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ever, Dr. Witherspoon arrived from Scotland, he brought with him the works of several distinguished Scottish philosophical writers, particularly Reid and Beattie, the influence of which was quickly perceptible in bringing back this gifted young man into the regions of common sense.
After taking his degree at Princeton, he returned to his father's house, and spent some time partly in assisting him in conducting his school, and partly in vigorous efforts for the higher cultivation of his own mind. He read the finest models in polite literature and the most accredited authors in intellectual and moral philosophy. He also occasionally tried his hand at writing poetry, but he was not much flattered by the result of his efforts ; and he seems to have abandoned his devotion to the muses on the ground that "poeta nascitur non fit." He had not been long in this new sphere of labor before he was invited to return to Princeton as a tutor in the college, especially in the department of the classics and belles letters. This position he accepted and filled from 1770 till 1773, discharging his duties in connection with the institution with exemplary fidelity and great acceptance, and all the while he was pursuing a course of theological study in reference to the ministry. About the close of his tutorship he was licensed to preach by the presbytery of New Castle. As his health had suffered not a little from severe affliction he determined, previous to assuming the responsibility of a stated charge, to spend some time as a missionary in the .western counties of Virginia. When he reached that part of the country, he received a most cordial welcome from many Irish Presbyterians who had settled in that section. It was not long till his captivating oratory and exemplary deportment rendered him an almost universal favorite. Persons without distinction of sect or of rank, flocked to hear him ; and those who had been entranced by the eloquence of Davies, seemed to feel as if another Davies had arisen. So powerful an impression did he make, that some of the most wealthy and influential persons soon set on foot a project for detaining him the a as the head of a literary institution, and in a short time the funds requisite for establishing, such an institution were sub-
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scribed. The necessary buildings were erected, and the seminary was subsequently chartered by the Legislature under the name of Hampden Sydney college. The new college being at length nearly ready to commence its operations, he returned to the North and formed a matrimonial alliance with the eldest daughter of Dr. Witherspoon. He then returned to Virginia and took upon himself the double office of principal of the seminary and pastor of the church ; and the duties of each he discharged in such a manner as to fulfill the highest expectations that had been formed concerning him. But the new labors were more than his constitution could endure ; and after three or four years, a slight bleeding at the lungs admonished him to take at least a temporary respite from his burdens. By the advice of friends he resorted to the watering place among the western mountains, then acquiring considerable celebrity under the name of the "Sweet Springs."
A residence at this place for a few weeks caused the unfavorable symptoms in a great measure to disappear, so that he returned to his family with his health in a good degree renovated.
At this period (1799), he was invited to the chair of moral philosophy, at Princeton ; and notwithstanding his strong attachment to the infant seminary in Virginia, (of which he might be considered the founder), the prospect of a more extended sphere of usefulness in connection with his Alma Mater, induced him to accept the appointment. Upon his arrival at Princeton, however, a most unpromising state of things presented itself. The college itself was in ruins, in consequence of the uses and abuses to which it had been subjected by both the British and American soldiers, during the previous years of the Revolutionary war. The students were dispersed and all its operations had ceased. Mainly by the energy, wisdom, and general self-devotion of Mr. Smith, the college was speedily reorganized and all its usual exercises resumed. For several years Dr. Witherspoon, though retaining the office of president, was engaged as a member of Congress in the higher affairs of the nation. Owing to the fact that Dr. Witherspoon some years afterwards became, in a great measure, disqualified for the duties of the office of
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president, being affected with total blindness and many other bodily infirmities, the great weight of care as to the management of the institution devolved upon the subject of this notice; and it is not too much to say, that it was indebted for no small degree of its prosperity to the increasing vigilance, the earnest efforts and the distinguished ability of' Mr. Smith. In 1783 he was honored with the degree of Doctor of Divinity from Yale college ; and in 1810 the degree of Doctor of Laws was conferred upon him by Howard University. In 1785 Dr. Smith was elected an honorary member of the American Philosophical Society, in Philadelphia—an institution distinguished not only for being the first of its kind, in the order of time in the country, but for numbering among its members many of the most brilliant, profound and erudite minds of which the country could boast. The same year he was appointed to deliver their anniversary address ; and he met the occasion in a manner which of itself would have conferred lasting honor upon his name. The object of the address was to explain the causes of the variety in the figure and complexion of the human species, and to establish the identity of the race. It was published in the "Transactions" of the society, and was subsequently published in an enlarged and improved form in a separate volume. With this work his reputation as a philosopher, both at home and abroad, is in no small degree identified. In 1786 he was associated with several of the most distinguished and venerable men in the Presbyterian church, such as Witherspoon, McWhorter, Allison, Ewing, &c.., in preparing the form of presbyterian government, which continues to the present time. His comprehensive views, and intimate acquaintance with all the forms of ecclesiastical procedure, eminently qualified him for the important service.
Upon the death of Dr. Witherspoon in 1794, Dr. Smith succeeded to the honors and full responsibilities of the office which his death had vacated. Besides being highly popular as the head of the institution, he had now acquired a reputation as a pulpit orator which rendered it an object for many even from remote parts of the country, to listen to his preaching. His baccalaureate discourses particularly, which
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were addressed to the senior class, on the Sabbath immediately preceding their graduation, were always of the highest order, and it was not uncommon for persons to go even from New York and Philadelphia to listen to them. One of his most splendid performances was his oration delivered at Trenton, on the death of Washington ; the occasion roused his faculties to the utmost, and the result was a production of great beauty and power. In 1779 he published a volume of sermons, which were regarded as an important contribution to that department of our country's literature. They are characterized rather by general than particular views of evangelical truth, by a correct, elevated, and perhaps somewhat elaborate style, by occasional bold and eloquent apostrophes, and by many stirring appeals to the heart and conscience. In the spring of 1802, when the institution was at the full tide of its prosperity, the college edifice was burnt, together with the libraries, furniture and fixtures of every description. Indeed, all was gone except the charter, the grounds, and' the naked walls of brick and stone, together with the exalted character of the seminary and the commanding reputation of its president. After the first stunning effect of the calamity was over, it was the general sentiment of all, that the necessary funds must be raised to rebuild the edifice and sustain the institution. Dr. Smith made a collecting tour through the southern States, and returned in the following spring with about one hundred thousand dollars, which, with liberal collections made in other parts of the Union, enabled him to accomplish vastly more than he had ventured to anticipate. This was his crowning achievement. He had won new honors, and gained many new friends. The college was popular and prosperous, and numbered two hundred students. New buildings were soon erected, and several new professors were added to the faculty. From this period Dr. Smith bent all his energies towards the management of the institution, and it continued year by year. to rise in public estimation. But the advance of bodily infirmities were making visible progress in the case of the distinguished head of the college; and in the year 1812, in consequence of repeated strokes of palsy, he became too much
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enfeebled to discharge any longer the duties of his office. He, therefore, at the next commencement, tendered his resignation as president, and retired to a place which the board of trustees provided for him, and there spent the remainder of his life. For several years he occupied himself in revising and preparing for the press some of his works, but at length disease had made such havoc with his constitution, that he was. scarcely capable of any mental labor. After a long course of gradual and almost imperceptible decline, he died August 21st, 1819,in the 70th year of his age. His published works are the following :An essay on the causes of the variety of complexion and figure of the human species, to which are added strictures on Lord Kaimes' discourse on the Original Diversity of Mankind, 8vo., 1787. Sermons, 8vo., 1799. Lectures on the Evidences of the Christian Religion, 12mo., 1809. Lectures on Moral and Political Philosophy, 12mo., 1812. A comprehensive view of the leading and most important principles of Natural and Revealed Religion, 8vo., 1816. Sermons, to which is prefixed a brief memoir of his life and writings, 2 vols., 8vo., (posthumous,) 1821.
SPENCER, WILLIAM, a citizen of Strasburg ¹ borough was elected County Commissioner in the year 1861.
SPRENGER, J. J., a citizen of Lancaster, somewhat reputed as an American traveler. In 1857 he visited and traversed a large portion of Europe. In 1859 he was appointed consul at Dresden, and was afterwards transferred to Venice, where he remained until 1862. He has traveled over a large portion of America, and in 1871 made his third trip to Europe, passing through England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and Spain. In the winter of 1869-70 he lectured in many places on " Steaming across the Continent," and during the winter of 1871-72 on "Reminiscences of a tour through Spain and Portugal." Mr. Sprenger is a man of an enterprising character, and endowed with considerable intellectuality.
¹ When Dr. Joseph Priestly, the celebrated philosopher, first emigrated from England to America, in 1794, he settled and lived fora short time in Strasburg, Lancaster county. He lived in the house now owned by William Spencer, ex-commissioner, for about six months. He removed thence to Northumberland, Pa., where he lies buried.
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STAUFFER, BENJAMIN M., was elected Register of Wills in 1854.
STAUFFER, CHRISTIAN, elected County Commissioner in 1813.
STAUFFER, CAPT. WM. D., is a native of Lancaster county. Upon the breaking out of the rebellion he enlisted as a private soldier in Co. B., first regiment Pennsylvania Reserves, served all through the struggle, and was discharged as captain of Co. H., 195th regiment Pennsylvania Reserves-In 1869 he was elected Prothonotary of Lancaster county, succeeding Col. Wm. L. Bear, who filled the same office for three years.
STAUFFER FAMILY. John Stauffer and his brother Jacob emigrated to America from Germany about the year 1740. They were mere boys, John being not more than 12 or 15 years old. They started from Philadelphia to Lancaster on foot. While traveling along they came up with a farmer driving in a wagon. He, seeing that they were boys and must be hungry, threw some bread on th© ground, which the boys eagerly picked up and ate. When they arrived in Lancaster they found the town to consist of only a few houses. They then traveled to the neighborhood of Litiz, where they lived until grown up, when John married a daughter. of John Martin Amweg. He then settled about 3 miles north of Manheim, where he bought a mill on the Big Chiques creek, at present in the possession of Moses Light. When the Revolutionary war broke out he refused to take up arms, having conscientious scruples, being a member of the Mennonite church. The officers searched the mill for him ; he, however, made his escape to the hills. They finally gave up the chase and left. In 1778, on the 15th of November, was born his son, Martin Stauffer, who is still living, having just entered his 94th year, and is with his daughter, Mrs. Henry Snavely.
STAUFFER, JACOB. The subject of this memoir was born in Manheim, in the county of Lancaster, Pa., on the 30th day of November, 1808. He received a common country school education, and was early put behind the counter by his father, who kept both store and tavern, during his
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minority. He manifested quite a taste for drawing and painting in his youth, and great fondness for military display. A retired graduate of West Point, boarding with his father, took quite an interest in him, and gave him lessons; indeed, almost a regular West Point course. Owing to this, Col. Jacob Hostetter appointed him adjutant, May, 1825, of the 18th regiment Pennsylvania militia. He subsequently was elected first major, and on the expiration of Col. Hostetter's term, young as he was, he was almost unanimously elected colonel, without an effort on his part. After attaining the age of twenty-one he left his native village for Philadelphia, and made the acquaintance of the elder Sulley, Inman, and others, artists and engravers, and took lessons in oil painting. and drawing. But, as his father did not approve of his course, and having no resources to sustain him while acquiring proficiency as an artist, he got a clerkship, first in the counting house of Mr. S. Eckstein, and afterwards in the recording office of Philadelphia, during which time he took to himself a wife. After spending a few years in Philadelphia, he removed to his native village, where he opened a store, and subsequently, introduced the first printing press in Manheim, adding a job office to his mercantile pursuit. Having devoted much of his studies to medicine and botany, he gradually sold off his stock of goods and entered more especially into the drug business. He exchanged his Manheim property for one at what was then called "Richland cross-roads," in 1840, now incorporated in the borough of Mount Joy, at which place he also introduced the first printing press, as well as a lithographic press, and the art of taking daguerreotype. These various pursuits were insufficient to keep him fully employed, so that he devoted much of his time to botany and natural science. His great love and facility of illustrating plants, insects, &c., occupied much of his time, and it is surprising to behold the immense number of illustrations, many very life-like and admirably drawn and colored, so that it is difficult to find a plant or insect that he has not figured. He was called on for writing agreements, deeds, specifications, and to make drawings for his neighbor He was a useful member in the council and school board, as
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well as in the church and Sabbath school, during his stay at Mt. Joy. He wrote quite a number of articles for various monthlies, on subjects connected with agriculture, botany, and entomology especially, embracing much original matter, and generally well received and highly appreciated.
It was during one of his botanical rambles he made the discovery of the parasitism of a certain plant known as the Coniandra umbellatta, as also of several species of Gerardia, being in frequent correspondence with Professor A. Gray, of Harvard University. The Doctor published the result of this discovery in Silliman's Journal, vol. xvi, No. 47, p. 250, for Sept., 1853. He also received a highly complimentary letter from Professor Joseph Henry, of the Smithsonian Institute, with a donation of many valuable publications to which he became entitled under Mr. Smithson's will. He was urged to publish his figures, with a description, by Prof. Gray. He accordingly set up the type in pamphlet form, of his own manuscript, made the drawings on stone and lithographed and printed the illustrations and letter press, and stitched the same, without the aid of any other party. Rev. Dr. Morris, of Baltimore, to whom a pamphlet was sent, in answer acknowledging its reception, observed that "he knew of no other man except Mr. Sturm, of Nuremberg, who could write, set up, illustrate and print his own work." One of these pamphlets is on file in the Academy of Natural Science of Philadelphia, of which he has for years been a corresponding member. His oldest son started the Mount Joy Herald, in 1854, assisted by him, in which there are weekly articles on botany, illustrated by neat wood cuts, drawn and engraved by himself, giving much valuable and interesting information, drawn from an extensive library of botanical works. He wound up his affairs at Mount Joy and moved to Lancaster in the spring of -1858, devoting his time more especially to the procuring of patents. As a solicitor he was quite successful, and no doubt stimulated the inventive faculties of many by the announcement of patents procured through his aid.
During the first few years, he had his office in the library rooms of the Lancaster Athenaeum, of which he had the
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charge, but this he was forced to abandon, as his business increased to such a degree that he could but now and then write articles for the press; yet, being called upon, he would respond; so that to enumerate the monthlies and weeklies in which his articles appeared, would form a lengthy list ; suffice it to say, that without any pretensions, and too apt to depreciate his own acquirements, his writings and illustrations are a proof of his industry, as the number would seem to require a lifetime alone to execute. In a letter from Prof. E. D. Cope, of Philadelphia, which came under the observation of the writer, he says: "Thee would have been encouraged in thy zoological studies, no doubt, in finding the number of species thee has added to the fauna of Pennsylvania;" then follows a list of hard names, hardly edifying if repeated. Very few of his most intimate friends have any idea of the extent of his labors; yet, it is acknowledged by all who know him, that he is well versed in almost every branch of science; and if a strange plant or insect is found, and a name wanted for it, you are usually advised to "go to Stauffer, he can tell you." His devotion to hunt and roam over the hills, valleys, swamps and by-ways, in search of something new, and when found, the habit of figuring it, of course, gave him opportunities for acquiring a fund of information during a period of fifty gears of study. On asking him why he never published a book, his reply was, "I first wished to know what I knew-that was not known before," as a repetition of the old story was a species of drudgery for which he had no taste, however cunningly he might disguise it ; "besides, such books as some men compile are no credit to them. I have purchased such, and found nothing new and no improvement on works previously written on the same subject; this has admonished me to be cautious." It is to be hoped that one of his sons will collect the numerous notes and observations scattered in manuscript in connection with his illustrations on various subjects, at no distant day. Either of them would be qualified for the task; his oldest son is a distinguished writer, while the youngest is a distinguished civil engineer, and has in charge the bridge now being built across the Schuylkill, South street, Philadelphia.
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Mr. Stauffer has been three times married, and perhaps there are few men who have been more affectionate and devoted in their domestic relations. He is a man singularly disinterested and morally pure, practically recognizing the sanctity of the family union, as husband, father, instructor and friend. Few men possess a greater versatility of talent, and few have labored so long, so incessantly, and so little influenced by the desire of pecuniary reward. Few have
been more willing to communicate what they know on any subject, without compensation, even where it has cost him much time and labor, and in many instances has drawn on his own pecuniary means. He seems to have labored much from a love of labor, and without seeming to be impressed with the idea that he had accomplished anything of very special merit. His ability to take up and adapt himself to almost any branch of science and philosophy; has, perhaps, produced that diversity which prevented the acquisition of that marked distinction, which would have resulted in recompense and fame in a special field. He seems to have lacked that love of gain which leads men to concentrate their energies in a special channel, for the mere purpose of making it pay. Always a man of limited means, yet he was habitually benevolent and liberal almost to a fault. When he desired and felt that he needed a book or an instrument to assist him in those studies and experiments to which his leisure hours were devoted, he never denied himself or caviled at prices, if the subject came within the limit of his pecuniary abilities; hence, he never was to any considerable extent a borrower, and accordingly has accumulated a large and
valuable library of books, maps, charts and manuscripts, for a man in his circumstances. In common with frail humanity he may commit errors of the head, but those most intimately associated with him are loth to believe that he would wilfully commit an error of the heart, or that his word is of less value than his bond. Reasonably affable and social in his nature, he yet never was the man to obtrude himself where he had rational ground to suspect his presence would not be welcome or agreeable. Although peaceably and harmoniously inclined, yet when aroused he had the moral and
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physical courage to resist imposition; and in a tournament with the pen he has the faculty of detecting exposed points, and dealing effective thrusts, although it cannot be said that he is habitually controversial. He is firm in his moral and religious convictions, but not more firm than sincere, and does not seem to be solicitous as to whether his views are in strict accord with the most literal systems of popular orthodoxy, although he does not profess to be heterodox. He is by no means a man of worldly aspirations, although not a recluse, or indifferent about what is going on in the world. He is one of the few men we find in society who are free from those prejudices which are engendered and fostered by religious, political and social clans, parties, sects and cliques ; hence many of his warmest friendships are among those who differ with him radically in politics, religion and philosophy. Although he might tolerate on a civil plane, yet he could never affiliate with the impure, the obscene, or the profane ; or for the sake of pleasing men alone, forget his higher relations to his Creator.
STEACY, DAVID G., was born in Bart¹ township, Lancaster county, Pa., April 23d, 1824. His father, Benjamin Steacy, emigrated from Ireland in the early part of the present century, and settled in Bart township. He was a man in humble circumstances, and raised a large family. He was simply a laboring man, and his son, the subject of this notice
¹ William McClure was born in Scotland in the year 1698, and emigrated to Lancaster county early in the last century, and was among the earliest and most respectable settlers of Bart township. His wife had emigrated with her friends from Ireland in the year 1734, and first settled at John Harris's Ferry on the Susquehanna, when Harris's house constituted the town of Harrisburg; but she having fled from the savages, finally settled in Lancaster county and was joined in marriage with William McClure, who purchased a large tract of land in Chester valley, most of which was held by his descendants for nearly one !hundred years, and a part thereof is yet owned by one of his grandsons. He had three sons, viz : William, John and Thomas. ' William and John served in the army of the Revolution, and their team and wagon was engaged in the .public service ; one of them had his musket knocked from his hands by a ball, and his hat perforated with one or more bullets. After the war, they returned to their farms in the valley, where they spent the remainder of their eventful lives. John resided near a place called the Green Tree, and departed this life the year 1838, aged
OF LANCASTER COUNTY - 561
was. obliged when but eighteen years of age to take charge of the family affairs and manage the same. He soon entered into speculative enterprises, having the favor of some men of capital and influence, which resulted in success. When young, he became noted for the interest he took in debating societies, and he gained some notice as a debater. He always took a lively interest in politics, first as an old line Whig, and afterwards as a Republican, of which party he is still a member. He has for many years stood amongst the leaders of this party in the county. He has ever been a great friend of the policy of American protection. In the fall of 1867 he was elected a member of the Legislature, and reelected again to a second term in 1868.
STEELE, ARCHIBALD, a brother of Gen. John Steele, was a man of great intrepidity and resolute daring. Upon the breaking out of the Revolution he and a man named Smith raised a company in Lancaster county and marched to Boston, where they were organized into a regiment, and placed under the command of Benedict Arnold. This was the regiment that made the celebrated march through the wilderness of Maine to Quebec, in the winter of 1775, which has ever been remembered as one memorable in the annals of American history. During this march Archibald Steele had the command of a party of men who were selected to go before
81 years, leaving six sons and one daughter, who are all living at the present time, the average of whose ages now exceeds 74 years. The family and descendants of William McClure have ever been considered as among the most highly respectable and influential members of the old Octoraro church, in the township of Bart. He departed this life in the year 1768, aged 70 years. His widow, who survived him for more than half a century, departed this life at the present residence of Joseph McClure (her grandson), in the year 1828, aged 108 year, 2 months and 29 days. Their descendants are still numerous and respectable in the neighborhood. Among their great-grandsons are Samuel, David, Thomas, Joseph, Robert Spencer and William McClure, of Bart ; and also Francis McClure, of Salisbury. Joseph McClure, who was elected a member of the Legislature in the years 1840 and 1841, is the youngest son of John McClure; and the grandson of William McClure, sr. He owns and occupies the old homestead, near the Green Tree, in Bart, and is a worthy and leading member of the community in which he lives, and of the Associate Presbyterian church, of which the Rev. William Easton, from Scotland, has been the pastor for more than 40 years.
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the army and mark out the roads and crossing places ; and on the arrival of the army at the St. Lawrence he was ap. pointed superintendent of the crossing of the river. At the head of his company Steele marched with the army to the attack upon Quebec, but upon the fall of Gen. Montgomery the Americans retreated, and Arnold's division were all taken prisoners. He was badly wounded in the left hand, two of his fingers having been carried away by a musket shot. The following may be cited as showing the heroic daring of Capt. Archibald Steele : On one occasion as the Americans were crossing a river in bark canoes, these were filled to their utmost capacity with men, and Capt. Steele seeing no room in the canoe leaped into the river, rested his hands on the stern of the boat whilst one of the men therein sat upon them, and thus was he dragged through the floating ice to the opposite shore. When they reached the shore, life was almost extinct ; the soldiers wrapped him in their blankets, and rolled him over the ground to infuse new life in him. On his return home from the Quebec expedition he met the American army in New Jersey, and was informed by Gen. Hand that two of his brothers, John Steele and Wm. Steele, were then serving with the army. Capt. Archibald Steele asked Gen. Hand if he thought his brother John would be competent to assume the command of a company (being but eighteen years of age.) Hand replied that he would warrant his qualification, and the commission was procured. Archibald Steele was afterwards appointed deputy quartermaster general, a position he retained for some considerable time. He was appointed by Washington colonel of a western expedition, but sickness prevented the acceptance of this command. He held for some time in Philadelphia his position of military storekeeper. He died in Philadelphia in 1832, aged 91 years. He had three sons in the naval service during the war of 1812 (George, William and Matthias), who were captured, taken to England, and there for a time detained as prisoners of war.
STEELE, GENERAL JAMES, son of William and Abigail Steele, was born in Sadsbury township about the commencement of the Revolutionary war. During the war of 1812
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he was, for meritorious conduct, promoted to the rank of brigadier general. Prior to the war he had erected a paper mill on the east side of the Octoraro. His residence was on the Chester county side of the creek, while his store, with part of his family and most of his improvements, were on the Lancaster county side. He erected two cotton mills in Sadsbury township, about the year 1818. He was an enterprising business man. He was a Presbyterian, yet his wife and some of his family inclined to the Methodist faith. He died about 1840, at an advanced age. His son, Francis B. Steele, was appointed military storekeeper at the Falls of St. Anthony, in Minnesota, under the administration of President Jackson, in which State several of the family now reside.
STEELE, GENERAL JOHN, was born in Drumore township, Lancaster county, in the year 1758. His parents had emigrated from Scotland, and settled in that part of the county at an early day. His parents had designed him for the ministry, and with this end in view had placed him under the instruction of the Rev. Mr. James, a Presbyterian clergyman, and upon the breaking out of the Revolution he was reading divinity with the Rev. Mr. Latta. He immediately joined the American army as a private, being then but eighteen years of age, and at the age of nineteen, having shown his valor, he was given the command of a company. He continued in the service of his country during the whole of the Revolution. Ile received a severe wound in the abdomen at the battle of Brandywine, from the effects of which he came near losing his life. Upon the conclusion of the war of the Revolution he returned to civil life, having the fixed habits of military life and little qualified for business; and yet though one of his arms was disabled from a wound received in the service, he refused a pension when in his reach, and battled for the means of subsistence as best he could. In 1801 he was elected a member of the Legislature, the duties of which he discharged during one session. The following year he was nominated and elected by the Republican (Democratic) party State Senator of Pennsylvania. By virtue of the act of 15th of February,
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1799, which seemed to preclude a Senator from occupying certain offices by appointment, the Senate declared the seat of General Steele vacant in 1803, and on the 16th of February, 1804, an election was ordered to fill the vacancy. His friends, however, believing that there was no valid constitutional objections to his taking his seat in the Senate, resolved to use their best efforts to secure his reelection. He was accordingly elected Senator without any serious opposition, and was admitted to his seat. On the resignation of Robert Whitehill, Speaker of the Senate in March, 1805, General Steele was elected Speaker of that body. He was again, in December of the same year, the Republican candidate for Speaker of that body, but as his party was now in the minority he was not elected. Again in December, 1806, he was the candidate of his party for United States Senator, and tied Andrew Gregg on three ballots before the joint convention of the Senate and House of Representatives. An adjournment was now carried, and when the convention reassembled, his competitor, Andrew Gregg, was elected.
He was one, of the commissioners who were appointed to adjust the damages sustained by the Wyoming sufferers at the hands of the Indians. He was, in 1808, appointed by President Jefferson; collector of the port of Philadelphia, a position he held during the remainder of his life. He died February 27th, 1827. The following is from Poulson's Advertiser: " On Wednesday last the flag of the custom house, and those of the shipping, in port, were suspended at half mast as a mark of respect to the memory of General Steele., He was an officer of the Revolutionary army, and served for many years as collector of the port of Philadelphia. In his death we are deprived of a useful citizen, whose character for integrity and benevolence will be long and deservedly remembered."
STEELE, WILLIAM, JR., son of William Steele, sr., was one of the early and staunch advocates of American independence. He was appointed one of the lieutenants for Lancaster county during the Revolution, and took an active and efficient part in the struggle. He was married to Abigail, a sister of Francis Badly, esq., of Sadsbury. After the close of
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the Revolution, he was appointed one of the magistrates of Lancaster county, a position he held until about the year 1812.
STEELE, WILLIAM, SR., was a prominent man among the early settlers of Sadsbury township. He obtained a warrant for a large tract of land west of the Octoraro, in the southern part of the township. He was an influential member of the old Presbyterian church at Octoraro. He was chosen captain of one of the associated companies of the Lancaster county militia in the year 1756, at the time of the Indian and French war.
STEHMAN, JOHN M., a banker¹ of Lancaster, was elected a member of the Legislature in 1860. He as again reelected to the same office in the years 1865 and 1866. He is also engaged in agricultural pursuits.
STEIGEL, WM. HENRY, generally known as Baron Steigel, was a native of Manheim, Germany. He emigrated to America and became associated with the Messrs. Stedman, of Philadelphia, who were Englishmen of great wealth, and who owned the land upon which the town. of Manheim in
¹ There is no stronger evidence of the growing wealth of the people of Lancaster county, th.,n the great change in its banking business, when we compare the pat with the present. For a long time there were but four banks in the city, one in Columbia, and one in Marietta ; the latter was in existence but a short time, having to suspend operations. The oldest institution, the Farmers' Bank, was incorporated in 1810; next the Lancaster Bank, incorporated in 1814, which suspended in 1856; the Lancaster County Bank, incorporated in 1841; and the office of Discount and Deposit, a branch of the Bank of Pennsylvania, which was compelled to wind up its business on account of the suspension of the mother bank in Philadelphia; the Lancaster Savings Institution, incorporated in 1835 or 1836 enjoyed, to a large extent, the confidence of the people, and had a heavy line of deposits, but was compelled to suspend in 1856; the next incorporated savings institution, was the Inland Insurance and Deposit Company, incorporated in 1854, which at one time carried a good line of insurance, but of late years has confined its operations more particularly to banking.
Private bankers now occupy a very prominent place in our financial circles, and this line of business was first started by George K. Reed and John F. Shroder, in 1850. Ever since that time Mr. Reed has been engaged in the banking business, and is now an active member of the old firm of Reed, McGrann & .Co. Some years afterwards Reed, Henderson & Co. commenced operations; next John Gyger & Co., the firm now
566 - BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORY
Lancaster county is built. Steigel came to Lancaster county about 1758, and purchased from the Stedmans the one-third interest of a tract of 714 acres, and immediately thereafter built Elizabeth furnace, named in honor of his wife. He now laid out a town which he named Manheim,¹ in honor of his native city in Germany. The town was laid out as per plan of the European Manheim, which Steigel had brought with him from Germany. He built his chateau with brick, imported from England, and arranged it in the manner of a nobleman's castle. One of the rooms of his castle was ornamented with paintings representing an equestrian hawking party, of life-size figures. The antique and curiously wrought massive ceilings yet indicate the expense and labor bestowed upon the dwelling,² Over the old-fashioned fireplace are square plates of delf set in cement, representing landscapes. The baron lived in his wilderness home and sustained for a time the pomp and luxuriance of a nobleman. Upon the top of his castle was a balcony upon which a band of musicians would take their position and play favorite airs as soon as the Baron's return home from a
dissolved. These have been succeeded by Bair & Shenk;. Stehman, Clarkson & Co.; R. A. Evans & Co., the firm now dissolved; D. P. Locher & Son; J. B. Long; Diffenderffer & Bros.; Eshleman & Rathvon; and A. K. Spurrier & Co. In the county : The Farmers' Bank of Elizabethtown; Litiz Deposit and Columbia Deposit Banks, are also private institutions.. After the passage of the National Banking law, all of the old State corporations were compelled to accept its provisions if they wished to continue their circulation. It was also the means of starting up quite a number of new institutions. The following are the national banks in the county : Farmers' National Bank of Lancaster; Lancaster County National Bank; First National Bank of Lancaster; Columbia National Bank; First National Bank of Columbia; First National Bank of Marietta; First National Bank of Strasburg; First National Bank of Mount Joy; Union National Bank of Mount Joy; and Manheim National Bank. Almost every village in the county can now boast of its banking facilities.
¹ The land upon which Manheim is built was taken up in 1734 by, James Logan, whose daughter married a Mr. Norris, and he sold it to the Stedmans of Philadelphia.
² The Baron's house was for years in the possession of John Arndt, a merchant of Manheim, not long since deceased, and who in repairing it made such alterations in it as leaves little to be seen that recalls the name of Steigel, save the room above cited with the paintings.
OF LANCASTER COUNTY - 567
journey would be announced by the firing of a canon stationed some distance from the castle. In one of the upper rooms of his house or castle it was the Baron's custom to preach to his laboring hands on Sunday.
The Baron erected glass works to give encouragement to the inhabitants whom he desired to attract to his new town. These works for many years were carried on successfully by Steigel, and turned out great quantities of glass articles. He carried on both the glass works and the Elizabeth furnace for several years. He, however, exceeded in the end the limits of his ability in a financial point of view. He purchased the whole of the Stedman interest in the property, and being unable ever to liquidate the payments for the same he failed, and his property was all sold by the sheriff. He was also imprisoned for the debt in the Lancaster county jail, and an act of the Pennsylvania Legislature was, in 1774, passed for his relief and liberation. After his failure Steigel taught school in the German districts of Lancaster and Berks counties, and was somewhat supported by the iron-masters who came into possession of Elizabeth furnace, and who commiserated him in his misfortunes. He died in great indigence, and though his place of burial is unknown, yet he is thought to be laid somewhere east of Elizabeth furnace, near the line between Berks and Lancaster counties. Upon the breaking out of the American Revolution Steigel's aristocratic feelings led him to espouse the cause of King George, and one of his sons raised a company for the royal service. His company being severely pressed for provisions, young Steigel pledged his gold watch to a farmer for a bullock, and whether the story be mythical or not, his watch is yet said to be in the possession of a gentleman in Lancaster county.
STEINMAN, JOHN FREDERICK, one of the early citizens of Lancaster borough, and the ancestor of the highly respectable family of this name. He was a native of Germany, and emigrated from a small town near Berlin at an early day. He began the hardware business about the year 1762, at the place where his descendants have continued the same for one hundred and ten years. He was the first who began
568 - BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORY
this branch of trade in Lancaster, starting it rather in the tinware line, and afterwards developing it into the regular hardware business. He had two sons, John Frederick and George M., the former of whom is yet living at the advanced age of eighty-three years. John Frederick Steinman, last named, was a leading and successful business man, and for many years an influential member of city councils and the Lancaster school board. General George M. Steinman, son of the latter, is one of the leading business men of Lancaster city; and a man of considerable intellectual capacity. He is besides, a man of inventive ingenuity, and the one who some years since invented for the city reservoir the plan which, by means of a floating ball; attached by a chain to the water pipe, prevented the mud and other filth from entering the pipes and being carried through the city. This was an invention which at the time was of vast utility. He served for many years as a member of city councils and as a member of the school board. In 1862 he was the candidate of the Democratic party for Congress in opposition to Thaddeus Stevens. He yet carries on the business started by his grandfather.
*STEVENS, THADDEUS. When a man of peculiar qualifications is required to push the world onward towards the good time coming, when the lion and the lamb shall lie down together, and a little child shall lead them, Providence al ways furnishes an instrument adapted to the work. History is full of such cases. Sometimes the chosen one ,seems to come forth like Minerva from the hand. of Jove, fully developed and quipped at all points for the work. At other times it would appear that a long course of vigorous training is required to fit the destined leader for his work. Moses spent the first forty years of his life in the most learned, the most luxurious, the most dissolute court then existing. In this period he learned to know men, their virtues, and their vices. Forty years more tending sheep in the solitudes of vast plains and rugged mountains, gave him leisure to think over, to fully comprehend the power and use of the knowledge he bad before acquired. It was in this way be was
*Contributed by Alexander H. Hood, esq.
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made capable of becoming the leader and law-giver of the only people who retained the knowledge of the facts and principles on which only the highest civilization is possible : the law of the Eternal, Invisible, All powerful Intelligence, which made and sustains the universe, material and spiritual.
In our own time we have seen numerous instances of Providential selection and preparation. No other man than Abraham Lincoln could have abolished slavery so effectually as he did. His slow, cautious mode of dealing with the question, prevented all hazard of failure from premature attempts. At the beginning of the war Grant never dreamed that he was the man destined to end the rebellion. Up to this time he had not been a prosperous man. Fortune, in almost every instance, seemed to baffle his exertions. Most probably it was from this very circumstance that he acquired that persistence of purpose which afterwards made his success so thoroughly complete.
Lincoln finished his allotted task, and in fire and blood was called to his reward. Grant still remains, because his distinguishing quality may Bc still further needed. Without the crowning victories of Grant, Lincoln's proclamation of freedom would have remained a dead letter. Without the reconstruction measures of Stevens, the South in a few years would; through the agency of its legislative bodies, have nullified all the good which the proclamation of Lincoln and the victories of Grant had given the nation power to establish. To give a history of this man as fully as can be done within the small space to which this article is limited, is the task which the writer has undertaken.
Thaddeus Stevens was born in the town of Danville, Caledonia county, Vermont, on the 4th day of April, 1792. Of his father but little is known, beyond the facts that he was a man of rather dissipated habits, and a great wrestler, able to throw down any man in the county. In the war of 1812 he enlisted as a soldier, and in the attack on Oswego received a bayonet wound in the groin, of which he died a few days afterwards. His mother, of whom he never wearied in talking, was a woman of strong natural sense and unconquerable resolution. Her maiden name was Morrell, and the great
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object of her life was to give her sons a good education. In this effort she was successful. The eldest became a judge in Illinois ; Alanson, the second son, was a practicing physician
of high reputation at the time of his death. Another, the third of the brothers, became a farmer, and was a gentleman of intelligence and culture. Thaddeus, the youngest, was the one on whom she placed the greatest share of her affections. There was a valid, natural reason, for this. The boy, though healthy, was in some degree deformed. He had a club foot, and doubtless required greater attention than the others. From the little that can now be gathered as to the relations between him and his mother, it is very clear that he was the Joseph of the family.
His first journey into the world was in 1804, when he went with his parents to Boston, on a visit to some relations. He very seldom alluded to this trip, though from what he did say about it, the inference to be drawn is, that be came to a resolution to become rich and live like the wealthy men did there. This resolution, however, seemed to have little effect upon his after-life, for there never was a man who cared less for money to be spent upon himself. It may be that it was at this time he began to understand that money was the power by which men were ruled, but it seems scarcely possible that one so young could have arrived at this conclusion. He was, however, a genuine Yankee, and in poor countries, like Vermont was then, taken in connection with his knowledge that all he could ever hope to be, must depend upon himself, it may be that it was then that some of the prominent characteristics of his nature were developed. That it was at this time he determined to make his mark in the world, is certain. The year after this, the spotted fever prevailed to an alarming degree in Caledonia. For miles around his home there was scarcely a family in which one or more were not stricken down. In many houses all were sick, and it was almost impossible to obtain help. In this state of things Mrs. Stevens turned nurse, and went to the help of her neighbors, taking young Thaddeus along with her. Among the families they visited there was no little suffering, and the recollection of this fact operated in after-
OF LANCASTER COUNTY - 571
life to make him always very kindly disposed to the sick and the poor. To such, up to the end of his life, when he knew of their wants, he was always a ministering angel. Often, it is true, he would rail at men for their vices, their want of industry and care, and yet it often seemed he was more kind to this class of persons than to those who had never . been guilty of such imprudence. Many of his good works of this kind were done in secret, no one knowing anything about them except himself and the party benefitted. Those who asked for his charity he never refused when he had money; when his pockets were empty, as was sometimes the case, he would never admit the fact, but justify his refusal by bringing forward the unworthiness of the applicant. Those who knew the real reason of his conduct, were often considerably amused at the seriousness with which he would lecture the applicant on such occasions.
That his father was a shoemaker is known, but he did not work steadily at the business. Thaddeus, though his opportunities were not great, had still a chance to pick up a little of the trade. Certain it is, that after his father's death, and perhaps before it, he made the shoes of the family, and perhaps some for a few of the neighbors. In his younger years, when first a candidate for the Legislature, he used to boast of being a shoemaker ; and the writer has seen men who averred that they had worked with him in the same shop, but this was not true. Certain it is, that he never did anything of the sort in Pennsylvania.
During his early years Mr. Stevens was a most diligent reader of everything that came into his hands. Books, at that time, were not very numerous in Peacham, where he then lived. When he was about fifteen he tried the experiment of founding a library, which it is said still exists, having grown considerably in size since his day. About this time, like all Yankee boys who desire an education, he began to teach school, and, it is said, was quite a successful teacher. On September 11th, 1814, he was a student at Burlington college, for on that day he saw, with a spy-glass, the fight between McDonough and the British fleet on Lake Champlain. For some reason he did not graduate at this
572 - BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORY
college, but at Dartmouth in the following year. Perhaps the following circumstance, which is taken from the relation of Stevens himself, may have had something to do with the change.
The campus at Burlington college was not enclosed, and the cows of the citizens used to enjoy it as a pleasant pasture ground. Before commencement, it was usual to give the people notice to keep their cows away till after commencement was over. The grounds were then cleared up, and everything kept in complete order till the exercises were ended and the students gone to their homes. It happened that among the citizens of Burlington was a man, "a stubborn fellow, whom," as Stevens said, " we shall call Jones." He would take no steps to keep his cows off the campus. One night, about a week before the day of commencement, Stevens and a friend were walking under the trees in front of the college, when they saw one of Jones' cows within the prohibited lines. They knew the cow belonged to Jones ; they knew Jones let her go there in a spirit of defiance to the students. After some discussion, it was agreed to kill the cow.
Among the students was a young man who kept himself aloof from most of the others. In a word, he had the reputation of being decidedly pious. This young man had a room in an out-house belonging to the college, where in spare moment he manufactured many things out of wood, which he sold t the people of the town and to others. Among other tools he was known to have an axe, and Stevens and his companion determined to use it in the execution of the cow. The axe was procured, the cow was slain, the axe returned, and the two avengers of the college dignity retired to rest. The next morning Jones was with the president making complaint about the death of his cow. An investigation was at once begun ; blood was found on the axe of the pious, well- behaved student; he denied the charge, but as there was no evidence against any other person, he was threatened with a public reprimand and expulsion on the day on which he had expected to graduate with high honors. No doubt the young man suffered much, but Stevens and his associate suffered
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much more. They dare not inform against themselves, yet they could not see an innocent person punished for their misconduct. What was to be done ? After many conferences, without any result, Stevens suggested that Jones was not a bad man, but rather a high-spirited fellow, who would help them out of the scrape if they would throw themselves upon his mercy. This they resolved to do. It was, the night before commencement day, when they had their interview with Jones. They made a clean breast of it, and offered to pay twice the value of the cow whenever they should be able to do so. Jones listened kindly ; told them not to distress themselves about the price of the cow, and said he would fix it all next, morning. True to his word, about 9 o'clock Jones appeared just before the proceedings were to begin ; told the professors that he was all wrong about the death of his cow, and that she had been killed by soldiers who were going down the river on a boat, and had no time to dress and remove the meat. This made all things right ; the pious young man was not expelled, but honorably acquitted of the charge. Stevens and his friend were never suspected. Some years afterwards, when Stevens was rising in the world, Mr. Jones received a draft for the price of the best sort of cow in the market, accompanied by a fine gold watch and chain by way of interest. A year or two afterwards there came to Gettysburg, directed to Mr. Stevens, a hogshead of the best Vermont cider, and this was the end of the killing of Jones' cow.
It cannot now be ascertained with certainty what profession Mr. Stevens originally intended to adopt. In arguing predestination with one who is an. Arminian, he evinced such an intimate acquaintance with the theological writers of the Calvinistic school, that the friend said : " Stevens, did you ever study with a view to the pulpit ?" The answer was : " Umph! I have read the books." This is all that is known about it.
Mr. Stevens made his appearance in Pennsylvania, at York, about the end of 1815, where he obtained a situation as teacher in an academy, of which Dr. Perkins was the principal. Amos Gilbert, a very celebrated teacher, then residing
574 - BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORY
at York, said that Stevens was at that time one of the most backward, retiring, modest young men he had ever seen, and that he was a remarkably hard student. This is the only fact as to the period of his stay at York the writer has been able to ascertain. Soon after leaving the academy he made application for admission to the bar at Gettysburg, but owing to the fact that he had not read law under the instruction of a gentleman learned in the law, for two years, as required by the rule of court, he was rejected. At that time Maryland admitted all applicants to the bar who, on examination, were found to be qualified. Mr. Stevens went to Bel Air, where the court was in session, and made application to be examined. The court, Judge Chase, of impeachment fame, appointed a committee, of which the chairman was General Winder. Stevens' description of the examination is well worth preserving:
Supper was over, the table was cleared off, and the clock said it was half past seven. Stevens was, of course, punctual to time, and shortly after, the judge and the committee took their seats. " Are you the young man who is to be examined ?" said the judge. Stevens replied that he was. " Mr. Stevens," said the judge, " there is one indispensable pre-requisite before the examination can proceed. There must be two bottles of Madeira on the table, and the applicant must order it in." The order was given, the wine brought forward, and its quality thoroughly tested. Gen. Winder began with : " Mr. Stevens, what books have you read ?" Stevens replied, " Blackstone, Coke upon Littleton, a Work on pleading, and Gilbert on evidence." This was followed by two or three other questions by other members of the committee, the last of which required the distinction between a contingent remainder and an executory devise, which was satisfactorily answered. By this time the judge was feeling a little dry again, and broke in saying: "Gentlemen, you see the young man is all right, I'll give him a certificate." This was soon made out and signed, but before it was handed over, two more bottles had to be produced. These were partaken of by a large number of squires, &c., who were there attending court, who, as soon as the examination was
OF LANCASTER COUNTY - 575
concluded, came in and were introduced to the newly-made member of the bar. " Fip-loo " was played then for a good part of the night. Stevens was then a green hand at the business. To use his own words, when he paid his bill the next morning, he had but $3.50 left out of the $45 he began with the night before.
He left early, rode fast, and while crossing McCall's ferry bridge, not then finished, he had a very narrow escape from death. His horse took fright, and would have fallen into the river with his rider, had it not been for the presence of mind of one of the men working on the bridge. He dined that day in Lancaster, at Slough's hotel, and while his horse was resting, walked from one end of King street to the other. He did not feel pleased with the town, and while thus engaged came to the conclusion he would go back to Gettysburg. That night he staid at York, and the next day began his legal career, with but few friends and very little money:
It was a considerable time before he obtained any business of importance, and he became quite discouraged. At a dance at Littlestown, he told a friend he could hold out no longer, that he would have to seek another location. A day or two after, a horrible murder was committed, and none of the prominent lawyers seemed willing to undertake the der fence. Stevens was retained, and exerted himself to the utmost in behalf of his client, but without success. The man was convicted and executed. Many years after, Mr. Stevens said that he had been counsel for the defence in more than fifty murder cases, in all of which but one he had been successful, adding, that every one of them deserved hanging except the one that was hanged, who was certainly insane. This case brought Mr. Stevens a fee of $1500, and this was the beginning of his fortune.
Mr. Stevens rose at once to celebrity as a lawyer. He was up to 1831 engaged in nearly all the great cases tried in Adams, York, Franklin and Cumberland counties. During this period a large number of colored people, illegally held by persons claiming their services as slaves, were liberated by his exertions. When the law could not avail, he used to buy and set them free. At one time when coming from the
576 - BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORY
Hagerstown races, he stopped at a tavern, the landlord of which had been "cleaned out," and had no resource but to sell one of his boys. There was already a trader haggling about the price when Stevens arrived. The owner wanted $500, the trader offered four hundred. While this was going on, Stevens was so strongly impressed with the boy's resemblance to the landlord, that he called him aside and asked why he was going to sell the boy to a trader. The landlord said he did not like to do it, but he had been so very unfortunate at the races, that he must make a raise some way or other. Stevens, finding that the owner would rather not sell the boy, proposed to buy him for his own use. After talking it over, Stevens saying he would set the boy free at twenty-one years, a bargain was made for $350. When the bill of sale was being made out, Stevens asked what name he should give the boy ? Observing the landlord looking confused, and red in the face, Stevens said, " Oh, I'll put your name in; these fellows always goes by the name of their owners." " I saw," Stevens remarked, " he was the landlord's own son, or I never should have bought him for $350." Stevens kept him about four years and then gave him a fair start to make his own living.
Until 1829 when the Anti-Masonic excitement swept over Pennsylvania, Mr. Stevens took but little part in politics. It no where appears that in the elections from 1817 to that period, he was in any degree prominent. The reason for this seems to have been, that being a Federalist, and the party going downward, he could not find a cause in which to exert his energies. He once told the writer, that the last intercourse he bad with Buchanan, was at York, in 1827. They had both been engaged on the same side in the trial of a cause, and when the jury were out they walked down a lane some distance from the town and took a seat on the top-rail of the fence. Buchanan began the discourse by saying to Stevens, that now was the time for a man of ability to enter into politics, and suggested that Stevens would do well to come into the support of Jackson. Stevens answered by saying, that he saw the advantages of such a course, but for his part he was ashamed to forsake his old opin-
OF LANCASTER COUNTY - 577
ions, which he believed to be right, for the sake of joining a party in which he had no faith. This was the last time they met for many years. In 1867 they met at the wedding of Dr. Henry Carpenter, the friend of both. Stevens approached Buchanan holding out his hand. Buchanan turned aside as though he did not see the offer, and entered into conversation with some one he met as he turned. During all these years they had never met. A year afterwards both were in their graves.
In 1831 Mr. Stevens began his political career as a member of the Assembly from Adams county. The session was nearly over before he said anything which excited marked attention. He then made a speech reviewing the course of the Jackson party and its leaders, which at once placed him in the front rank of the ablest men of the State. This revelation of ability, with his strict adherence to his proclaimed principles, drew upon him the enmity of his opponents, and for many years he was the target at which their most venomous shafts were directed. The members of the Masonic order regarded him as little less than a devil incarnate. Democrats, not belonging to the order, were equally bitter against him. The deformity of his foot was seized upon to spread the idea of his connection with the prince of the fallen angels. Those who read the Democratic journals of that time, will see that no man was ever so foully abused. He was charged with all manner of evil, and men who said a word in his favor were regarded as little less devilish than himself. Such was his reputation up to 1835, when an attempt was made to repeal the school law, passed at the previous session by a nearly unanimous vote. The fact that it seemed to impose a new tax was seized upon by both parties, and each fearing the other might gain advantage by being foremost in its denunciation, made all possible haste to declaim against it. When the bill was called up in the House, it seemed as though no one would say a word in favor of the then existing law. Speech after speech was delivered in favor of the repeal, and the question was on the point of being put, when Mr. Stevens rose to speak. He was terribly earnest. All his powers were roused to the utmost. Those
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who heard him, say he spoke like a prophet inspired by the truth and magnitude of his theme. In ten minutes it seemed as though all opposition to the schools, was utterly vanquished. When the vote was taken the bill was defeated by a large majority. This speech placed the school system of Pennsylvania upon an impregnable basis. No man was ever afterwards heard to speak of its repeal. Ever since, it has been steadily growing in popular favor—indeed, at this time, but few recollect or know that it was ever bitterly opposed. Successive acts of the Legislature have brought it to the perfection it has now attained, and at this day it ranks in its sphere with the very best educational systems of the world.
But in 1835 there was no such thing as reporting speeches by phonography. There was not even a stenographer to be found in either house of the Pennsylvania Legislature. Some hours after its delivery it was attempted to report it from memory, but the written speech conveys nothing of the force and power of the words as they fell from the lips of the speaker. From that day forth Mr. Stevens was regarded by all intelligent people as a great man. Some hated him still, but no one was foolish enough to deny his ability.
During this same session, the committee to investigate Free Masonry, of which Mr. Stevens was the chairman and originator, made its report. At this day it would be quite a curiosity, but it had the effect to keep up the excitement for a year or two longer. At the election in 1835, in consequence of the split in the Democratic party, Joseph Ritner was elected Governor by a plurality of votes; the united vote of Wolf and Muhlenberg exceeding the number polled for Ritner by about twelve thousand. In 1836 General Harrison was nominated as the candidate for President in opposition to Martin Van Buren. During nearly the whole of this campaign, Mr. Stevens was unfavorably disposed towards the anti-Democratic nomination, and it was only after the State election had revealed how necessary it was for the salvation of his own party that Mr. Stevens yielded to the nomination a cordial support. Harrison's unexpected popularity, as developed in the election returns, made it apparent that by a union of all opposed .to the Democracy, Pennsyl-
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vania might be carried by the opposition ; and during the session of the Reformed Convention in 1837, this union, so far as the leaders of the various factions were concerned, was almost fully accomplished. In that convention, Stevens, for the first time in his life, came in contact with the most brilliant speakers and the most profound thinkers in the State, proving himself rather more than a match for the best of them. John Sergeant, Joseph Hopkinson, Joseph R. Chandler, Charles Chauncey, Thomas Earle, C. J. Ingersoll, James M. Porter, Walter Forward, John Morin Scott, and George W. Woodward, were the men who were always seeking for a weak spot in his armor, but could never find it. Those who were rash enough to make a direct attack upon him, always came out of the encounter damaged or completely overthrown. Those who now would like to take the intellectual measure of the man in his best days, should carefully study the debates of that convention, for the best talent of Pennsylvania was to be found on the roll of its members. Whether the changes made by this body in the fundamental law of the State, were improvements or otherwise is not yet fully settled. Further steps in the same direction must yet be taken to make us certain of its wisdom or its folly. Let the final verdict be what it may, it will never be known from the, names of its makers appended thereto, that Mr. Stevens was its leading mind. The constitution, as amended, confined the right of suffrage to white males only. Mr. Stevens denounced this as a violation of natural right, as an act of the meanest sort of tyranny, perpetrated by cowards and fools, for the purpose of proving how low they could bend the knee to the " dark spirit of slavery." His name is not attached to the instrument. The record of the infamy of all its other members stands as objects of mingled detestation and pity to future generations. Thirty-four years have passed away since this act of tyranny was perpetrated. Stevens lived to see many of those whose signatures sanctioned the foul act, repent sincerely of their error. In the late copies of our Digest, the names are not attached to the constitution. No one of those who voted for the word white, now cares to be remembered as a member of the convention.
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Such is the change time has wrought in the public mind. Soon after the adjournment of the Legislature in 1838, Mr. Stevens was appointed canal commissioner. This was done because it was believed he could so manage the public works as to make them a powerful engine in the reelection of Governor Ritner. Never, perhaps, was there a more bitter electioneering campaign in Pennsylvania. No stone was left unturned on either side to ensure success. The newspapers of the day were full of libels, and a stranger, believing either side, would have thought the opposing candidates the greatest scoundrels that ever existed. Money was also used without stint. For nearly the whole summer ten thousand dollars were posted weekly by each side. A few days before the election, an officer connected with the collector's office at Philadelphia, came to Harrisburg and offered to bet a quarter of a million that Porter would be elected. The pockets of Ritner's friends by this time were empty. Stevens had spent, or bet at least one hundred thousand dollars, and was about at the end of his pile. The knowledge that Ritner's supporters were at the end of their financial scope, did more to defeat him than all other causes put together. The election came, and frauds of all kinds were resorted to by both parties. At this game the Democrats, from long practice, were far superior to their opponents. It soon became clear that Ritner had been defeated, but the Legislature was still in doubt. Both sides claimed that in Philadelphia all their members were elected. The return judges of that city and county split into two bodies, and each made their own return. The returns made by Ritner's friends came to Harrisburg, and were deposited in the secretary's office, in the manner prescribed by the law. The other set of returns were brought to the office by private hands, and the Secretary of State, Thomas H. Burrowes, refused to receive them. A day or two after this Burrowes published a short address, in which he counseled the defeated party to "treat the election as though it had not taken place, and in that attitude abide the result." What he really intended to say was, that Ritner's friends should not give up theie bets, but his opponents interpreted it as a threat of revolution. This raised the blood
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of partisans on either side to fever heat. When the Legislature met, an immense crowd of bullies and roughs from almost every part of the State, filled the capital. The clerk read the returns as presented by both sides; both sides elected a Speaker, and both adjourned their respective, followers, or as they were then called, Houses. In the morning it was feared there would be a terrible fight, but as an adjournment had been effected without violence, it was supposed that all things would go on peaceably. During the whole morning a rowdy from Philadelphia stood behind the seat of Mr. Stevens, with a dagger in his coat bosom, who swore that if the friends of Ritner attempted to eject the Democrats by force, he would kill Stevens. This desperado was watched closely by another of the same stamp, who, with a butcher knife, would have stabbed the first had he moved a step further towards his intended victim. It was a perilous time. Had the slightest assault been committed upon any one, no matter from what cause it originated, it would have produced a terrible scene of bloodshed. The crowd had come with a fight in view. No one cared to take the responsibility of striking the first blow. Its dispersion lifted a heavy burden from the hearts Of all who desired peace.
The Senate met at three o'clock, and contrary to expectation the lobby was crowded to suffocation. It so happened that both parties had Senators to be sworn in, whose claims to seats were founded on returns known to be erroneous, but right upon their face. In this class was Senator Bell, from the Chester and Montgomery district. As he was entitled to his seat, in the first instance, there was no objection made. He was a Democrat ; but when Hanna, a Whig, in similar circumstances, was about to be sworn in, a scene of the utmost confusion prevailed. The crowd broke over the lobbies, some of them got upon chairs and began to speak. Charles Brown, one of the Democratic contestants, was particularly vociferous, and so was Washington Barton. During all this time the Speaker, Penrose, kept his seat and tried to maintain order, but his efforts were in a great measure fruitless. It was now nearly seven o'clock. Stevens, who was in the hall, now attempted to leave, but could not make his
582 - BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORY
way through the crowd. He went back to the fire-place, and while standing there was told by a friend, it was intended to kill him if he went out at the door. It was then suggested that he and Burrowes should leave by the window of the room, near the fire. This was done not to avoid danger, for he did not believe the story, but because there was no other means of egress. While going out of the window, the door of the room opening at the end of the lobby stood open, and they were seen by some of the crowd. Three persons, one of them with a large bowie-knife in his hand, ran out through the crowd, swearing he would kill the scoundrel yet. Had these villains not mistaken the direction of the window, there is very little doubt that both Stevens and Burrowes would have been murdered. For some days all was confusion, but on Sunday a considerable number of uniformed volunteers arrived from Philadelphia and restored order. For nearly three weeks the Stevens House met in a room at Wilson's, now the Lochiel House. This could not last ; and the Senate agreed to recognize the Hopkins' House. For nearly the whole session Stevens absented himself from his seat. When the session was more than half over, the Democrats passed a resolution of expulsion, which was followed by an election, at which Mr. Stevens was reelected by a large majority. He took his seat a few days before the end of the session, and remained there till its close.
In the great campaign of 1840, Mr. Stevens took a decided stand in favor of " the. Hero of the Thames." For months before the inauguration of Harrison, it was understood throughout Pennsylvania, that Mr. Stevens. was to have a seat in the cabinet. 'That Harrison had selected him for postmaster general, is known with certainty, but through the open opposition of Clay, and the wavering of Webster, the appointment was given to Mr. Granger. Stevens never forgave Webster for the part he took in this transaction ; nor did he go into the support of Clay in 1844 till, through Harmer Denny, Clay made known to Stevens that, should he be elected, atonement would be made for past wrong. Had the urgent entreaties of Stevens and his friends in relation to General Markle, the candidate for Governor, been acted on,
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Henry Clay would have been President of the United States. That Markle was known to be the fast friend of Stevens, lost him votes enough to ensure his defeat. This lost Pennsylvania to Clay, and that decided the contest.
Mr. Stevens closed his service in the Legislature of Pennsylvania with the session of 1841. His long continued. attention to politics, and the large sums he expended, had materially impaired his fortune. In the summer of 1842 he came to the conclusion that Gettysburg did not afford an adequate field for his powers, and this induced his removal to Lancaster, in August, 1842. In the fall of 1843 he tried to reorganize the anti-Masonic party, but the effort was a failure. His course in 1844 has been already noticed, and from that time till 1848 he was quiescent in politics, though he was always keenly alive to what was going on in the country. During this period his practice was very remunerative, and from this and the sale of his Adams county farms, he brought down his debts to within what he considered a manageable limit. In 1843 he was in danger of being sold out by the sheriff. In 1844 he paid interest on debts amounting to $217,000. In 1849, when he first went to Congress, he had reduced his debts to $30,000. On March 4th, 1853, when his first service in Congress ended, his debts amounted to about $60,000. What he was worth at his death, is difficult to say. It may have been $100,000, perhaps less than half of that amount.
When the free-soil movement began, he was favorable to its principles, though he supported Taylor with all his might for the presidency. In 1848, after a sharp contest with the opposing candidates for the nomination, he was named for Congress by the supporters of Taylor, and elected by a large Majority. During the four years that he served at this time, he was recognized as one of the leading men in Congress, and enjoyed to a large extent the confidence of Gen. Taylor, who, though a slaveholder himself, was, without declaring it openly, opposed to the further extension of that evil ; and it is very certain that it was through his adroit management California came into the Union as a free State. After the death of Taylor, Fillmore, in hope of a reelection, and Webster, with the design of taking the wind out of Fillmore's
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sails, went down on their knees to the slave power, and gave it all it wanted, in the shape of the fugitive slave law. This law and all kindred measures Mr. Stevens opposed to the extent of his power.
In 1851, for the first time in many years, a fugitive slave resisted, with arms, the claim of his owner. About two miles from Christiana, Lancaster county, a number of fugitive slaves were hiding at the house of a colored man, named Parker. An elderly man, named Gorsuch, of Maryland, assisted by his son, and a deputy marshal from Philadelphia, named Kline, came to the house of Parker, about an hour before daylight. Gorsuch, the younger, with Kline, summoned the persons inside to surrender. To this it was replied, they would defend themselves, and at the same time the click of fire-arms was heard. Kline ran and hid behind a tree. Young Gorsuch went to his father and reported that an attack would be dangerous. The old man said it would never do to back out so, and started towards the house, his son following. Gorsuch hailed the house again, and on receiving a defiant answer, fired a pistol, the ball taking effect in the leg of one of t he blacks in the house. This shot was returned by a volley, killing the elder Gorsuch. The firing alarmed the neighborhood. Castner Hanway and Elijah Lewis were the first to reach the place. These were white men and abolitionists. Their influence prevented further firing, and they assisted the younger Gorsuch to remove the dead body of his father to Christiana, the nearest railroad station to the scene of the fight. This occurrence raised the pro-slavery spirit to a flame, while all their toadies, far and near, seized upon it as a chance to show their devotion, not to be neglected. For a week no colored man could pass along the railroad without being arrested. Hanway and Lewis were taken to Philadelphia and tried for treason. In this trial Mr. Stevens, and John M. Read, now one of the judges of the supreme court, were the counsel for the prisoners. Judge Read's exhaustive argument on the law of treason, knocked the breath out of the prosecution, and Mr. Stevens was. content with but a few words. The prisoners were acquitted, and from that day the fugitive
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slave law was a dead letter in Pennsylvania. The great merit of Mr. Stevens in this transaction, was in the bold, firm stand he took at the beginning. His defiant attitude kept up the courage of those who would otherwise have desponded. His share in the trial was not very conspicuous, but there were good reasons for the course he pursued. The great object was attained, and that was all he desired.
From 1853 till 1858 Mr. Stevens steadily pursued the practice of his profession, though at the same time taking part in the initiatory movements which resulted in the formation of the Republican party, he being one of the delegates from this district to the convention which nominated Fremont. In 1858 the necessities of the country required his presence in Congress, and, after a warm contest, he was elected by a large majority. He had scarcely taken his seat in that body, in December, 1859, when the first symptoms of the rebellion began to be developed. The south was preparing for an appeal to arms, while the north could not by any means be induced to believe there was any danger of a fight. During the whole summer of 1860, slaveholders were declaring that if a black Republican should be elected the south would secede, and Mr. Stevens was one of the very few men in the country who believed the southern leaders really intended to keep their word. Lincoln was elected, and even then, when the navy was on the other side of the globe ; when the army was stationed in the very places most favorable for the designs of the traitors ; and when nearly all our muskets and guns were stored in the arsenals of the south, scarcely any one believed that war was impending. In those critical thirty-seven days, from the inauguration of Lincoln till the attack on Sumter, Mr. Stevens continually urged upon those who had the power, to at least make some preparation for defence, but with scarcely any result. It was only after the first great act of the bloody drama had been closed, that people began to have some faint idea of the national danger. Even Mr. Lincoln and Secretary Seward thought that 75,000 men could make all things right in ninety days. Mr. Stevens saw the full extent of the danger, and always said that a million of men should be called out
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till the war was ended. After Bull Run had verified the correctness of his views, he was heard with attention; and though from his age and deformity it was impossible that he could be a combatant, no man in the country, in the field or out of it, exercised a greater influence or personally did more to place our immense armies in the field. Through all these bloody years, as chairman of the committee of ways and means, he was most emphatically the right man in the right place. Had he been younger and not deformed, his natural courage would have sent him to the battle-field at the firing of the first gun. Men, firm believers in the doctrine of special providence aver, that his lameness was a necessity ordained to keep him where he was. Without entering into any discussion on this point, it is enough to say, there were so many illustrations of the doctrine during the war, that to a thinking mind it is somewhat difficult altogether to deny the proposition.
The war ended, but the troubles it brought in its train stood out in such bold relief; that people only then began to have something like a correct idea of their magnitude. The south, though beaten and vanquished, was far from being in a temper to accept the situation as the fortune of a war brought on by themselves against their brethren. There was a debt of nearly if not more than three thousand millions, taxing the people and their posterity for many years to come. Besides this, there were four millions of emancipated slaves to be cared for, to be instructed and protected from the aggression of those who had formerly been their masters. Of the measures adopted to reconstruct the south, Mr. Stevens was the author. The whole general plan, though possibly not original with himself, was by adoption peculiarly his own; and though some modifications may have been made in Congress, yet the principal features of his measures were retained and were the means employed to govern the people of the section lately in rebellion until its several portions were again admitted as component parts of the Union, as States, members of the great family of communities forming the indivisible Republic.
During the whole period, from the beginning of the war
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to the end of his life, Mr. Stevens was scarcely a day absent from his seat, and for the most of that time his labors were truly herculean. During the war, in times of peculiar adversity, when every body else seemed to lose heart, his indomitable energy, and his full assurance of final success, inspired with new life the hearts that were ready to give up the combat. After the disastrous battles of Fredericksburg and Chickamauga, he seemed more than ever determined to fight on, no matter how gloomy the prospect before the country. A single instance will show how contemptuously he treated those who even thought of the possibility .of some sort of reconciliation with the rebels. A very distinguished journalist, a man then heart and soul devoted to the Republican cause, but at times rather doubtful of our ability to win, came to Washington, most likely at the invitation of President Lincoln, to talk over the matter as to the possibility of making a peace on some reasonable terms. At what conclusion he and the President arrived, can only be inferred from subsequent events; but it is certain that after leaving the White House, he called on Mr. Stevens. Here he unfolded his budget of statistics, &c.; spoke of how large the debt was already ; how great it would become in a short time with gold at $2.80 ; how many lives had already been lost, and how many more would be sacrificed; that we never could succeed, and more of the same sort, ending : that "peace must be made in some way." Stevens heard it all patiently; was silent for a moment and then rising, said: " Mr. _____, every man in these United States has a constitutional right to make a d—d fool of himself." His visitor bundled up his papers and left at double quick.
Men will wear out, and Mr. Stevens was no exception to the general rule. When he left Lancaster for Washington, about the end of November, 1866, he was so feeble as to be unable to sit up in the car, and a bed was made for him on the floor. Those who knew his condition had great fear
whether he could survive the journey. After his arrival at Washington he rallied, and during most of the session he remained comparatively well. At the adjournment he came home, and remained there till November, 1867, when he took
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his last journey to the capital. He then seemed much better than he had been for some time, and appeared very hopeful in regard to his health. Shortly after the opening of the session he made the only great mistake of his congressional career. By some strange perversion of reasoning, which took all his friends by surprise, he adopted the Pendleton idea of paying the national debt with greenbacks, and on one or two occasions argued strongly in its favor. That it was honestly entertained no one who knew him could doubt; but for a clear-headed, honest man to advocate practical repudiation, was something which most people could not well comprehend. But discussion was soon over. On the 25th of February, 1868, Mr. Stevens, with Mr. Bingham, appeared in the Senate and presented articles of impeachment against Andrew Johnson. The trial, of which Mr. Stevens was one of the managers on the part of the House, ended on the 26th of May. During all this time Mr. Stevens, so feeble as to be carried daily to the capitol in a chair, was always present attending to his duty. Nor, when the impeachment trial was over, did he fail to attend, but continued to appear almost daily to the end of the session, which closed on the 17th of July. Mr. Stevens was at this time too weak to attempt the journey to Lancaster. Every day he became more and more feeble, till at last, on the 11th of August, 1868, he ceased from his labors.
De mortuis nil nisi verum.
The character of Thaddeus Stevens was made up of contradictory elements. Nature designed him for one of the great men of the race, and so far as time and circumstances gave his powers opportunity to act, he fulfilled her intention. One of the most remarkable endowments, was that never-failing spirit of generous kindness, which made it his pleasure to do good to and confer benefits on all who came within his reach. His inherent liberality grew by continual practice, till it became almost one of the necessities of his being. No man, woman or child ever approached Thaddeus Stevens, worthy or unworthy, and asked for help, who did not obtain it when he was possessed of the means. His money was given freely and without stint, when he had it. And with this unbounded
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liberality was associated a strong feeling of pride, which but few of his most intimate friends ever suspected to exist. He never would confess to a want of money, no matter how straightened his circumstances. When in this condition, if contributions were solicited, he invariably either found some objection to the object, or to the person in whose behalf the request was made. The reason he gave to a most intimate friend for this kind of conduct, that if he told the truth he would not be believed, was plausible, but it was not the fact. The true reason was, that he preferred to have the reputation of harshness and cruelty, rather than be suspected of even occasional poverty. Beggars of all grades, high or low, are very quick in finding out the weak points of those on whom they intend to operate ; and Mr. Stevens was always, but more particularly when he was a candidate, most unmercifully fleeced. This trait was the cause of injury to the politics of this. county. Before he was nominated for Congress, no one here thought of spending large sums of money in order to get votes. Now, no man, whatever his qualifications, can be nominated for any office unless he answers all demands made upon him, and forks over a greater amount than any one else will for the same office. It is a most deplorable state of things, but the fact is not to be denied.
We have ascribed this profusion of liberality to an innate kindness of heart and a natural desire to do good to all with whom he came in contact. This is undoubtedly true; but Mr. Stevens was far too observant, far too good a judge of men's motives, not to know that he was almost invariably imposed upon. This knowledge led him to believe that nearly all men were corrupt and unfit to be trusted. As he grew old this feeling became stronger, and he came to regard the great bulk of mankind as mercenary creatures, only fit to, be the tools of those who were strong enough, rich enough and skillful enough to use them for their own advantage. A man without some degree of selfishness in his nature, would be a poor creature. We all would like to win riches and honors. Honest men, as the world estimates honesty, struggling towards the prize they desire to obtain, feel bound to qualify themselves in all respects for the positions they
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seek, and at the same time they may be selfish enough to have no scruple as to the means they may use to push aside others having the same object in view. An honest man, qualified for any position in the Republic, and having the same estimate of mankind as Mr. Stevens, could not fail, in all things regarding his political aspiration, to be supremely selfish. It was not that low, mean selfishness which often accompanies small, feeble natures, but it was, within its sphere, the same kind of selfishness which induced a Napoleon or a Bismarck to sacrifice a million of lives to secure a favorite political object. Viewed in this light he was the very incarnation of selfishness. During the last twenty years of his life, there was no man living whose welfare, socially, financially and politically he would not have sacrificed, to obtain the end he had in view. Towards those who stood more immediately in his way, he sometimes expressed a degree of bitterness which minds less strong and vigorous than his own could but faintly appreciate. Nor was this state of mind incompatible with the kindlier feelings of his nature. To those of his friends who were sincerely engaged in helping him onward and upward, and who were not aiming at the same mark as himself, he was the best friend imaginable. No trouble or effort on his part was too great, provided it would serve them. And in numerous instances it was not always only on behalf of his friends his kind offices were exerted. Men who had treated him ill, who had slandered and defamed him, would often, upon submission, find in him a friend when they could find one nowhere else. Such men he looked upon as hungry dogs to whom bones ought to be given, whether deserved or not. He forgot their enmity, because he regarded them as below his resentment, and would not take the trouble to give them a kick when he had them in his power. This was only another phase of the natural kindness which, in spite of all the promptings of his judgment, often controlled his acts.
When the moral or mental constitution of any man displays unusual force, it is natural to expect that all his peculiarities should display a corresponding degree of strength. Growing out of the characteristics already mentioned, as their
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legitimate fruit, was a weakness which made him, in pecuniary matters, the victim of those whom he well knew were not worthy of his slightest favor. Of all men he was the most accessible to flattery. Any scamp with a smooth tongue, could soft-soap him all over, and the operation was most grateful to his feelings. And yet, though it pleased him to the core, he despised the men who laid upon his altar the incense of their praise. It may be that like most of men, he had some faith in the truth of what was told him in this way, but at the same time he knew the motives which induced the offering. He had not the power to deny the request which almost invariably accompanied the praise. At such times he was almost unvariably angry at himself because he could not successfully resist the demand. It is true this process could never induce him to do an act wrong in itself, or injurious to the public interest, yet when his own funds were concerned, he could never muster up the courage to avoid the trap into which he would go with his eyes open. There is no doubt this failing, of which he was fully conscious, often gave him deep vexation ; but he was not a man given to brooding over mistakes, or to waste time in regrets for any thing he ever did.
Another quality most strongly developed, was his unconquerable perseverance and determination to accomplish anything which he undertook. No matter how often defeated, he was always ready to " try, try again ;" and this he would do when, to all appearance, he had not the slightest chance of success. One great object of his ambition was to be a Senator of the United States; and had he conceived the idea ten years sooner, there is little doubt he would have reached his aim. In this, perhaps, it was better for his fame he did not succeed. In no other position than the one occupied for the last ten years of his life, could he have done so much for the increase of his reputation, or the benefit of the cause in which he was engaged. That he never obtained his desire, was another verification of the undoubted truth " Man proposes;" God rules.
The great results which flowed from this indomitable
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firmness of purpose have never been attributed to their true source. From the beginning of the great conflict between the contending sections of the nation, till a very short period before its close, there were multitudes of people who were willing to make peace with the rebels upon their own terms. Even among distinguished men of the Republican party there were never wanting persons of weak backbones, who would at any time have been only too glad to have a chance to enter into some sort of compromise. Against all such his tremendous powers of invective and sarcasm were continually directed, not so much in speeches as in his general conversation. Whenever and wherever he detected the first symptom of backing down, the man who exhibited the weakness was soon made to feel uncomfortable while to those who were but seldom troubled with such fits of despondency, he imparted a share of that perfect confidence in the ultimate triumph of the national arms, which was one of the most effective reasons of their final success.
Men of this description are not usually noted for their kindness and humanity, but with Mr. Stevens the bark was generally worse than the bite. To hear him speak of military men of all grades, who had during the war been derelict in duty, it might have been inferred he was extremely sanguinary, but such was not the case. During the war his good offices were often required to save men sentenced to be shot, and he never refused to invoke with success the kind feelings of President Lincoln, who was only too happy to have some person to intercede for the miserable delinquent. It is true, that in a speech in Congress, Stevens justified Juarez for shooting Maximilian, but it is very certain that had he been ruler of Mexico the fallen emperor would have been sent home safe and sound. There is no doubt that had Mr. Stevens been invested with the power of life and death, there would have been but few criminals executed. A woman's tearful face, or the wail of a child, was beyond his power to resist. This, in a ruler, might have been a great weakness, but in Mr. Stevens' position it was, doubtless, one of the most amiable traits in his character. Nothing ever pleased him better than to tell of his success with the Presi-
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dent, on occasions like those above referred to. He never took the credit of success to himself, but always ascribed it to the goodness of Old Abe. Let us illustrate what has been said by introducing one of these stories: "A young fellow, from this county was to be shot for desertion. It was rather a hard case, and his mother, in great distress, called on me to help save him. I took her at once to the White House and introduced her to the President. On the road I told her to tell her story in her own way, which she did in such a manner as none but a mother could tell it. I said nothing. I saw by the President's eye it was all right. There was no use in my saying a word. While she was talking the President began to write. It was but a couple of lines, but it was effectual. Fearing a scene, I took her into the ante-room, telling her as we went along her son was safe. As soon as she fully understood it she broke out : Oh ! this is the man our newspapers said was a brute and a devil. Why, he is the loveliest man I ever saw in my life ! He is an angel ! He does the work of the Almighty, and stands in his place on earth ! I could worship him for his goodness—my poor Ben. is safe.' " No Democrat could be found in that family afterwards. " There was a great deal of desertion about that time. Some hard-hearted devils thought all should have been shot, but then I had nothing to do with that. It was Lincoln's business, and he did all those things as he believed to be right. He was a great man. In his place, perhaps, I would have done the same thing."
Of Mr. Stevens' religious views it is difficult to speak. His mind was so constituted that he was very incredulous as to anything in conflict with his own reason. But he was not altogether devoid of faith, for he was a fatalist in the strongest sense of the term. In this belief he was as firmly rooted as any follower of Mahomet could be. Those who knew him best find it exceedingly hard to believe that he ever gave an intelligent consent to be baptized in the Catholic faith. Still Mr. Stevens was not an immoral man. He was no scoffer, he .was never profane, was strictly temperate, and in all things rigidly truthful. To say he had no vices, would be to exalt him far above the great mass of mankind.
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In one respect, a man of his ardent temperament could scarcely fail to err—that he was the cold-blooded destroyer of female innocence, the heartless libertine, the hoary debauchee which his enemies in times of great political excitement represented him to be, is a most malicious lie. That he could, in any fair sense, be called a gambler, rests on no better foundation.
The intellectual powers of Mr. Stevens were of a very high order. His perceptions were quick, his reasoning powers strong and accurate, and his memory almost unrivaled. This last he always said was not a natural but an acquired faculty. This perhaps was partly true, though the foundation on which to build the superstructure must have been the result of his fine mental organization. He could remember all the evidence in the longest trial, and repeat all the important parts with surprising accuracy. At some period of his life he must have been a very hard student, for his knowledge seemed almost without limit. In reasoning upon a given proposition he scarcely seemed to think, his deductions coming as though by intuition. His illustrations were very seldom beautiful, but always apposite. They hit the nail square on the head, and made further blows needless. He could be exceedingly sarcastic, but he seldom employed this weapon without just provocation. He was too kindly disposed to use it in a manner not fairly legitimate. The same limitation could scarcely be extended to his wit, for that flowed out of itself, and had generally so much of good natured mirth in It, that the person against whom it was leveled could scarcely take offence. When the occasion required it, he was sometimes highly eloquent, but as a general thing it could not be counted as one of his characteristics. He was not a man of taste. Had no fondness for, and but little perception of; beauty in painting or architecture. There was but little of the imaginative about him. His mind was strongly practical, looking far more to the substance than to the outward adorning of things. For what is usually called "fine writing" he had a supreme contempt. Nothing worried him more than the " highfalutin" of the war correspondents, in their descriptions of battles.
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" Confound the scamp, was his exclamation after the battle of Anthidium, " why can't he tell us what they did, and leave us to think how it looked ourselves."
Another branch of this defect and of much greater importance, was his almost total want of creative power. He never originated anything, but he had the power, in wonderful perfection, of taking hold of other men's ideas, stripping them of every thing superfluous, leaving nothing but the useful and practical, and presenting them so clearly and forcibly to the world, that their importance was immediately recognized. So much was this the case, that every measure he ever brought forward in his legislative career, had its origin in the thought of some other man who, in nine cases out of ten, would be unable to claim its paternity in the new dress with which Stevens had invested it. It was from this power that most of his strength as a lawyer was derived. In citing authorities to sustain a legal position he would, in a few words, bring out the meaning of the judge who wrote it, much more clearly and far more forcibly than it had before presented itself to the mind of its author. This, together with the kindred faculty of seizing instantly upon the turning point of the case, without any regard to the quantity of legal rubbish accumulated around it, placed him in the very first rank of the greatest minds that ever appeared at the bar. This power of concentrating the force of his case in a few sentences, together with the perfect control which he had acquired over his temper, made him almost always successful. His tactics were to waste no strength upon the out works of his opponent's case, but to attack the citadel at once. To sum up the whole in few words, it may be truly said, that the clearness of his mental vision, his innate reverence of right and love of justice, his wonderful powers of memory, analysis and concentration, his truthfulness, his perseverance, his thorough detestation of everything like trickery and meanness, his perfect fairness in all his business transactions, and his generous kindness to all, made him a man towering so high above the millions around him, that no one who intelligently studies his character, can fail to appreciate the magnitude of his greatness.
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Thaddeus Stevens, in the prime of life, was a remarkably fine-looking man. None of his earlier pictures do him justice. Some of the oil pantings made towards the close of his life, are nothing but caricatures. The engraving, by Sartain, gives a very correct idea of his appearance when
about fifty-five years old. The photograph by Eberman, taken when Stevens was seventy-three, is perfect. He was about five feet eleven inches high ; clear, ruddy, smooth skin. His natural hair was chestnut, but he lost it from brain fever when about thirty-five years old, and afterwards always wore a wig. He had very fine teeth, was strongly built, but not corpulent ; his appearance when the features were at rest, was very dignified. When young, he was a great lover of athletic sports, and could make a full hand at anything where swiftness of foot was not required. He was a splendid horseman, an excellent swimmer, and very fond of the chase. When a young man, he would occasionally take a glass of wine, but for many years of his life he abstained wholly from alcoholic drinks. That he possessed great courage, physical, as well as moral, is well known to all his intimate friends. Naturally obstinate and combative, he had so trained his mind as to despise all displays of pugnacity. When assailed with foul language, by dirty blackguards, as he often was about election time, he seldom took any outward notice of it, though he felt all such attacks very keenly. If he ever did reply to anything of this sort, it was in a single sentence by which the assailant was completely overthrown. His repartee were always far more damaging than any blow could have been ; they were always put in such shape that the dullest man in a crowd could never fail to feel their force.
It has been already said, that he hated oppression and injustice in all its forms. This was the ruling passion, and exhibited itself in full force as he drew near his end. In the principal cemeteries of Lancaster it was stipulated, by charter, that no person of color should be interred within their limits. He had bought lots in both cemeteries, but when he received the deeds he sent them back, refusing to be buried in the grounds of either. Shreiner's cemetery,
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the smallest in the city, was free from this objection, and there he was laid to rest, within a few feet of the public schools, which his fearlessness and love for humanity established in Pennsylvania forever.
For the reason above stated, he ordered in his will the following should be inscribed upon his tomb :
" I repose in this quiet and secluded spot, not from any natural preference for solitude, but finding other cemeteries limited by charter rules as to race, I have chosen it that I might be enabled to illustrate in my death the principles I have advocated through a long life—equality of man before the Creator."
On December 17th, 1868, the House of Representatives met specially to express its respect for his memory. Men of all parties, in most eulogistic terms united to do honor to his name. Through the whole land it was felt that "a leader had fallen in Israel." Party rancor was for a time forgotten, and all men acknowledged the great value of his services to the country. Those who knew him best grieved most for his loss; but by none was he so sincerely mourned as by the millions whom his labors had elevated from slavery to freedom.
This imperfect memoir can be no more fitly ended than by quoting the concluding words of the eulogium delivered by Mr. Maynard, of Tennessee, on the occasion above referred to:
" As he was he will long be remembered. He has left his impress upon the form and body of the times. Monuments will be reared to perpetuate his name on the earth. Art will be busy with her chisel and her pencil to preserve his features and the image of his mortal frame. All will be done that brass and marble and painted canvas will admit of being done. The records of his official life will remain in your archives; our chosen words of commemoration will fall into the channels of literature. But the influence of a gifted mind, in moulding thought and giving direction to events, is not measured by words of commemoration or by official records. It is as measureless as the soul and enduring as time. Long after the brass and marble and painted canvas
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have disappeared, it will still remain transmitted from age to age and through successive generations." ¹
STONER, CHRISTIAN L., was born in the year 1823, at Millersville, Lancaster county, Pa. He learned the trade of a house carpenter in Lancaster city. He married Lizzie L. Hostetter, daughter of Col. Jacob Hostetter, in 1847, and in 1857 was elected Clerk of the Orphans' Court, a position he filled for three years.
STOEK, HENRY, elected Prothonotary in 1848.
STOEY, WILLIAM, elected a member of the Legislature in 1784.
STRICKLER, JACOB, was a member of the Legislature in the years 1797, 1798, 1799 and 1800.
STROHM, JOHN, was born October 16th, 1793, in what was then Little Britain township, in the county of Lancaster, and State of Pennsylvania, but in that part of said township which now composes Fulton township. His parents were of German descent his father having been brought to this country from the kingdom of Wirtemburg by his parent when about eight years of age. The grandfather having died during the voyage, his remains were consigned to the rolling waves of the boisterous Atlantic. The widow with her small family (two sons and a daughter), were landed at Philadelphia, and finally settled in Strasburg, this county. The mother of the subject of this sketch was the daughter of John Herr, a Mennonite preacher, who was also the grandfather of another preacher, John Herr, better known as the founder of the New or Reformed Mennonite Society. She was of a religious disposition, and to her instructions and admonitions the subject of this notice attributed the foundation of that high appreciation of integrity and truth which has characterized his conduct during his whole life.
He was first sent to school when about four years of age,
¹ The above sketch of Thaddeus Stevens, being the production of an intimate friend and member of his own political party, the author of the Biographical History of Lancaster county desires it to be distinctly understood, that he is in no wise to be considered responsible for any sentiment or conclusion contained therein, or estimate submitted, regarding the deceased statesman.
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and soon showed an aptitude for learning that few children of that age exhibit. But the schools of that period were of an inferior quality, and afforded none of the facilities now attainable in acquiring the rudiments of education. In the year 1804 his father purchased a farm in Strasburg township, and in the spring of 1805, when John was in his twelfth year, removed thereto, and from that time he was sent to school but a few months during the winter. Consequently, he received at school nothing but the ordinary instruction which farmers' sons of that period and in that vicinity usually attained. He was, however, very fond of reading, and improved every opportunity of acquiring a knowledge of men and things. From the time he was seven years of age, he read everything that came in his way, yet even in this way his opportunities were very limited. His father's library consisted principally of the Bible and Testament, and a few religious works in German, which he did not then understand, and some miscellaneous works picked up at sales. Amongst these was an old geography, giving a. description of the various countries and of
of the earth, an outline of the general principles of astronomy, the relative position of the planets, their courses in their respective orbits, &c. This book he studied carefully, and from it derived his first knowledge of many things previously unknown to him, and which proved highly useful in after life. His mother encouraged this avidity for reading, by borrowing such books for him as she could procure amongst her friends. Another means of acquiring information and storing his mind with useful knowledge, was found in the regular reading of a weekly newspaper to which his father was a constant subscriber. From this he obtained a knowledge of the leading events of the history of the world at the time, and became initiated in the politics of our own country in particular. In the beginning of the year 1809, at the solicitation of his teacher, he studied the theory of surveying, but did not practice it to any extent for near twenty years afterwards. About this time he commenced purchasing books on his own account, and all the money he could spare was invested in that description of property.