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Personal Historys

ANDREW GEECK
ANDREW GEECK
ANDREW GEECK, barber, St. Mary's, was born on the Rhine, in Bavaria, November 23, 1852, and is a son of Francis C. and Francesca (Kuntz) Geeck. He was reared and educated in his native land, and, coming to America in 1871, settled, in February, 1872, in St. Mary's, where he worked as a journeyman barber up to November 10, same year, at which date he opened a shop of his own, and has since succeeded in building up a successful business. Mr. Geeck married, June 8, 1873, Elizabeth, daughter of Wendel and. Mary J. (Herbstritt) Lion, of St. Mary's, and by her has six children: M. Josephine, M. Magdalene, Francis C., Rose, Eugene and Aloys. Mr. Geeck is a member of the Catholic Church and of St. John's Benevolent Society, in which he is treasurer and secretary of the widow fund. In politics he is a Democrat, and has served as a member of the school board from 1882 to 1888; also secretary of the board four years.


MATHIAS GERG
MATHIAS GERG
MATHIAS GERG, general blacksmith, St. Mary's, was born in that borough May 16, 1857, a son of Michael and Annie (Hoover) Gerg, natives of Germany, who were among the early settler of St. Mary's, the father being a wagon-maker by trade, which he has followed all his life. They reared a family of nine children: Tony, Frank, Anna (Mrs. John Schauer), Barbara (Mrs. Louis Gies), Rosa (Mrs. F.X. Erich), Mathias, Tillie (Mrs. John Hoffman), Charles and Katie (Mrs. George Bauer). Of these, Mathias was reared and educated in St. Mary's, and learned the blacksmith's trade in his brother's shop, and since 1883 has been in business for himself, having proved a first-class workman. Mr. Gerg has been married twice: first, to Josephine, daughter of Joseph and Kate Seel, of St. Mary's, by whom he had three children: Frank, Joseph and Willie; and afterward he married Anna, daughter of Joseph Deitch, also of St. Mary's, by whom he has two children: Katie and Lizzie. He is a member of the Catholic Church and St. John's Society; of the K. of L. and the borough council. In politics he is a Democrat.


JAMES KNOX POLK HALL
JAMES KNOX POLK HALL
JAMES KNOX POLK HALL was born in Milesburg, Centre Co., Penn., on the 30th of September, 1844, during the memorable presidential campaign of that year. His father, an ardent Democrat, bestowed upon him the full name of the great Tennesseean who was at that time the candidate and the ideal of his party. He is descended on both sides from Revolutionary stock, his ancestors having served with credit and distinction in the great struggle for the establishment of American liberty. His parents were Benjamin McDowell Hall, who died in 1873, and Susannah Geary Hall, who is still living at an advanced age. They had seven children, of whom the late Senator John G. Hall and Dr. Wm. E. Hall, both recently deceased, were the eldest; the subject of this sketch came next, and then followed Mrs. B.E. Wellendorf, Miss Mary Hall, B. Frank Hall and Harry Alvan Hall, all of whom are living and residents of Elk county, Penn. His youth was passed, when out of school, in farming and lumbering in the then wilds of Clearfield county, Penn., whither the family had removed when he was about ten years of age.

Mr. Hall received a business education, and studied law with his brother, the late Senator, at Ridgway, where he was admitted to the bar as soon as he attained his majority. He was shortly after elected district attorney of Elk county, which office he filled with satisfaction to the people and credit to himself for three consecutive terms. As his abilities are of a high order and his attainments exceptional, he was most successful in his practice, but as opportunities presented themselves, his keen perception pointed out to him the wisdom of investment in coal and lumber enterprises, and with ready executive tact he pushed the development of numerous and extensive operations into successful action. The enterprises in which he was engaged soon became so numerous, and his business interests reached such magnitude as to claim his entire time and attention, and in 1883 he was compelled to retire from the active practice of his profession. He has since devoted himself exclusively to the management of his business affairs. He is president of the St. Mary's Bank; a member of the firm of Kaul & Hall, proprietors of the Cascade and Hazel Dell bituminous coal mines, near St. Mary's, Penn.; a partner in the St. Mary's Tanning Company, who own and operate a large tannery at St. Mary's; secretary and treasurer of the Penn Lumber Company, with offices at St. Mary's, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, which, with two or three other large companies, market the bulk of the Pennsylvania hemlock; president of the New York, Lake Erie & Western Coal & Railroad Company, with whose road are connected some of the largest bituminous coal mines in the State, in the operation of which thousands of men are given employment; secretary and treasurer of the Clarion River Railway Company, who are now building a railroad from Laurel Run to Hallton for the purpose of developing a large section of timber land; and a member of the Portland Lumber Company, who, in company with the Kistlers, are now building an extensive tannery at Carman. He is also a member of the Beechwood Lumber Company, and these companies and the various other lumber concerns in which he is interested with his partner, Mr. Kaul, are the owners of over sixty thousand acres of timber lands in Elk, Jefferson and Cameron counties; he is also engaged in numerous merchandising and other business operations in connection with his lumber and coal interests; he is president of the St. Mary's Water Company, president of the Elk County Agricultural Society, and a large stockholder in the St. Mary's Gas Company.

His charities have ever kept step with his wonderful successes in business affairs, and his heart and hand have always been open to the appeals of his fellow men, and none such have fallen unheeded upon his ear. Though so heavily weighted with business cares, Mr. Hall finds much time for both political and social affairs. He is an unswerving Democrat in his faith, and is prominent in the councils of his party. He has been twice nominated for Congress in his district, having withdrawn the first time in favor of Ex-Gov. Curtin, and having been once defeated by the narrow margin of. 142 votes.

Jimanandy Park (named for himself and his partner by grateful friends who had enjoyed its hospitalities), which was erected by Messrs. Hall & Kaul solely for the entertainment of their friends, is one of the most unique institutions of the country. It is situated on a 3,000 acre tract of timber land, in the mountains, seven miles east of St. Mary's. Seven hundred acres of this virgin forest is set aside for a hunting park, and through this roam hundreds of deer. A mountain stream, upon which numerous dams are erected, gives the expert fly-caster ample opportunity to display his skill upon the brook trout, with which the stream is yearly stocked from the hatcheries connected with the park. Just outside the entrance to the deer park is a spacious cottage, in which are billiard-rooms, reading-rooms, sleeping apartments and dining accommodations, which, with the stables attached, offer every comfort to sportsman and beast.

In September, 1875, Mr. Hall was married to Miss Kate Hyde, the youngest daughter of J.S. Hyde, the late millionaire lumberman. They have four children living: Sallie, William, Genevieve and Lisle. He has recently removed from St. Mary's; where he had lived since 1866, to Ridgway, and is now building a superb residence at the latter place.

HARRY ALVIN HALL
HARRY ALVIN HALL
HARRY ALVAN HALL, attorney at law, St. Mary's, was born at Karthaus, Clearfield Co., Penn., October 7, 1861, and came to St. Mary's with his parents in 1867. After spending some time under the tutelage of Rev. Edward Hipelius, a distinguished scholar of the Benedictine order, then stationed at St. Mary's, he attended, for a short time, the University at Lewisburg and Dickinson Seminary at Williamsport, and finally received his diploma from Yale College, in 1881. The same year he was admitted to the bar in the supreme court of Connecticut. He engaged in business in New York, and during the next two years spent much of his time in traveling in Mexico and on the Pacific coast. In 1883 he succeeded to the law practice of his brother, J.K.P. Hall, Esq., of St. Mary's, and rapidly worked his way to the front rank in his profession. He was married in 1886, at Louisville, Ky., to Miss Currin McNairy, a daughter of the late Col. Currin McNairy of Nashville, Tenn. Mr. Hall is a fine linguist and a polished orator. He is of wide treading and broad culture, and is a frequent contributor to the current magazines and reviews. He is political editor of the Elk County Gazette, and was, in 1885, elected chief burgess of St. Mary's, which office he has held for five successive terms. His administration has been marked by the introduction of gas and water into the borough, of both of which improvements he has been an active promoter. He is prominent in political circles in the State, and in 1884 was secretary of the Democratic State Convention at Allentown, and a delegate to the National Democratic Convention at Chicago.

JOSEPH A HANHAUSER
JOSEPH A HANHAUSER
JOSEPH A. HANHAUSER, merchant, St. Mary's, was born in Philadelphia, Penn., in April, 1846, and is a son of Anthony and Mary (Vollmer) Hanhauser, natives of Germany, who came to St. Mary's in the fall of 1847. Here the father engaged in the hotel business, and erected the Franklin House, which he conducted several years. In the meantime he had purchased several tracts of land in the township, and on retiring from the hotel business, he located on a farm one and a half miles east of the borough. This he cleared and improved, and resided upon for about ten years, when he returned to St. Mary's, and erected a store and dwelling north of the Franklin House. He died in 1867, at the age of seventy-four years, the father of three children: Joseph A., Louis F. and Mary E. (Mrs. J.M. Mecum). The subject of these lines was reared and educated in St. Mary's, and began life as a clerk in a general store. In 1878 he became a member of the firm of Hall, Kaul & Co., general merchants, with whom he has since been associated, being general manager of the store. In February, 1871, Mr. Hanhauser married Mary, daughter of Joseph and Crescence (Ritter) Wilhelm, of St. Mary's, and to this union five children have been born: Louis F., George, Frederick, Crescence and Clara. Mr. Hanhauser and family are members of the Catholic Church. Politically he is a Democrat; has served as a member of the Democratic committee of Elk county, and has held the office of councilman of St. Mary's.

WILLIAM B HARTMAN M.D
WILLIAM B HARTMAN M.D
WILLIAM B. HARTMAN, M.D., St. Mary's, was born in Williamsport, Penn., September 14, 1833, and is a son of Henry and Julia (Gehrhart) Hartman. His paternal grandfather, Jacob Hartman, who was a native of Germany, became an early settler of York county, Penn., and was a soldier in the Revolutionary war. Henry Hartman, father of Dr. Hartman, a carpenter by trade, and a native of York county, Penn., was a soldier in the war of 1812, and a pioneer of Williamsport, Penn., where he died at the age of eighty-nine years. The subject of this sketch was reared in Williamsport, educated in the public schools and Dickinson Seminary, of that place, and at Wyoming Seminary, Kingston, Penn., where he graduated in 1852. In 1853 he began the study of medicine with Dr. Samuel Pollock, of Williamsport; entered Pennsylvania Medical College, Philadelphia, in 1854, and was graduated from there in 1856. The Doctor began the practice of his profession in June, same year, at Quincy, Ill., where he remained until 1857, when he located at Linden, Lycoming Co., Penn. Here he was in practice up to the fall of 1861, when he was appointed by Gov. A.G. Curtin assistant-surgeon of the One Hundred and Sixteenth P.V.I., in which capacity he served until July 4, 1862, when he was promoted to the rank of surgeon of the same volunteers, a position he held until the close of the war. In August, 1865, he located in St. Mary's, and was in active practice until 1875, in which year he went to Cattaraugus county, N.Y., where he remained two years. He then returned to St. Mary's, where he now enjoys a large and lucrative business. Dr. Hartman was twice married- first to Helen S., daughter of George R. Crooks, of Carlisle, Penn., and by her he had six children: Julia (Mrs. S.M. Taylor), Russell H., William, Fannie (Mrs. Mark Jones), Emma (deceased) and John. His second wife was Mrs. Naomi E. (Watts) Rogers, a native of England, and. daughter of James Watts, and the issue of this union has been two children: Clifford E.A. and Clarence DeL. Dr. Hartman is a member of the K. of P. and G.A.R., of the Pennsylvania State Medical Society, of the Elk County Medical Society and the American Medical Association. He is the oldest regular graduate of medicine practicing in Elk county. Politically he is a Democrat.

JOHN B HEINDL
JOHN B HEINDL
JOHN B. HEINDL, farmer, P.O. St. Mary's, was born in Bavaria, Germany, June 17, 1841, a son of Michael and Ursula (Beibrunner) Heindi, who settled in St. Mary's in September, 1846. The father, who was a carpenter by trade, which he followed most of his life, cleared a small farm on the present site of St. Mary's. He had five children: Lizzie (Mrs. Martin Sorg), Minnie (Mrs. Ed. Blintzler), Wally (Mrs. William Holland), Julia (Mrs. Joseph Fox) and John B. The subject of our sketch was reared in St. Mary's from five years of age. He followed various occupations up to 1876, when he engaged in farming, in which he has since successfully continued. Mr. Heindl married Mary M., daughter of Wendel and Mary J. (Herbstritt) Lion, of St. Mary's and has eleven children: Josephine (Mrs. John J. Weis), Maggie (Mrs. William Robinson), Michael W., Frank, Joseph E., Lizzie, John, Ann, Fred, Clara and Charlie. Mr. Heindl is a member of the Catholic Church. Politically he is a Democrat, and has held various township offices.

FRANK A. JACOB
FRANK A. JACOB
FRANK A. JACOB, of the St. Mary's Herald, St. Mary's, was born in that borough May 12, 1863, and is a son of Joseph and Mary (Bock) Jacob, natives of Bavaria, Germany, who immigrated to this country, and became pioneers of St. Mary's. The father was a hatter by trade, which he followed in the borough a couple of years, since when he has worked at the plasterer's trade. He reared a family of five children: Elizabeth (Mrs. Frank A. Erich) Simon (now deceased), John., Joseph and Frank A. The subject of this biographical memoir was reared and educated in St. Mary's, where he learned the printer's trade, and January 23, 1888, became connected with the St. Mary's Herald (a weekly journal), as one of its proprietors, and is now sole owner. Mr. Jacob married, October 6, 1885, Sophia, daughter of Thomas and Mary (Kerner) Ernst, of Benzinger township, Elk Co., Penn., and by her has two children: Francisca and Leonard. He is a member of the German Catholic Church, and secretary of St. Mary's Silver Cornet Band. In politics he is a Democrat.

JOHN KAUL SR.
JOHN KAUL SR.
JOHN KAUL, SR. (deceased), was born at Elbersberg, Bavaria, June 18, 1814, and received an elementary education in the schools of his native village. He left Bavaria in 1844, with the intention of joining the colonists from his native country at St. Mary's, Penn., and on the 25th of July, same year, arrived at New York City, whence he went to Buffalo, N.Y., via Albany. From Buffalo he came to St. Mary's. He journeyed afoot, arriving at the latter town, September 2, 1844. Purchasing a building lot in the new town, on Michael street, south of Joseph Jacob's residence, he built a log house there. September 4, 1844, his marriage with Kunegunda Brindle was solemnized by one of the Redemptorist Fathers. They resided in the log house for about two years, when he purchased a tract of wild land on the Brussels road. He made the farm his home until the autumn of 1876; when the family moved to Mr. Andrew Kaul's residence, where John Kaul, Sr., died February 26, 1877. His widow, who is still a resident of St. Mary's, was born at Elbersberg, Bavaria, May 8, 1815, and resided there until 1844, when she came with a party of three families to the settlement of St. Mary's. It was understood, however, that on her arrival here, she should become the wife of John Kaul, Sr., in accordance with the betrothal in their native land, and, as related above, she was married to him in the fall of the year they arrived. The children of that marriage were Andrew, of St. Mary's; Joseph, who, born October 27, 1846, died in infancy; Kate, who married Joseph Lanzel in the fall of 1866, was born December 9, 1847; John, now associated in the lumber business with his brother, was born September 13, 1849, and married Sophia Goetz; Kunegunda was born May 15, 1851, and married Charles Kronewetter; Catherine was born March 8, 1853, and married Joseph F. Windfelder; Mary was born February 1, 1855, and married Louis Hanhauser, and Joseph was born April 30, 1858, and married, Miss Barbara Bauer.

ANDREW KAUL
ANDREW KAUL
ANDREW KAUL was born July 15, 1845, at St. Mary's, and was educated in the common schools of the village. During his school days he assisted in the work of cultivating the homestead farm, and so continued until 1862,when he entered the employ of John Brooks as woodsman. During the following year he worked for Joseph Lanzel and Peter Kleixner, who were getting out square timber on the Sinnemahoning. In 1864 he and Mr. Lanzel took a contract to supply square timber to Col. Noyes and Simon. Cameron, which contract they completed successfully, by delivering their rafts at Manetta, Penn. This partnership was continued, following up the first by a second contract, to cut and peel pine logs for Mr. Bryan of Philadelphia. This necessitated the employment of a number of men, and proved very successful. In 1865 their operations were transferred to West Creek, where they were the pioneers of the woods. Their contract was with Herdick, Lentz & White of Williamsport. The West Creek Manufacturing & Mining Company contracted with them, in 1866, to stock their mills, where Beechwood village now stands. This contract was filled in the spring of 1867, and the partnership with Mr. Lanzel then ended. Mr. Kaul now contracted to stock the above-named mills, employing a force of sixty men, and completed the second contract with the West Creek Company in the spring of 1868, being the most successful, financially, of the contracts up to that date. In 1868 he returned to St.. Mary's, and purchased pine lands east of here, from Sebastian Weis, of York, Penn., and from Benzinger & Eschbach and others. During the summer, he built his first mill on the head of Iron run, being the second in the district. This mill he stocked and operated for about eight years, when the building was torn down and the machinery removed. In 1872 he built the Summit Mills, one and a half miles east of St. Mary's, which are still in existence. In 1873 he bought from John Brooks the Sterling Run Mills, also a large tract of timber, in which purchase George Walker, Joseph Lanzel, Charles Kronewetter and the Konley Brothers were interested, the company taking the title of Kaul, Walker & Co. They operated the mill for five years, when the firm dissolved, Mr. Kaul purchasing the interests of his partners. He continued to operate this mill until 1884, when the great bush fire swept away this industry. The Benezette Mills were bought from the Kronewetter Brothers, in 1875 or 1876; these he sold, in 1884, to Thomas Tosier. The Spring Run Mills were erected in 1880 for Mr. Kaul, but they were destroyed in the great fire of 1884, together with a large quantity of lumber and camp buildings. In 1871 Mr. Kaul and J.K.P. Hall entered into partnership for the purpose of investing in pine lands, and in the same year Mr. Kaul visited Wisconsin, with the object of purchasing pine lands, and did buy a large tract, but sold it several years afterward to Brown, Early & Co. This was the beginning of the partnership which was reaffirmed by the Hall, Kaul & Co. partnership of 1876. In 1880 Mr. Kaul and J.W. Gaskil of Philadelphia entered into partnership and purchased the 7,500 acres on West creek, together with the West Creek Manufacturing & Mining Company's mills at Beechwood. A year later J.K.P. Hall purchased Mr. Gaskil's interest, and this partnership has continued down to the present time. They, with Mr. C.R. Kline, are the present owners of this industry. Mr. Kaul was married November 14, 1865, to Miss Walburga Lanzel, a daughter of Michael and Catherine Lanzel. Mrs. Kaul was born near St. Mary's, April 25, 1847, and received her education here. The children of this marriage, are John L., born October 3, 1866 (he is now secretary and treasurer of the Sample Lumber Company of Alabama); Andrew, born February 2, 1868 (now employed as book-keeper at the St. Mary's Tannery); William, born June 9, 1870 (a student at Georgetown. College, D.C.); Joseph, born March 6, 1872 (also attends this college); Edward, born. February 3, 1874 (attending the St. Mary's schools); Frank, born January 26, 1876; Julia, born March 6, 1878 (a student in St. Mary's convent); Josephine, born March 23, 1880 (also attending the convent schools); Bertha, born June 30, 1882; George, born March 3, 1886, died March 12, 1886; James H., born June 16, 1887. Men speak of a country as one of illimitable possibilities, but in this instance, we learn something of the possibilities of the individual. Mr. Kaul, a native pioneer of Elk county, grew up among her great forests, strong and healthy like them. His youth was passed in the manner of the times forty years ago. In 1862 he sallied forth from the parental roof to hew out a trail to independence. How closely he followed that trail is measured by his repeated successes. Throughout the pages of local history of Elk and Cameron counties, his name appears at short intervals as the supporter of every project which gave promise of serving the people. In this sketch reference is made to the establishment of his early mills; but to obtain a clearer conception of the great industries of which he is the originator or one of the active agents, the pages of local history must be referred to. Of everything constituting the highest citizenship, social and business morality and enterprise, he is the possessor, and in the exercise of those gifts he radiates good all round.



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