considerately, thus inspiring them with a thoughtful regard of himself as well as for the enterprise. In this great foreign work Mr. Humbird has not only gained honor to himself, but reflected credit on his native country and adopted state.
In 1867, with D. A. Baldwin, of New York, Mr. Humbird began the construction of the West Wisconsin railroad, 180 miles in length, now a portion of the railroad between Chicago and St. Paul. In 1872, again with Mr. Baldwin, he commenced the North Wisconsin railroad from Hudson to Bayfield on Lake Superior; before its completion Mr. Baldwin died.
In June, 1880, with his brother John Humbird, he took the contract for building the railroad from Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, through Chambersburg to Shippensburg, which was completed October, 1881. Appreciating its relations to Maryland and Baltimore, he came to the rescue when the means for its construction were not forthcoming, and advanced the money and built it accepting the bonds and stock to the amount of $500,000.
Mr. Humbird and his brother, John Humbird (dead several years ago), took enlarged views of their relations to their community, and regarded their success as having a bearing on general interests. Hence they aided, both by their personal efforts and means, to advance the welfare and development of their city. They were often solicited to occupy public stations, but usually declined. John Humbird, at the urgent request of the citizens, accepted the mayoralty of Cumberland, which he held for four terms and to the entire satisfaction of the public, for the years 1866, 1867, 1868 and 1875.
At Mr. Humbird's funeral the Rev. J. E. Moffatt said:
"Were I to attempt to sum up the story of this life in fewest words I would say--That in his relations to his fellow men as a successful man of business he was always kindly, fair, just, honest, truthful and liberal, and if occasion required it charitable. In relation to his God he was meek and lowly, trustful and believing.
"About sixty years ago he came to this little city and began his life work, and for fully fifty years he bore his part in the activities of his time. His chosen occupation was that of a constructor of public works, portions of the Chesapeake and Ohio canal, and of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad were among his first undertakings. Here he displayed a judgment and ability to carry to a successful issue different kinds of work, so that he was asked to undertake most difficult portions where others had failed. He carried all these undertakings to an end, profitable to himself and satisfactorily to all concerned."
In 1835 he married Miss Elinor McKee, of Greensburg, Pa., and their union was blessed with a number of children. During the last four or five years of his life he took great pleasure in farming, and his simple tastes and methodical habits made him a model husbandman. His farm at the five mile house was well tilled by his employees, and he took great pride in its cultivation. He resided there nearly all the year round, excepting during the bleakest months of winter, when he would live at his house on Decatur Street.
For many years past it was a custom with the family to assemble on the 31st day of July, for the purpose of celebrating Mr. Humbird's birthday. On this occasion the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren would come together and tender their congratulations.