Mifflin County Biographies
"History of the Juniata Valley and Its People, Vol. II" 1913

Parks Murtiff


Parks Murtiff, of Lewistown, Pennsylvania, is lineally descended from a German family of the same name, the members of which have for centuries made their homes near Stuttgart, Germany, where they were, and are, farmers and mechanics, that class of people most approved by the German Kaiser. The first of the name to come to the United States was George, of whom further.

George Murtiff was born in Germany and emigrated to the United States when quite young, landing in New York. Later he found his way to Pennsylvania and located in Adams county, where he followed the family pursuit of farming, as he had done in the Fatherland. He purchased land between Bendersville and Idaville and there settled, lived and died. He married Margaret, a native of Pennsylvania, but probably of German descent. They both died on the Murtiff farm. Among his children was Emanuel, (see below).

Emanuel, son of George and Margaret Murtiff, was born in 1827, in Adams county. Pennsylvania. He married Mary Jane Shuff, born in 1830, in Adams county, daughter of George and Rebecca Shuff; George Shuff was a blacksmith and was known far and wide as a master of his trade. After marriage Emanuel Murtiff went to Mexico, Juniata county. Pennsylvania, and attended a lock on the Juniata canal for about eighteen years, becoming known, and favorably so, to the travelling public. In 1889 he gave up the position that he had so long and faithfully held and moved to Lewistown, Mifflin comity, and made his home with his son, Parks, until the final summons came in 1909. He was ever a staunch Democrat, voting the straight ticket. Both he and his wife were devout members of the Methodist Episcopal church. Children: Parks, (see below); Anne and Cora.

Parks, son of Emanuel and Mary Jane (Shuff) Murtiff, was born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, August 21, 1858. He was reared on the banks of the Juniata canal, where he early imbibed broad and helpful views of life, which have stood him in good stead m his subsequent dealing with mankind.

Mr. Murtiff received his education in the common schools of that section. Leaving school while yet a youth he began driving a canal boat. His first venture in that occupation was the canal boat "The Delaware," of Mifflintown, under Captain William Sellers; and Mr. Murtiff made the first trip on the "J. S. Grabill Jr.," of Mifflintown, under Captain D. S. Louder, on her maiden voyage. As the years passed he became, successively, steerer and then captain. He purchased a canal boat, the "Manbeck and Nelson," named for the large and important firm of Manbeck & Nelson, grain and coal dealers of Mifflintown, which is still engaged in the same business. He afterward sold the "Manbeck and Nelson" at a profit. November 12, 1889. he engaged in the hotel business at McVeyown, taking over the Mansion House, in which enterprise he was successful, knowing exactly how to please the public. This he retained for six years and built up a large patronage by his courteous treatment of the public and his genial manners. He went to Lewistown and was proprietor of the Miller House for three years. He took over the Central Hotel and remodeled that hostelry, making it one of the most comfortable ones in the place. May i, 1905, he purchased the St. Charles Hotel, in Lewistown, and has since been its proprietor, establishing an enviable name for himself as a boniface and making his house one of the best known in that section. Besides the St. Charles Hotel he owns a fine farm in Mifflin county. He is a Democrat and has always worked for the party, but has never held nor asked for office. He is a member in high standing of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks; and of the fraternal Order of Eagles, as well as the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He married in October, 1887, Margaret Carpenter, of Lewistown, daughter of Byron and Maria D. (McAllister) Carpenter, of Lewistown. Children: Esther, married John Hassen and has one child, John Parks: Marguerite, Parks, Jr., and Byron.



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