Submitted by Gaylene Kerr Banister
III Chapter VI
|The Erie Gas company
was chartered March 5, 1852, with a capital stock of $60,000, the Board of
Directors being privileged to increase the capital to $100,000 whenever
they might deem such a course necessary. Ground was bought on Seventh
street, between Myrtle and Chestnut, upon which the works were erected,
the total cost being $60,000. The tank or gas receiver had a capacity of
30,000 cubic feet; 3 1/2 miles of pipe were laid, and all necessary
buildings erected. The works were completed by the 22d of August, 1853,
and on that date the city of Erie first enjoyed gaslight. The patronage at
that time comprised thirty-two consumers, but by the close of the year the
number had increased to 150. The construction of the gas works was
superintended by a Mr. Meredith, while Mr. P. Metcalf rendered material
aid in the successful consummation of the enterprise.
In the fall of 1883, the company erected a new gas tank, with a capacity of 100,000 cubic feet, on front, between Sassafras and Peach streets, and in the spring of 1884 intend removing the tank at the old works to the new location. This latter tank has a capacity of 60,000 cubic feet, which will give the works a combined capacity of 160,000 cubic feet of gas. The new works will cost, when completed, about $60,000, and the old site will be abandoned in the spring, and the works removed to the new one on Front street.
At the present time, the gas company has an authorized capital of $300,000, and a paid up capital of $167,750. It owns 20 miles of gas mains, lights 425 street lamps and has a patronage of 800 consumers. The quality of the gas equals the best furnished any community in the State, while its cost is moderate. The President of the company is Charles M. Reed; and the Secretary and Treasurer for many years was Miles W. Caughey, upon whose death, in the fall of 1883, Walter Scott became his successor. The office is in the Wetmore House, on the northwest corner of Seventh and Peach streets.
Telegraph, Telephone and Express Companies
The first telegraph office was opened at Erie in 1847. Little is known of its history, only that since that year the people have enjoyed the benefit of this necessary adjunct of civilization. For more than twenty years Erie possessed but one telegraph line, but, about 1868, the Atlantic & Pacific Telegraph Company opened an office in opposition to the Western Union, and for several years the city enjoyed the services of two offices or distinct telegraph lines. Finally, the Western Union bought out the Atlantic & Pacific, and consolidated the lines under the former name. The Mutual Union Telegraph Company began business at Erie in 1881, but it, too, has been absorbed by the Western Union, which alone exists outside of the private line of the Philadelphia & Erie Railroad. The office of the Western Union is No. 514 State street, and it transacts all the telegraph business of Erie.
The American District Telegraph Company was organized in 1876, in which year it began business, and has since been in successful operation. The company has now about 200 telephones in Erie, and the number is gradually increasing under the energetic management of G. W. Baxter, the efficient Superintendent of the company in this city. The New York & Pennsylvania Telegraph and Telephone Company purchased the controlling interest in 1883, and ere the publication of this work some changes may occur not here spoken of. Telephone lines are now being constructed to the neighboring towns, and in the near future Erie will have telephonic connection with many of the. The central office in Erie, is Room 24, Noble Block.
The American Express Company opened an office at Erie in 1846, with O. D. Spafford as agent. He was succeeded by J. J. Lints, and in 1858 the present agent, J. Harper, was appointed to fill the position, which he as held continuously up to the present time. The office is at No. 822 State street. The American and Adams Express Companies ran a "union office" until June 1, 1883, when the latter company opened a separate office on North Park Row, between State and Peach streets, with W. C. Stinson as agent.
The Erie City Passenger Railway Company
This company was incorporated with a capital stock of $50,000, by a legislative act approved March 1, 1867, and organized for business in the same spring. Anthony J. Drexel, of Philadelphia, Penn., through his attorney, F. J. Cowell, was the leading stockholder in the enterprise, while the labor of obtaining the act of incorporation and necessary subscription, and pushing the road to completion, was also the work of Mr. Cowell. In 1868, the main line was built from Second street south on State to Turnpike; thence across to Peach; thence south on Peach to Twenty-sixth street, and in December of that year opened for travel. Up to May, 1873, the fare charged was 7 cents, since which time it has been 5. Since its completion, the line has been extended to the public dock on State street, and in the fall of 1883 the company was engaged in building two branch lines, viz.: One out Eighth street to Raspberry, and one out Eleventh street to Parade; thence south to Fourteenth street. In 1880, the large two-story brick stables on the corner of Second and State streets were erected, while the furnishings of the line are kept in harmony with the times. The officers are W. W. Reed, President; J. C. Spencer, Treasurer; A. L. Latell, Secretary; Jacob Berst, Superintendent.
The Erie Bank was incorporated by an act passed in the winter of 1828-29, and began business in January, 1829, on a capital of $50,000, though the bank was privileged to increase its capital stock to $200,000. Its first officers were: R. S. Reed, President; P. S. V. Hamot, Cashier; J. A. Tracy, C. M. Reed, Samuel Brown, William Fleming, Thomas Moorehead, Jr., E. D. Gunnison and D. Gillispie, Directors. The bank suspended in May, 1848, but very little loss was sustained by the holders of its issue, as the notes were subsequently redeemed at a small discount, Gen. C. M. Reed holding himself personally responsible for their redemption.
The United States Bank of Philadelphia established a branch at Erie in 1837, with Thomas H. Sill, President; Peter Benson, Cashier; Josiah Kellogg, C. M. Reed, William Kelley, G. A. Eliot, Samuel Hays, William Fleming, J. G. Williams and H. J. Huidekoper, Directors. The fine building on State street, now occupied for the custom house, was erected by this bank at a large outlay, also the building adjoining it on the south for the cashier's residence. With the failure of the parent institution at Philadelphia in 1840, the Erie branch also went down, and W. C. Curry was appointed to settle up its affairs. In 1849, the bank building was sold to the United States Government for $29,000, who converted it into a custom house; while the cashier's residence subsequently sold for $8,000, about one-half its original cost.
The Erie City Bank was incorporated in 1853, with a capital stock of $200,000, but it lasted only four years, suspending business in 1857. Its first officers were: Smith Jackson, President; J. P. Sherwin, Cashier; S. E. Neiler, Teller; Brua Cameron, Book-keeper; C. M. Tibbals, W. A. Brown, D. S. Clark, C. Seigel, John Brawley, James Webster, J. H. Fullerton, Ira Sherwin, J. D. Clark, Charles Brandes and J. C. Beebe, Directors.
The Bank of Commerce succeeded the Erie City Bank in April, 1858, but it, too, soon succumbed, closing its doors in December, 1860. Its first officers were as follows: B. Grant, President; C. B. Wright, Vice President; G. J. Ball, Cashier; A. W. Guild, Teller; W. F. Rindernecht, James Hoskinson, B. F. Sloan, Charles Metcalf, A. W. Blaine, G. F. King and J. W. Douglas, Directors.
In 1861, the following firms were doing a general brokerage or banking business at Erie: W. C. Curry, capital $100,000; M. Sanford & Co., capital $50,000; Vincent, Bailey & Co., capital $25,000; Clark & Metcalf, capital $12,000; Neiler & Warren, capital $5,000; total banking capital, $192,000.
The First National Bank was organized in February, 1863, with a capital of $150,000, J. C. Spencer, President; J. L. Sternberg, Cashier; William Spencer, Assistant Cashier. In February, 1883, the bank was re-organized for twenty years. It is located in the Reed House block on the northwest corner of French street and North Park Row.
The Keystone National bank, located in the handsome block on the northeast corner of State and Eighth streets, was organized in the fall of 1864, with an authorized capital of $500,000, and a paid up capital of $250,000. Orange Noble has been President of the bank since its organization. John J. Town was Cashier until 1871, when he was succeeded by J. I. Town, who yet fills the position.
The Second National Bank was organized December 12, 1864, with a capital of $300,000. William L. Scott, President; Joseph McCarter, Vice President; W. C. Curry, Cashier. This bank is on the southwest corner of State and Eighth streets, and its present officers are: Joseph McCarter, President; W. W. Reed, Vice President; C. F. Allis, Cashier.
The Marine National Bank was organized March 9, 1865, with a capital of $150,000. B. B. Vincent, President; F. P. Bailey, Cashier. In January, 1867, J. C. Marshall became President of the bank, and Charles E. Gunnison, Assistant Cashier. The officers thus remained until March 29, 1875, when William Bell, Jr., was chosen Vice President, and no change has since occurred. It is located on the northwest corner of State and North Park Row.
The German Savings Institution of Erie was organized February 8, 1867, with a capital of $200,000. John Gensheimer, President; Mathew Schlaudecker, Treasurer; Frederick Schneider, Secretary. These officers continued to hold their several positions until October, 1875, at which time Lloyd G. Reed became President, and John Eliot, Manager and Treasurer. The bank is on the northwest corner of Eighth and State streets.
The private bank of Ball & Colt was organized in July, 1867, and has since continued to do a general banking business. This bank is at No. 720 State street.
The Erie Dime Savings and Loan Company was organized June 8, 1867, under a special law of the State, with Selden Marvin, President, and John H. Bliss, Secretary. These officers resigned April 25, 1868, and the following gentlemen were chosen: L. L. Lamb, President; George W. Colton, Secretary and Treasurer; Selden Marvin, Attorney. On the 19th of May, 1868, M. Hartleb became Vice President, and the bank began business on a paid-in capital of $25,000. I. A. Foreman soon succeeded Mr. Hartleb as Vice President of the bank. In January, 1876, the bank moved into its present elegant quarters on the corner of State street and South Park Row, which is doubtless the finest bank building in Erie, and reflects much credit on the gentleman at the head of this institution. This bank has an authorized capital of $500,000, and a paid-in capital of $68,360. Its present officers are William A. Galbraith, President; J. F. Downing, ice President; G. E. Barger, Secretary and Treasurer.
The Humboldt Safe Deposit and Trust Company began business July 4, 1869, on a capital of $100,000. Uras Schluraff, President; Charles Metcalf, Secretary and Treasurer. In May, 1872, the capital was increased to $200,000. The bank is on the southwest corner of Ninth and State streets, in a fine building erected by the institution, and its present officers are Gustav Jarecki, President; J. J. Sturgeon, Secretary and Treasurer.
The Erie County Savings Bank, on the northwest corner of Fourteenth and Peach streets, was organized in the fall of 1871, with a capital of $150,000. N.J. Clark, President; J. L. Stewart, Vice President; M. H. Burgess, Cashier. Mr. Clark was succeeded in the Presidency by J. L. Stewart, Adam Brabender becoming Vice President. The next President of the bank was William W. Reed, succeeded in 1879 by Adam Brabender, who has since filled that position. He was succeeded as Vice President by R. Pettit, who was the last occupant of that office. In 1879, F. G. Schlaudecker became Cashier of the bank, and in May, 1882, was succeeded by R. Pettit.
Nothing shows more clearly the rapid progress in the wealth and enterprise of Erie than the present amount of capital invested in banking. With the beginning of 1863 there was not a single incorporated bank in the city, the whole of the banking business being done by a few private firms on a combined capital of about $200,000. The capital and deposits of the banks of 1883 run into the millions, and all are in a flourishing condition. They have large capital, are well conducted and have a high reputation in financial circles.
The Erie County Mutual Fire Insurance Company was incorporated March 26, 1839, by the following persons: John A. Tracy, William Kelley, Peter Pierce, Julius W. Hitchcock, James Williams, Smith Jackson, Samuel Low, Conrad Brown, Jr., B. B. Vincent, Bester Town, Jabez Wright, David G. Webber and Stephen Skinner. It has ever since conducted a safe and successful business, and January 1, 1883, had insurance in force amounting to $756,513.94, and premium notes in force amounting to $85,852.45. It is doubtless the oldest native corporation doing business in Erie County, which speaks well for its stability of character. The office of this company is No. 26, North Park Row.
The Farmers' Mutual Fire Insurance Company, of Harbor Creek, office No. 701 State street, Erie, Penn., was chartered May 6, 1857, by John Lodge, G. W. Wagner, John W. McLane, J. Y. Moorehead and G. A. Eliot. The law then required the company to get $100,000 of insurance before issuing and policies, which was complied with in August, 1858, and the first policy issued. The business of this company grew rapidly, and its exemption from extensive fires is assured, as it insures only the property of farmers, taking no risks in towns or cities. The amount of its insurance in force January 1, 1883, was $4,495,037.66, while its premium notes in force on the same date was $224,751,88. This is an exhibit that requires no commendation at our hands, for it stamps this company as a strong financial institution and a credit to Erie County.
There were two other native insurance companies, with headquarters at Erie, that existed for a few years, viz., the German and Alps. The former was organized in 1867-68, and lasted until 1874, when it failed. The Alps Insurance Company began business in 1868-69, and was under the management of some of the leading men of Erie. It had placed considerable insurance on property in Chicago, Ill., and when the great fire almost swept that city out of existence, the Alps incurred such heavy losses that it went down, though it paid up the greatest part of its indebtedness, and closed up business in such a manner as to reflect credit upon its management.
Prior to 1805, all interments were on the bank of the lake, immediately east of the town, but in that year a lot for burial ground was set apart on Eighth street, a little west of the United Presbyterian Church. This ground was used by the several denominations until 1827, when it was absorbed by the United Presbyterian congregation, who had erected their house of worship on the adjoining lot east in 1816. The Presbyterians purchased four lots on the corner of Seventh and Myrtle streets, about 1826-27, and many bodies were removed to this cemetery from the old ground soon after it was opened. The Episcopalians started a cemetery about 1827, on Myrtle street between Seventh and Eighth. St. Paul's German Evangelical Church opened a burial ground in 1859, and St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church established a graveyard many years ago on Sassafras, between Twenty-second and Twenty-third. Nearly all of these cemeteries have long since been abandoned and the dead removed, while those which still remain here have been closed for interments.
The Jewish Cemetery on Twenty-sixth street, east of Cherry, was opened in 1858, and is still used by the adherents of this faith.
The earliest Catholic cemetery in Erie of which we have any knowledge was located on the site of St. Benedict's Academy East Ninth street. It was purchased in 1837, and consecrated by the Rev. Ivo Levitz August 2, 1840. This graveyard was used until 1848, in which year Father Steinbacher, the pastor of St. Mary's congregation, bought a piece of ground on Chestnut street, between Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth streets, to which the bodies of those interred on Ninth street were removed. This cemetery was used by the German Catholics until the consecration of Trinity in 1869, when it was closed for interments.
As early as 1837-38, St. Patrick's congregation bought a small lot, 40x160 feet in size, on Third street, between German and Parade, which was the first graveyard owned by this parish. In 1852, Father Deane purchased five acres on the corner of Twenty-fourth and Sassafras streets, and the old ground was abandoned and the bodies removed to the new location. Upon the consecration of Trinity Cemetery in 1869, this second graveyard was closed and many of the dead removed to Trinity, though quite a number still remain on account of the foolish obstinacy of their friends in refusing consent to their removal. St. Vincent's Hospital now occupies a portion of this ground, and it is to be hoped that ere long every body there interred will find a last resting place in the beautiful cemetery west of the city, now used by the Catholics of Erie and vicinity.
The ceremony of consecrating Trinity Cemetery, the present Catholic burial grounds, located on the lake road about four miles west of Erie, took place on Sunday afternoon, May 23, 1869, and was witnessed by thousands of spectators from the city and adjoining townships.
The procession, including the several Catholic societies, headed by four bands, formed on Eighth street and marched to the cemetery, escorting Bishop Mullen and the clergymen present on the occasion. A large wooden cross, the emblem of Christ crucified, had been placed in the middle of the cemetery, around which the societies formed a hollow square, with the Bishop, clergy and choir in the center. Bishop Mullen then delivered a brief address, followed by a sermon in the German language from Father Wenderlein, of St. Mary's Church. At its conclusion, the usual beautiful ceremonies ordained by the Catholic church on such occasions were performed, and the proceedings were brought to a close with a prayer for the repose of the soul of Bishop Young, whose remains had been removed to the cemetery. This graveyard contains thirty acres nicely laid out in walks and driveways, and planted throughout with ornamental and shade trees which in a few years will add much to the natural beauty of the location. Many handsome monuments mark the last resting place of those who are "asleep in the Lord," and the time is not far distant when it may justly be ranked among the beautiful cities of the dead.
The Erie Cemetery had its inception in October, 1846, when a paper was drawn up, and a few citizens subscribed $1,500, with the view of purchasing the same piece of land on which the cemetery was subsequently laid out. The persons who subscribed to the object at that time were Charles M. Reed, George A. Eliot, John H. Walker, John A. Tracy, William Kelley, Smith Jackson, John Galbraith, B. B. Vincent, Thomas G Colt, M. Courtright, C. M. Tibbals and J. C. Spencer. The subject, however, was postponed, and no decisive measures were taken to secure the desired site, on account of the increased price constantly demanded; yet the object was never abandoned, and in December, 1849, the first efficient movement was made to accomplish the long-cherished design. In that month, a subscription paper was again circulated, by which the subscribers agreed to unite in purchasing seventy-five acres of land at $100 per acre, bounded on the north by Nineteenth street, on the east by Chestnut, on the south by Twenty-sixth, and on the west by Cherry. Thirty-one signatures were obtained, and the following amounts subscribed toward purchasing the ground: C. M. Reed, $100; George A. Eliot, $100; William Himrod, $100; H. Caldwell, $100; George A. Lyon, $100; Elisha Babbitt, $100; A. W. Brewster, $100; J. A. Tracy, $100; J. C. Spencer, $100; Joseph M. Sterrett, $100; J. H. Williams, $100; M. Courtright, $100; Irvin Camp, $100; C. M. Tibbals, $100; William Nicholson, $100; William A. Brown, $100; J. C. Marshall, $100; B. B. Vincent, $100; T. G. Colt, 100; P. Arbuckle, $100; James Skinner, 100; S. Jackson, $100; P. Metcalf, $100; John Hughes, $100; John Galbraith, $50; P. E. Burton, $50; William Kelley, $50; F. Schneider, $50; William W. Reed, $50; M. W. Caughey, $50; Walter Chester, $50. The individuals who assisted by advancing money were Mrs. R. S. Reed, $50; John Evans, $50, M. B. Lowry, $50; J. C. Beebe, $25; Thomas H. Sill, $25; John P. Vincent, $25; John Moore, $25, Andrew Scott, $10.
On the 29th of January, 1850, the Legislature passed an act incorporating "The Erie Cemetery, in the county of Erie," and May 24 a majority of the incorporators met and elected seven managers, viz., Charles M. Reed, George A. Eliot, William Kelley, John Galbraith, Elisha Babbitt, William Himrod and A. W. Brewster, who on the same day organized by electing George A. Eliot President, and appointing William A. Brown Secretary and J. C. Spencer Treasurer. A deed of conveyance was made to the corporation March 28, 1859, and the sum of $1,500 paid down as required by the contract, while a majority of the incorporators signed a judgment bond to secure the remaining $6,000, which they agreed to pay in four equal annual payments, together with interest thereon, relying with confidence that the sale of lots would fully indemnify them, and that they would suffer no loss.
In December, 1850, the services of H. Daniels were secured to lay out the grounds; but very little was accomplished until April, 1851. From that time forward the work progressed rapidly; walks and driveways were constructed, cutting the grounds into harmonious sections, while trees and shrubbery were planted wherever they would add most beauty to the natural landscape.
At the annual meeting in January, 1852, Rev. Joseph H. Presley, John Evans and Wilson King were chosen to fill the vacancies caused by the deaths of William W. Reed, A. W. Brewster and John Hughes, three of the original incorporators. The by-laws, rules and regulations for the government of the corporation were adopted at this meeting, and the following Board of Managers elected for the ensuing year: George A. Eliot, Charles M. Reed, William Kelley, William Himrod, John Galbraith, Elisha Babbitt and William A. Brown, who thereupon elected George A. Eliot President and appointed J. C. Spencer Secretary and Treasurer.
The formal opening of the cemetery took place May 20, 1851. An address was delivered by the President of the board, George A. Eliot, and the dedicatory address by Rev. George A. Lyon, while other appropriate ceremonies usual on such occasions went to make the day an enjoyable one. Since the cemetery was laid out, many improvements have been made. New sections have been opened up, the walks and driveways extended, much additional shrubbery planted, and a substantial iron fence erected, both on the east and west side of the grounds, besides a "Porter's Lodge" near the main entrance, together with many other improvements that go to beautify the cemetery. Great care has been exercised for the protection of the grounds and the many beautiful monuments that have been erected by the hand of affection, while every effort has been put forth to make Erie Cemetery an honored and sacred resting place for the dead, and a beautiful and attractive spot in the eyes of the living.
St. Joseph's Orphan Asylum had its inception about 1865, when the Sisters of St. Joseph occupied a small frame building on Fourth street, close to St. Patrick's Schoolhouse. In April, 1866, they regularly opened the asylum in a house on Second street, between French and Holland, purchased for the purpose by the late Bishop Young, and while there they had on an average the case of sixty orphans. In 1871-72, the present commodious brick building was erected at a cost of about $50,000. It is located on Third street, between Holland and German, is three stories high with basement, and is heated throughout by steam. The institution has an average of about 120 orphans, who are tenderly cared for and instructed in the precepts of the Catholic faith, while at the same time they receive the benefits of a common English education in two large school rooms within the building. Whenever pupils develop a special talent for music they are instructed in that branch, and all are encouraged to cultivate and practice the virtue of industrious habits. About ten Sisters are connected with St. Joseph's Asylum, and perform all the duties thereof. The institution is supported by the industry of the Sisters, voluntary contributions and an annual collection taken up throughout the diocese. All classes are received irrespective of creed or color, and the grand work which the Catholic Church is here so silently performing for Christ's little ones, under this noble band of Sisters, deserves the highest commendation. The community is now erecting a three-story brick building, 45x70 feet, on the corner of Ash and Twenty-sixth streets, to be used as a home for the aged and infirm. They hope to occupy it inside of a year, and though its capacity will then be about 100, it is only a portion of the building which they contemplate erecting at some future day. Thus is the noble work of charity trying to keep pace with the ills and wants of suffering humanity.
St. Vincent's Hospital was erected in 1874-75, on the corner of Twenty-fourth and Sassafras streets, overlooking the city of Erie and the charming bay of Presque Isle. It is a handsome three-story brick building, 60x90 feet square, and possessing a well-lighted, airy basement. It cost about $7,000, is well furnished throughout, and is under the charge of the Sisters of St. Joseph, seven of whom devote their time to the care of the institution, while four others who teach in the parish schools of St. Joseph and St. John reside at the hospital. St. Vincent's is open to all classes irrespective of "creed, color or previous condition of servitude," and J. L. Stewart, one of the leading practitioners of Erie, is the physician in charge, so that the patient has a sure guarantee of the best medical care to be obtained in this portion of the State. In connection with St. Vincent's the Erie Herald of April 11, 1883, gives the following statistics: "This popular institution was opened for the reception of patients in September, 1875. Owing to the poverty of the institution very few patients were received until 1878, from which date 408 patients have been received and cared for. Of this number 203 were charity patients and the remainder paid from $3 to $5 each per week. Those admitted were of religion as follows: Catholics, 185; Protestants, 178; Jews, 5; not professing any religion, 40; total number, 408. The nationality were as follows: Americans, 189; English, 18; Germans, 95; Irish, 86; French, 7; Canadians, 8; Russians, 3; colored, 2. Total, 408."
The City Hospital was erected in 1870 for the accommodation of persons with contagious diseases. It stands on the bluff immediately north of the Marine Hospital building, and overlooks Lake Erie. Dr. E. W. Germer has been physician in charge since its establishment.
Home for the Friendless: On the 17th of October, 1871, a meeting was held at the residence of J. C. Marshall, for the purpose of organizing the "Home for the Friendless." It was mainly through the efforts of Miss Laura G. Sanford that a beginning was made and the institution organized. Application was made for a charter which was granted by the court November 29, 1871. Gen. C. M. Reed having tendered the use of the old family residence on the southeast corner of State street and South Park Row, it was accepted and first occupied by the "Home" November 2, 1871. In February, 1872, the Marine Hospital Board offered to the managers of the institution the use of the hospital building and authorizing them to use it as a "Home for the Friendless" until such time as the Sate authorities should direct its use for other purposes. The offer was gladly accepted, and in the early part of May, 1872, the "family" removed to that building, where it remained until the occupancy of the "Home" on the corner of Twenty-second and Sassafras streets, November 2, 1875.
The following ladies were the original incorporators of the institution: Mrs. C. M. Reed, Mrs. M. B. Lowry, Mrs. I. B. Gara, Mrs. W. A. Brown, Mrs. W. W. Dinsmore, Miss A. C. Kilbourne, Mrs. W. S. Brown, Mrs. William Bell, Mrs. Henry Jarecki, Miss Laura G. Sanford, Mrs. W. L. Scott, Mrs. J. H. Neil, Mrs. J. P. Longstreet, Mrs. G. W. Starr, Mrs. W. A. Galbraith, Mrs. Bernard Hubley, Mrs. P. Metcalf, Mrs. S. S. Spencer, Mrs. J. W. Hart, Mrs. J. P. Vincent, Mrs. S. A. Davenport, Mrs. J. C. Marshall, Mrs. E. W. Pollock, Mrs. D. S. Clark, Mrs. L. W. Shirk, Mrs. P. Crouch, Mrs. Miles W. Caughey, Mrs. Robert Evans, Miss S. Parkinson, and Miss Sarah Reed. The first officers chosen were as follows: Mrs. C. M. Reed, President; Mrs. I. B. Gara, First Vice President; Mrs. W. A. Galbraith, Second Vice President; Mrs. W. W. Dinsmore, Secretary; Miss Kate M. Mason, Treasurer; Mrs. Mary Chalfant, Matron. After serving about a year, Mrs. Reed resigned the Presidency, and Mrs. I. B. Gara was chosen to fill that position, which she held until May 2, 1876, when she, too, resigned, and Miss Kate M. Mason was elected, and has filled the office continuously up to the present time.
On the 16th of September, 1875, Hon. M. B. Lowry presented the management with the "Gaggin property," located on the southwest corner of Twenty-second and Sassafras streets, one of the most desirable sites in the city. This magnificent gift, which was worth from $10,000 to $15,000, was gratefully accepted by the board, who began at once the project of erecting an addition to the building. Ground was broken September 25, 1875, and the corner stone laid on the 18th of October following. The "family" removed to the "Gaggin property" November 2, 1875, and on the 25th of March, 1876, the new addition to the "House" was finished free of debt, at a total cost of $6,820.48. This money was raised by subscription, mainly through the indefatigable efforts of Mrs. I. B. Gara, who took a leading part in the enterprise from its inception until the completion of the new "home." She, however, was efficiently sided in procuring the subscription by Mrs. J. C. Marshall, Mrs. J. R. Saltsman, Mrs. W. S. Brown, Miss Kate M. Mason and Miss Sarah Reed, the latter of whom has ever taken a special interest in the institution, and given much of her time and attention to insure its success, which may also be said of many other ladies whose names figure in its history.
In October, 1872, a school for children was opened at the "Home," which has since been in successful operation. In June, 1876, Mrs. Gara presented the "Home" with a portrait painted by herself of the generous donor, Hon. M. B. Lowry, which now decorates the institution. An inscription on the frame reads as follows: "Portrait of Hon. M. B. Lowry, painted and presented to the institution by Mrs. I. B. Gara, in testimony of her appreciation of his great liberality to the 'Home for Friendless Children and Aged Indigent Women.' " With the completion of the new "Home" free of debt, the brunt of the battle was over, and since that time the institution has been successfully accomplishing the work intended by its founders.
The Hamot Hospital Association was chartered on the 7th day of February 1881. The present board of Managers (except two who were elected to fill vacancies, and Rev. G. A. Carstensen who succeeded Rev. J. T. Franklin, deceased April 14, 1882), were named in the charter. They held their first meeting as a board on the 28th day of February, 1881. The property offered for use as a hospital was accepted by the board on the 5th of April, 1881. The deed of two-thirds interest in said property was tendered and accepted on the 23d of April, 1881. The selection of this property for a hospital resulted from a call on its owners by one who had for months been working to establish a hospital, viz., the Rev. John T. Franklin, to ascertain if it could be bought or leased for a term of years for such purpose. Having carefully considered the plans, a proposition in writing was made by the donors to convey a two-thirds interest in the property to a corporation on certain conditions. This was the origin of the association. To it was conveyed by deed, by Mrs. Mary A. Starr, Charles H. Strong and Kate Strong, their two-thirds interest in said property, bounded on Front street 165 feet, on State street 216 1/2 feet, and on Second street 105 feet, including the buildings, George W. Starr joining in the deed of conveyance. The conditions of the deed are solely for the purpose of insuring the firm establishment and perpetuity of the hospital, and met the approval of the association from the beginning. Immediately after the acceptance of the property the buildings were examined and changed where necessary, the better to adapt them to meet the wants of a hospital. New roofs were put on the main building and wing; water was introduced from the city water works; two convenient bath rooms were provided; a laundry with its appliances was put in complete order; a furnace was added, which, with the grates in the wards and private rooms, give warmth and ventilation and render the building in these respects well fitted for the purposes designed. Two large wards, one for male and one for female patients, were established on the east side of the main building, and one called the "sailor's ward" in the wing, all of which have been furnished and are now in use. Besides these wards now furnished for twenty patients, there are five private rooms which are fully furnished and ready for occupancy for such patients as desire privacy, and who may prefer to come to and remain in the hospital for treatment, making in all ample room for twenty-five patients, besides a large room in the wing originally designed for a ward for children.
On the 1st day of July, 1881, the hospital was opened, and on the 10th of July received its first patient. Up to January 9, 1883, 157 patients have been admitted, and received the benefits of the institution. The management of the hospital proper was under the supervision of Miss Irene Sutliff, until November 1, 1882, when she resigned the position of Superintendent, and was succeeded by Miss Emma L. Warr. These ladies are graduates of a regular training school for hospital nurses, and are therefore fully competent to take charge of such institutions. The Superintendent, however, is allowed absolutely no discretion in the matter of receiving patients who cannot furnish evidence of their ability to pay, except it be for a day or two in an extraordinary emergency. To accomplish its mission, the hospital needs an endowment of at least $25,000. The income of this sum would enable the managers to set apart six beds exclusively for free patients -- a number, which, under ordinary circumstances, would meet all demands. George Selden has already subscribed $4,000 toward this proposed endowment fund, and it is hoped that there are others among the citizens of Erie who will respond with like generosity to this appeal.
The largest sources of revenue and the most valuable, because continuous through the year, come from the following parties: The Philadelphia & Erie Railroad Company, the Anchor Line Transportation Company, the Erie City Iron Works, the Erie Car Works, the Jarecki Manufacturing Company, and the Ladies' Parochial Society of St. Paul's Episcopal church. Each of the above named has subscribed the sum of $200, payable quarterly in advance, for the support of a bed in the hospital. There is no doubt but that these subscriptions will be continued, and it is hoped that others, individuals and companies, will add to the annual income of this association, in that way rendering it of more general utility to the public and enabling the managers to extend the benefits of the institution to more of the needy sick who are unable to pay anything for medical attendance or the skilled care of nurses in hospitals.
Any person paying the sum of $5 or more yearly to the Treasurer, shall thereby become a member of the association for the year, and be qualified to vote for managers and otherwise participate in the affairs of said Association, as a member thereof. The payment of $50 at one time constitutes a life membership in the association, and exemption thereafter from the payment of yearly dues. The following are the names of the life members and annual members of the association in 1883:
Life members -- W. S. Warner, Richard Tanner, J. W. Reynolds, Miss A. F. Scott, J. P. Loomis, George W. Starr, Mrs. H. W. Reed, Lloyd Reed, Mrs. Ellen C. Bliss, Henry Souther, Mrs. Henry Souther, W. W. Reed, Reed Caughey, Miss Sarah Reed, W. A. Galbraith, George Selden, Mrs. J. C. Selden, Mrs. A. H. Caughey, Mrs. W. L. Cleveland, George T. Bliss, Mrs. Samuel Selden, Mrs. J. C. Spencer, Mrs. S. S. Spencer, William Hardwick, Frank F. Adams, Irvine M. Wallace.
Annual members -- Mrs. L. A. Morrison, Miss Kate Mason, Mrs. Prescott Metcalf, Mrs. Myron Sanford, Mrs. John Hearn, Mrs. Robert Russell, Miss Bertha Babbitt, George Rogers, R. T. Williams, William Bell, Mrs. Addison Leech, W. L. Cleveland, W. H. Gross, Mrs. T. W. Crowell, T. W. Crowell, W. C. Kelso, John H. Bliss, Mrs. F. F. Cleveland, F. F. Cleveland, William Spencer, George Burton, J. J. Wadsworth, Mrs. Charles H. Strong, Charles H. Strong, Mrs. I. B. Gara, Mrs. George W. Starr, Mrs. J. W. Reynolds.
Managers -- Rev. G. A. Carstensen, President ex-officio; W. L. Cleveland, Treasurer; George W. Starr, Secretary; Henry Souther, William Spencer, W. L. Cleveland, W. W. Reed, J. W. Reynolds, George W. Starr, George Selden, W. S. Warner, C. C. Shirk, F. F. Adams, George V. Maus, R. T. Williams. Executive Committee -- Rev. G. A. Carstensen, W. W. Reed, W. L. Cleveland, George W. Starr, George Selden. Medical Board -- Dr. Charles Brandes, Dr. H. A. Spencer, consulting physicians; Marine Hospital Service -- Dr. D. H. Strickland; Superintendent, Miss Emma L. Warr.
The history of the Marine Hospital is as follows: When the town of Erie was laid off in 1795, the tract of land now known as Garrison Hill was set aside for military purposes, and in 1870 the State of Pennsylvania built upon it a Marine Hospital, 55x186 feet, three stories high, which was never used, at a cost of $90,000, in addition to $10,000 donated by the citizens of Erie. A large wing extends to the rear, arranged for chapel, offices, etc. The grounds overlook the bay, and are finely located for a soldiers' home, and the flat under the brow of the hill might in the future be useful to the Government for a navy yard or military station. The property is very valuable, having a water frontage on the bay, being within the city limits, and having direct railroad communication.
The Marine Hospital has been the subject of considerable legislation, to the end that it be transferred to the General Government for the shelter of the impoverished veterans of the war for the Union, whose services merit a different charity from that afforded by almshouses, etc. The members of the Wayne Monument Association, in their laudable efforts to perpetuate the memory of the old hero, Gen. Anthony Wayne, have succeeded in beautifying the grounds about his block-house monument, and as the military history of Erie centers around that spot, consider it the proper location for the maintenance of a home for the soldiers and sailors of the late struggle. The question of the acceptance of it by the Government is now before Congress, and there is every reason to suppose that it will recognize the propriety and justice of the proposition, and put in order and maintain the home. It seems eminently fitting that a place whose history is so fraught with military events should be the location of such an institution.
Bibliography: Samuel P. Bates, History of Erie County, Pennsylvania, (Warner, Beers & Co.: Chicago, 1884), Part III, Chapter VI, pp. 600-613.