THE LUKE FAMILY, of which Daniel W. and Dr. John C., of South Fork, are worthy scions, is of sturdy Scotch-Irish ancestry and origin. The grandfather of these representatives of the family was James Luke, who was born in County Antrim, Ireland. Here he wooed and wedded Miss Mary McClain, a Scotch lady, and near the close of the eighteenth century, or shortly after the war for Independence, they sought a home in the newly-born republic across the Atlantic. They settled in the vicinity of the present town of Armagh, Indiana county, then a dense forest, broken at but rare intervals with the clearings of a sturdy pioneer. With characteristic industry and energy he set about the task of clearing out a farm and the founding of a home, upon which homestead he spent the remainder of his days. Coming to this country during the formative period of our government, the various theories of government and party principles were hotly discussed, and Thomas Jefferson was the political idol of a large following of worshipers, he became a staunch democrat, and adhered steadfastly to that party all his life. He was a devout Presbyterian, and stood high in Masonic circles.
His marriage with Mary McClain resulted in the birth of seven children, all of whom are deceased. They were James, who did honorable service for his country in the War of 1812, and afterward settled in Black Lick township, this county, where he held honorable place among his neighbors, and served as a justice of the peace; William, who emigrated to the state of Iowa and followed farming; Elizabeth, who married Jacob S. Ambough, who was also a soldier in the War of 1812; John, the father of the older members of the family; Daniel W. and Dr. John C,, of South Fork; George, died young; David, died young; Catherine, and Alexander, who was a farmer near the old homestead of the family at Armagh, and with whom Catherine lived.
John Luke (father), was born in Indiana county, and attended the subscription schools of the vicinity of Armagh which were noted as being in advance of those of other sections of the country at this period. He was diligent and industrious in his studies, and secured an equivalent of a good common-school education, and for a number of years followed teaching.
After his marriage, or about 1828, he, with his wife, with no other possessions than a strong arm, a stout heart and unyielding courage, removed into the virgin forests of Black Lick township, this county, and there founded a home and cleared to cultivation one of the finest farms in the township. Prior to 1860 he was a democrat, but, upon the issues of that campaign, became a republican. His wife died in 1858, fourteen years prior to his death in 1872, and he made his hone with his children at Riter's Furnace, Indiana county, Pennsylvania. In 1871 he was afflicted with a stroke of paralysis, but through kind nursing and good medical attention, was supposed to have entirely regained his health in 1872, when in August of that year he started afoot for Summerhill, to visit his son, Daniel W., who then lived at that place. On account of sickness or some unknown cause, he lost his way and never reached his destination. As soon as it became known that he was missing, the alarm was given, and hundreds of people scoured the woods diligently searching for him; he was not found until twelve days had elapsed, when he was found quietly sleeping the sleep that knows no waking on a rude bed of leaves and moss he had hastily constructed by a log, only a short distance from his old home.
His marriage with Charlotte George resulted in the birth of the following children: N. G., who, after attending Meadville College, joined Erie conference as a Methodist preacher; Mary, widow of the late Philip W. Pringle, of Summerhill, this county; James, deceased; Elizabeth, deceased, was the wife of William C. Ellis, of Iowa; Dr. John C., whose sketch follows; Charlotte, wife of Patrick Bremen, of McKean county, this State; Daniel W., whose sketch follows; Catherine, wife of Hugh Roberts, Jacob, William, and David, deceased.
DR. JOHN C. LUKE, a prominent and successful physician of South Fork, this county, is a son of John and Charlotte (George) Luke, and was born in Blacklick township, this county.
For the family history refer to sketch under the herd of "The Luke Family" above.
Dr. Luke was brought up on the farm and received his preparatory education in the public schools and attending school during the summer at the Western Reserve seminary of Farming in Ohio and Leroy academy at Leroy, Ohio. By teaching during the winter months and attending school during the summer he obtained a good preparatory education. He entered the office of Dr. G. W. Smith, of Hollidaysburg, as a student of medicine, entered the medical department of the University of Michigan at Ann Harbor, in 1865, and spent one term; then after teaching two years, entered the: medical department of the Western Reserve university, at Cleveland, Ohio, from which school he graduated in 1871, taking a special course in operative surgery and holds a diploma for the same. After completing his professional preparations he located in Summerhill, this county, where he practiced nine: years and then removed to South Fork, his residence ever since.
Dr. Luke is progressive, keeps well abreast of the medical science of the age, and belongs to the Cambria County Medical society, of which organization he has been vice?president and was one of the committee appointed to revise the fee bill.
In the Masonic Order, Dr. Luke stands high, being a 32° Scottish Rite Mason.
Dr. Luke has not confined himself to his profession, but has taken an active part in the industrial development of his neighborhood. He was one of the organizers of the Euclid Coal company in 1883, and was secretary, treasurer and superintendent of these mines until 1893, and is a one?third owner of a large tract of coal land in Adams township.
Politically Dr. Luke is a republican, and was postmaster of South Fork under the administration of Benjamin Harrison from 1889 to 1893; school director for twelve years; councilman of the borough of South Fork, and has served as chairman of the Republican County committee of Cambria county.
November 8, 1860 he married Annie, a daughter of Watson Thomson,
of Indiana county, this State, and to this union have been born
five children as follows: Arah, who died in childhood; Charles
E., in the employ of tile Pennsylvania Railroad company; Annie
and John T., deceased, and Roscoe M., at home.
DANIEL W. LUKE, a coal operator, of South Fork, this county, is a son of John and Charlotte (George) Luke, and was born, March 23, 1841, in Blacklick township, this county.
He was educated in the common and select schools, and at the age of eighteen began teaching and followed it two years. When the clouds of war arose he left the school room and took up arms in defence of the flag and the honor of the country. He enlisted as a private, but was promoted to a first sergeantcy. Among the most important battles and skirmishes in which he took part are the following: Great Falls, July 7, 1861; Falmouth, April 18, 1862; Mechanicsville, June 26; Chickahominy, June 27; Cold Harbor, on the same day; Culpepper, July 12; Glendale, June 30; Nelson farm, Frazier farm and Turkey Bend, on the same date; Gumtown or Gainesville, August 28-29, 1862; Bull Run, August 30; White Oak Swamp, June 30, 1862; Malvern Hill, July 1; Williamsburg, July 11, 1862 ; Gettysburg, July 1, 1863; Manassas and Chester Gaps, July 21-23, 1863; Rappahannock Station, Brandy Station and Kitty Ford, August 1 to 3, 1863; Bristoe Station, October 14, 1863 ; Beverly Ford and Bradley's Station, January 9, 1863 ; Warrenton Junction, May 3, 1863; Rappahannock Station, September 4-19 and October 10, 1863; Mine Run, November 26 and 28, 1863, and the Wilderness, May 5, 1864.
He was captured at the battle of the Wilderness on May 5th, and taken to Andersonville prison, where he was held four months and was then taken to Florence, South Carolina, where he: was held three months longer before being exchanged. While in prison at the latter place, he with nine others under a guard of ten men were sent out to gather wood; watching his opportunity, Mr. Luke made a break for freedom, the guard fired at him, but missed, and he made his way into a swamp. Here he carefully concealed himself until night when he tried to make good his escape. He had not proceeded far until he heard the tongueing of blood hounds; but upon their coming up to him he discovered they were not of the ferocious kind, and he easily quieted them, and following their guide some distance came upon a corn field. The owner, not knowing of their presence, fired a gun, and the dogs fled. He then proceeded and coming to a swollen stream, the Great Pedee river, improvised a raft of rails with which he tried to cross it, but in mid stream it parted, and he was forced to swim for the shore. Soon afterward, near Cheraw, North Carolina, about sixty miles from the prison, he was surprised and captured by four Confederates, who returned him to prison.
After retiring from the service he again taught school a few years, and, in 1871, came to South Fork, where he began his career as a coal producer.
He is at the present time: superintendent of the Aurora Coal company, of which he was one of the organizers, a member of Mountain Coal company, a member and the manager of the South Fork Supply company, an owner of a third interest in another tract of coal land consisting of seven hundred acres in Adams township, president of the Roaring Springs Land and Mining company, of Joplin, Missouri. This company with a capital stock of $100,000 was organized for the purpose of developing the lead and zinc mines of that section of Missouri. He is also a director of the: South Fork Water company. Politically Mr. Luke is a democrat, and as he has always been known to be a staunch friend of the cause of education he has been kept, with the exception of one term, continuously on the board of school directors of his district since the organization in 1871, and is at the present time (1896) secretary of the board.
He has been postmaster at South Fork under both of Cleveland's administrations. In Masonic circles Mr. Luke stands deservedly high, being a member of Summit Lodge, NO. 312, F. and A. M., Portage Chapter, R. A. M., Oriental Commandery, No. 61, Knights Templar.
Mr. Luke has been twice married; his first marital alliance was with Francis P., a daughter of William Davis, of Clarion County, this State, and resulted in the birth of eight children: John Howard, a merchant of South Fork; William Tell; Maggie Oliva and Katie Lenora, deceased; Daniel Wallace, Mary Florence, Josephine and Ralph Waldo, at home.
June 26, 1894, he married as his second wife Catharine, a daughter of Joseph W. Wilson, of Blair county, and one child, Laban Lee, has blessed this union.
Daniel W. Luke was born to the inheritance of a noble character and a good name, which he has preserved through every trial and vicissitude of life. He is one of the representative business men of the State who have not only deserved success, but won it.
As a soldier he shirked no duty, but fought well and gallantly the battles of his country, and well won a reputation for bravery and courage that will shine with increasing lustre until the final roll call.
Mr. Luke, since the age of eighteen, has been a consistent
and earnest member of the Methodist Episcopal church and a worker
in the cause of Christianity, and it is with happy satisfaction
he realizes the fact that his family are following in his footsteps.
This to him is more to be desired than honor or great gain.
South Fork - Feb. 23 Daniel W. Luke, one of the most prominent businessmen of this place, died at his residence at Maple street here at 6 o'clock last Sunday morning, after a few hours illness of acute indigestion, in his seventieth year. Mr. Luke became suddenly ill after dinner on Saturday and several local physicians and the members of his family were constantly at his bedside up to the hour of his death. The funeral took place from the Methodist Episcopal church here at 1 o'clock yesterday afternoon, the services being in charge of Oriental of Johnstown. Interment was made in Pringle Hill Cemetery. The Rev. Thomas Charlesworth, of the local M.E. Church, was away from home and the services were conducted by the following ministers: the Revs. Titus Lowe, of Cedar Rapids, Ia.; S. B. Laverty, of Saltsburg; A. J. Ashe of Connellsville; and W. T. Robinson, all former pastors of the M.E. charge here.
The deceased was a son of John and Charlotte George Luke and was born in Blacklick Township, this county, on March 23, 1841. His grandfather, James Luke, came to America from Ireland soon after the Revolutionary War and settled at Armagh, Indiana County, which was then a dense forest. James Luke's wife was Mary McClain and to them seven children were born, among them John Luke the father of D. W. Luke. James Luke, another son, served in the War of 1812. John Luke was born at Armagh and was married to Charlotte George about 1823, and to them eleven children were born, Daniel W., being the last of the number to pass away. Dr. J. C. Luke, who was a brother of the deceased died here about eight years ago.
Daniel W. Luke taught school in Cambria County and left his pupils to enlist in the Eleventh Pennsylvania Reserves. He served throughout the Rebellion and took part in the following battles and skirmishes: Great Falls, Falmouth, Mechanicsville, Chickahominy, Cold Harbor, Culpepper, Glendale, Nelson Farm, Frazier Farm, Turkey Bend, Gainsville, Bull Run, White Oak Swamp, Malvern Hill, Williamsburg, Gettysburg, Manassas, Chester Gaps, Rapahannock Station, Brandy Station, Kitty Ford, Bristol Station, Beverly Ford, Bradley's Station, Warrentown Junction, Mine Run, and the Wilderness. He was captured during the latter battle and taken to Andersonville Prison, where he remained for four months and was then taken to Florence, S.C. where he remained for three months longer. While gathering wood with eight other prisoners under a guard of ten men at the latter place Mr. Luke made a break for liberty. A guard fired at him, but the bullet went wild, and he made his way into a swamp. Here he carefully concealed himself until night, when he tried to make his escape, but had not proceeded far until he heard the tonguing of bloodhounds. They were not of the ferocious kind and he easily quieted them. While hiding in a cornfield as the guide passed the owner of the land fired a gun at the dogs and they fled. Later while trying to cross the Great Pedee River on a raft the rails of which it was made separated and the young soldier had to swim the balance of the way, only to be confronted on landing by four Confederate soldiers, who returned him to prison. After the War he returned to South Fork and again taught school for several years.
Mr. Luke helped organize the Aurora Coal Company and served as its Superintendent for a long time. He was a member and served several years as Manager of the South Fork Supply Company, and was President of the Roaring Spring Land & Mining Company, of Joplin, Mo., a company organized with a capital of $100,000 for the purpose of developing the lead and zinc mines of that section of Missouri. The deceased was one of the organizers of the South Fork Water Company, was a member of the Board of Directors and served as its Superintendent until a few years ago. Politically, Mr. Luke was a Democrat and he was Postmaster of South Fork during both of President Cleveland's administrations. He was a lifelong member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, was identified with both the Board of Trustees and the Board of Stewards and was a member of the building committee that erected the fine office here a few years ago. He was a member of the D.T. Stineman Post G.A. R. and was identified with Summerhill Lodge No 312 Free and Accepted Masons, Portage Royal Arch Chapter No. 195, and Oriental Command No. 61, Knights Templar of Johnstown.
The deceased was married twice. His first wife was Frances P. Davis And to this union eight children were born, the surviving being John Howard Luke of Carthage Mo.; Ralph Waldo of Livingston, Mich; and M?? Josephine, South Fork. Mrs. Luke died about twenty years ago and several years later the deceased married Catherine Wilson who survives him with two children. Miriam and Randall both at home.