[Contents] [Last-Part 11] [Next-Part 13]
Deceased Resident Members of the Bar
(D - E)
Thomas Alfred Davies
Thomas A. Davies was born on his father’s farm on the shores of Black Lake, nine miles from Ogdensburg, New York, March 31, 1864. John Davies, the founder of the family in this country, was horn in 1680, at Kingston, Herefordshire, England, and came to Litchfield, Connecticut, in 1735. The Davies of Gwysany, Mold, Flintshire, England, came from the north of Wales and have an unbroken descent from Cymric Efell, Lord of Eylwys Eyle, who lived 1200 A. D. The family was first known by the name of Davies in 1581, when it was assumed by Robert Davies, who served as high sheriff of Flintshire. The fourth Son of Robert Davies was Thomas Davies, the father of John Davies, founder of the American branch of the family. He purchased one thousand acres of fertile land near Litchfield, and settled there in 1735. He was a zealous Episcopalian, founded the Episcopal church at that place, erected the first church edifice in 1749, naming it St. Michael’s. He married Catherine Spencer in England. He died in 1758.
John Davies, eldest son of the emigrant was born in England, 1711; educated at Oxford; married Elizabeth Brown in 1734, in England. He erected a saw-mill, grist-mill and forge. His second son, Thomas Davies, graduated from Yale in 1758, a few years after the founding of that institution. He was admitted to the holy orders as a priest in the Episcopal church in England, and became rector of the church at Litchfield. Because of their recent arrival from England they were staunch loyalists during the Revolution, and some of them were imprisoned.
John Davies, eldest son of the John Davies last mentioned, was born in England in 1735, married Eunice Hotchkiss, of New Haven, Connecticut. Because of his loyalist leanings, he lost his property and suffered imprisonment. After the war ended, he, to restore his losses, together with his son, Thomas John, entered the business of trading between Connecticut and New York, driving cattle from the former to the latter point, returning with merchandise. This he followed until 1798, when yellow fever broke out in New York, causing him losses, which together with his earlier losses and broken health, resulted in his death in 1799, closing an honorable but unfortunate career.
Thomas John Davies was born in 1767, the eldest son of John Davies; educated by his grandfather; married Ruth Foote, 1792, daughter of Captain John Foote of Watertown, Connecticut. He held the office of chorister in St. John’s Episcopal church. Losing his property in business with his father, he resolved to follow the example of his grandfather; he founded a home in the then wilderness on the shores of Black Lake, nine miles from Ogdensburg, St. Lawrence county, New York, in 1800, and removed with his family from Connecticut. He died in 1845, survived by his wife, who died in 1852, and four sons: John Foote; Charles, a professor of mathematics and the first American author of a complete series of mathematical textbooks; Henry, who became a Chief Justice of the Court of Appeals of New York; and Thomas A., who graduated from West Point in 1829, and made a gallant record in the Civil War.
John Foote Davies, born 1796, at Litchfield, came with his parents to Black Lake, in 1800. He married Almeda Giffin, of Scotch-Irish parentage, in 1819, with whom he lived for sixty-nine years. He died in 1888, a few months after the death of his wife, at the age of ninety-two years.
William Henry Davies, only son of John Foote Davies, was born October 4, 1820, at Black Lake, and attended a private school at Ballston, New York. He married, May 2, 1844, Helen McVean, of Scotch parentage, daughter of Colonel Daniel F. McVean. She died August 5, 1872, leaving a large family of children. During the Civil War, he. served as the Quartermaster of the Sixteenth New York Volunteers, the regiment commanded by his uncle, General Thomas A. Davies. He returned home in June 1863 in order to care for his large family.
Thomas Alfred Davies, the youngest of four sons of William Henry Davies, was born on his father’s farm, March 31, 1864. In the fall of 1881, he entered the Ogdensburg Academy, organized that year. During his course there he taught two terms of district school of four months each, making up his studies upon his return to the academy. He also sold books and did odd jobs to pay for his schooling because of his father’s large family needing assistance. After three years he had accumulated enough cash to partially pay his expenses through college, and entered St. Lawrence University in the fall of 1888, and received his B.A. degree in 1891, doing the four year’s work in three years.
Determined to study law, he sought a position where he might do so, and at the same time pay off the cost of his college education. In the fall of 1891, he became principal of Union Academy, at Union, New York, but finding his duties too heavy to allow much time for the study of law he resigned at the end of the school year. He came to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, in 1892, where he obtained a position in the high school as instructor in Mathematics and English, and continued the study of law. In January 1894, he secured a clerkship in the office of the district attorney of Lycoming County, whereupon he resigned his instructorship in the Williamsport High School. Having passed his examinations, he was admitted to the bar in July 1894. He continued to perform his duties as clerk for the district attorney and practiced in the local and state courts, specializing in Insurance Law. He is listed in the City Directory from 1694-1917 as a lawyer, after which he disappears from the scene. He sold his home in May 1917.
He was married March 16, 1899, to Sarah Frances, daughter of James Oliver and Sarah Frances Hammond. Mrs. Davies was a descendant o Matthew Brown of White Deer Valley. To this union were horn two sons: William Henry Davies and James Hammond Davies.
Oliver John Decker
The pioneer ancestor of this Decker family in America was Louis Alexander Decker, born June 30, 1794, Stuttgart, Wurtemberg, Germany, who came to America in 1834 and settled in Armstrong Township. He was a farmer. He and his family and all of their descendants have since been members cf the Lutheran Church. Alexander died March 16, 1877. His wife, who was Elizabeth Herman, died December 28, 1872, and bore him the following children : Catherine, wife of George Schmohl, of Illinois; Henrietta, wife of Jacob Sweely; Gottlieb F., married Mary Fausel; Henry married Mary Hurr; John Christian married Julia Fausel. John Christian Decker was born in Armstrong Township, November 26, 1840, and was married October 18, 1866 to Julia Rosanna Fausel (born August 20, 1842’). In 1902 they moved to South Williamsport. John Christian Decker died March 19, 1925, and his. wife December 28, 1920.
His maternal grandfather, Philip Jacob Fausel was also born in Stuttgart, December 8, 1778, and Philip’s wife, Julia R. Cramer, was born December 28, 1802. They came to America circa 1831, first lived in Germantown for about three years, and then purchased a farm in Armstrong Township. Philip died December 28, 1879, and his wife, August 2, 1885.
John Christian Decker and wife had four children, one of whom was Oliver John Decker, born in Armstrong Township, February 2, 1879. He began his education in the public schools, and at the age of 14 entered the Muncy Normal School, later graduating from Bucknell University in 1899, magna cum laude. He studied law in the office of James B. Krause and was graduated from the law department of the University of Pennsylvania, in 1902. He was admitted to this bar October 27, 1902.
Oliver was a member of Messiah’s Lutheran Church ; president of the Lycoming Law Association in 1928; member and Past Master, Lodge No. 397 F. & AM., president of the Lycoming Historical Society, 1939-40: member of the Kit Kat Club, Chamber of Commerce first president of the Lions Club and inaugurated the series of celebrated Lions Club Concerts in Williamsport, June 6 1926. He was a law lecturer in the Williamsport Extension School of Finance and Commerce, University of Pennsylvania. He was awarded an honorary LL. D., by Susquehanna University, in in 1926, having been a Trustee there since 1919.
Mr. Decker was married on September 4, 1912, to Eleanor, daughter of James T. and Jessie M. (Fackenthal) Dawson, of South Williamsport. The had one son, John Christian Decker III, born September 27, 1915, and now a member of this bar. Mrs. Decker died January 19, 1940. Oliver married (2) Beatrice M. Burns, October 1, 1941.
He served as a special assistant to the Attorney General of the United States in charge of conscientious objector cases. He was national president of Kappa Sigma fraternity, 1931-1933. It was his custom each year to present a review of the current events of the preceding year, before many local organizations. He died May 13, 1943.
John Christian Decker
John C. Decker was a lifelong resident of Lycoming County. He was born in South Williamsport on September 27, 1915. He graduated from Williamsport High School. Following his graduation John C. Decker attended and graduated from Bucknell University in 1936 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. In 1940, he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School with a Juris Doctor degree.
John was admitted to practice in 1941 before the several courts of Lycoming County.
In 1942, he entered the service of the United States Army during World War II and attained the rank of Captain. Upon discharge from the Army in 1946, John resumed the practice of law. In 1949 he was admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
He was a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association since 1942 and President of the Lycoming Law Association in 1977. He was chairman of the History Committee during the 1989 update of the Historical Sketches volume.
In addition to practicing law he was an instructor in Business Law at the Williamsport Area Community College.
John was married in 1944 to the former Elizabeth Anne Talley. They had two sons, John Frederick Decker and William Alexander Decker. His wife died on August 6, 1955.
He participated in leadership of civic organizations including the Lycoming County chapters of the National Council of Churches and American Cancer society. He was a member of Kiwanis, the Lycoming County Historical society, the Tiadaghton Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution, the Williamsport Stamp Club and the Williamsport Drama Club.
John C. Decker died unexpectedly at his home on April 12, 2001.
John C. Decker was a scholar. He was a respected member of the Bar of Lycoming County.
William Russell Deemer
The immigrant ancestors of the American branch of the Deemer (as the name was originally spelled) family came from Rhenish Bavaria. There was a Rev. John Diemer of the Lutheran Church who was acquainted with Rev. Henry Melchior Muhlenberg; also a missionary, John Christmann Diemer, who went to India in 1773, from Halle, Germany, whose father and brother apparently lived in this country. They were Protestants adhering to Huldrich Zwingli, the great Swiss reformer, according to an other account. In any event, they came to America early in the eighteenth century along with that great influx of their country men, who came about 1707-09. They first settled in Germantown, after 1710, and engaged in clearing off land for other families, get ting out timber for building purposes, burning charcoal, and cut ting up wood for fuel which they marketed in Philadelphia. From Germantown they moved to Providence township, then Philadelphia, now Montgomery, county.
Lloyd (p. 718-19) says that Johann Van Diemer arrived at Philadelphia, on the ship Davey, October 25, 1738. He is possibly the same as Captain John Diemer in the 17 expedition against Quebec. His son, John, served in the Revolutionary war.
Collins, Lloyd and Goodcharles all differ as to the immigrant ancestor. I can find only one John Diemer in Straussburger’s Pennsylvania German Pioneers (Vol. 1, pp. 234-5-6), given as Hans Diemer or Timmer.
John Deemer was a land owner in Lower Providence township in 1734, but the family was settled there before that time. In November 1725, when the German Reformed Church in Pennsylvania was organized by John Philip Boehm, a Rev. George Diemer is believed by some writers to have had a part in it, although a Dr. John Jacob Diemer, of Philadelphia, was one of the group who had opposed Boehm, because he was unordained at that time.
About 1740, a part of the Deemer family removed from Montgomery county and settled in Durham, Bucks county. Here they followed farming, charcoal burning and working in the iron furnaces. Some years later some of the family located at Nockamixon, and the greater part of their descendants of the present day live in these two townships, with a number also in Williams township, Northampton county.
Joseph Deemer, a native of Durham, when a young man located in Hunterdon county, New Jersey, and worked at the “Forge”, presumably Exeter Forge. When the Revolutionary war broke out, he enlisted in the First New Jersey Regiment, and served through out the entire struggle, belonging during that time to four or five different organizations. Eighty years later another Deerner, Edward, also a native of Durham, enlisted in the 31st New York Regiment, in the Civil War.
Some of the Deemers who remained in Providence township, removed to the Susquehanna River and at a later date to the Juniata where further knowledge of them ceases.
Elias Deemer was born January 3, 1838, in Bucks County, Pa., the son of John and Eleanor (Raederly) Deemer, who resided in Durham township, Bucks county. Michael Deemer’s ancestry we are unable to trace but he was born in Nockamixon township, Bucks county, or Durham about 1773. John Deemer had five children, two sons and three daughters. Elias was educated in the public schools, and at the age of 15 started to work in a store which he took charge of at the age of 20. In 1859, he became a book-keeper, collector and salesman for W. N. Treicher, of Kindesville, a manufacturer and dealer in lumber. In the fall of 1860, Mr. Deemer went to Philadelphia where he entered the wholesale notion business, and in 1861, he enlisted in Company E, 104th Pennsylvania Volunteers, Capt. George T. Henry’s company, under Col. W. W. H. Davis of Doylestown. In May 1862, he was discharged from the army while on the Peninsula because of physical disability. The following spring he moved to New Jersey and engaged in business there until the spring of 1868, when he came to Williamsport and entered the lumber business.
He was elected to City Council in 1888, re-elected in 1889, and to Congress in 1900, 1902 and 1904. He was President of the Williamsport National Bank, 1893 until his death, and with John H. Hunt composed Elias Deemer & Company. He married Henrietta Hunt, in November 1865, and had four children: William Russell, the subject of this sketch; Mary Lillian; Laura Hunt Becht and Lulu May Keefer. William was born June 6, 1867, at Milford, New Jersey.
William R. Deemer married Sarah January Grundy, of Kentucky, and they were the parents of William R. Deemer, Jr., Mary Elizabeth Willison and John January Grundy Deemer.
James B. Denworth
James B. Denworth was born in Easton, Northampton county, Pennsylvania, October 8, 1844, the eldest son of Peter J. Denworth. Peter was born in County Limerick, Ireland, in 1805, and came to the United States in 1824, when about 18 years of age. His family were farmers and had resided in County Limerick for many generations. After coming to this country, he found employment in the construction of railroads, and was afterward engaged as a contractor upon the public works of Pennsylvania, with Philadelphia as his permanent home. Because of ill health, he was advised by his physician to seek a home in the country, and so he re moved with his family to Limestone township, Lycoming county, in April 1850, where he died May 21, 1852. His wife was Mary Sheppard, of Scotland, who bore him three sons: James B., Hugh and Peter S.
The two eldest sons went into the Union army and served from 1861 until mustered out at the close of the war. Both exhibited the true soldier’s instinct and displayed that fearless courage and tenacity of purpose so characteristic of the race from which they sprang. James served in Company K, 89th Regiment, 8th Cavalry. This regiment achieved immortality by its desperate charge against “Stonewall’ Jackson at Chancellorville. Company K, from Lycoming county, led the charge and sustained considerable loss. Sergt. James B. Denworth was promoted in the field for gallantry.
James received a common school education. Nine years after the close of the Civil war, he studied law with General C. H. T. Collis, of Philadelphia, and was admitted to the bar in November 1876, and began to practice law in Williamsport. He was City Recorder for 4 years and was the last person to hold that office in Pennsylvania.
Mr. Denworth married Mary E., daughter of Frederick Friedel, of Mifflin township, May 26, 1885, and they had three children Raymond K., Mary C., and Hugh F. He was a Republican in politics and a member of the Masonic order. He died October 9, 1898.
Edward P. Dickinson
Mr. Dickinson was admitted to the bar in 1883. He is listed in the Williamsport City Directory in 1886-7, and in the latter year as a lawyer and also West Branch Furniture Company. He is listed as a clerk in 1888, and not listed thereafter.
Franz Dietmeier was born in Basbach, Baden, Germany, November 16, 1863, the son of Jacob and Catherine (Graf) Dietmeier, natives of Germany. His father was a merchant and a well- to-do citizen of Basbach. Franz was educated in the Latin schools of his native land, and at the age of 16 years he came to America, located at Freehold, New Jersey, where he continued his studies until September 1880, when he accepted a position as tutor in the family of Peter McKeogh, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He remained there until the spring of 1881, when he returned to Freehold, and taught in a private family until the following September, when he went to Norwich, Connecticut. He continued to teach languages in that city until 1883, and in June of that year he visited his native land. In the meantime he had commenced the study of law on January 1, 1882, under the preceptorship of Ripley & Cooke, of Norwich, and on his return from Europe continued his studies. He was admitted to the bar at Norwich in March 1885, and began to practice at Waterbury, Connecticut. During the time he was engaged in his legal studies he occasionally taught school for the purpose of acquiring means to continue his studies. He continued to practice at Waterbury, where he was also editor of the New England Wachenblatt, until February 1888, when he came to Williamsport, and began to practice here that fall. He is listed in the City directories as a lawyer from 1889 until 1895. In 1897, he changed the spelling of name to Frank Deedmeyer. In 1900, he married Minnie, daughter of Emanuel and Margaret Lininger, of Williamsport. He was a member of the Catholic church. His name disappears from the directory after 1901.
Aaron Jared Dietrick
Aaron Jared Dietrick was born in Briar Creek township, Columbia county, April 6, 1822, and died at his home in Wilkes Barre, September 8, 1884, after a long and severe illness. He came of German stock, his parents emigrating from Germany and settling in Northampton county, later removing to Columbia county. His early days were spent on his father’s farm. While a boy he could only speak the German language. At an early age he was apprenticed to a blacksmith but he did not complete his trade as his tastes were inclined toward one of the professions . After at tending the local schools, he became a pupil in Berwick Academy, and afterwards Wyoming Seminary. He then entered the office of M. E. Jackson, of Berwick. as a law student, meanwhile supporting himself at teaching in the township schools. He was admitted to the bar at Danville, August 14, 1847, and commenced the practice of his profession at Laporte, Sullivan county. He was instrumental in helping to have Laporte made the county seat of the newly created county. He served three terms as District Attorney and two terms as County Treasurer of Sullivan county. He was nominated for State Senator, but was defeated.
On April 15, 1856, he removed to Williamsport and engaged in practice. Then in January 1864, he moved to Washington, D. C., and became interested in the settlement of claims before the different departments of the government. He resided in Washington about 4 years, when he returned to Williamsport and resumed his practice. For a short time he served as Revenue Commissioner for this judicial district. After the adoption of the Wallace law by the City of Williamsport, he was appointed City Recorder by Governor Geary on March 27, 1868, which office he held until 1871, when James L. Meredith, another member of this bar, was elected and commissioned to serve for ten years. Before the expiration of his term, the new Constitution of Pennsylvania was adopted, which retired Mr. Meredith in December 1875. At the ensuing election, Mr. Dietrick was elected for a five year term.
For a short time he served as business manager of the Gazette and Bulletin, and it was through his efforts that the Lycoming Gazette and the West Branch Bulletin were consolidated November 22, 1869. He and C. T. Huston were proprietors of the new publication, from 1869 to 1870. Then Mr. Dietrick purchased Mr. Huston’s interest and became sole proprietor of the Gazette and Bulletin, in November 1869, with John F. Meginness as editor. Peter Herdic held the controlling interest. E. W. Capron, who was editor of the Bulletin, became editor of the Gazette and Bulletin, with John F. Meginness as city editor. About 1873, J. B. G. Kinsole, Capron’s partner sold his interest to Herdic, who then be came sole owner, retaining the services of A. J. Dietrick as publisher, and Dietrick continued as such until 1874.
In 1880 Dietrick resigned as City Recorder and removed to Wilkes-Barre, and was admitted to the Luzerne county bar, December 11, 1880, and practiced law there, though much of his time was taken up with the management of the estate of S. G. Turner, whose widow was Dietrick’s niece.
Mr. Dietrick was twice married, his first wife being Catharine E. Burke, whom he met while teaching school at Briar Creek. Three sons survive from this union. In 1853, he married Mary S. Kellogg of East Smithfield, Bradford county, who survived him along with a son and daughter. Judge Dietrick, as he was called in Sullivan county, died at Wilkes-Barre, September 8, 1884, and is buried in the Washington Street cemetery, by the side of an infant daughter.
Frederick Yothers Dietrick
Frederick Yothers Dietrick was born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, October 16, 1908, the son of Floy L. Dietrick and Fred C. Dietrick. He was educated in the public schools of Milton, and graduated from Mercersburg Academy in 1928. In 1932 he graduated from Princeton University with the degree of bachelor of arts, then from the Law Department of the University of Pennsylvania in 1938 with an LL.B. degree. He practiced in the Superior and Supreme Courts of Pennsylvania, and the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. After his admission to the Lycoming County Bar in 1939, he entered the law office of the late J. Fred Katzmaier until he enlisted in the U.S. Armed Forces on July 16, 1942. His discharge followed on August 4, 1944, at which time he returned to practice in the office of the late Thomas Wood, Esquire. In November, 1945, he associated with Harry C. Fithian, Jr., Esquire, sharing office space, which association continued until the time of his death.
He became president of Lycoming Law Association in 1965. At the time of his death, he was solicitor for Montoursville Borough, several townships and for the prothonotary of Lycoming County. He also joined the American and the Pennsylvania Bar Associations.
Mr. Dietrick was a member of Milton Lodge 236, F. and A. M., and of Williamsport Consistory, having a prominent role in the cast of the 24th Degree.
He was active in the formation of the Young Men’s Bureau, later known as the Junior Chamber of Commerce, and served a term as its president. He was on the board of directors of the Visiting Nurses’ Association of Lycoming County. He was a member and former secretary of the Ross Club, and commander of Garrett Cochran Post No. 1, American Legion, in 1947. In 1948, he was appointed an assistant district attorney for Lycoming County, by the newly elected district attorney, Lee B. Lansberry.
In 1973 he was named “Boss of the Year” by the Penn Laurel Chapter of the American Business Women’s Association. He also was active in religious matters, belonging to the Church of Our Savior (Episcopal) in Montoursville, and served it as a vestryman.
As a lawyer, he exemplified the best ethics of the profession and made its best traditions his own. He never failed to respond to any demand upon his time, his talents, or his means, that he believed would promote the advancement of his fellow citizens. He died December 10, 1975 and was survived by his widow, the former June E. Connor, two sons, Douglas A. and Donald F. Dietrick, and three grandchildren.
Edward C. Duble
Mr. Duble was admitted to this bar, to No. 236, June Term 1901. He is listed as a lawyer in the 1902-3 directories, and not thereafter. I can find no further data on him.
Edward R. Dwyer
Edward R. Dwyer was born July 31, 1896, in Ayer, Massachusetts, the only child of Edward Stephen and Annie Frances Dwyer. He spent his early life in Ayer where he attended the public schools, and Holy Cross Preparatory School, in Worcester, Massachusetts. He received his BA degree from Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, in 1918.
He enlisted in the Navy and served during World War I. He was a graduate of the United States Naval Officers Material School of Harvard University, and after being discharged from the Navy he enrolled at Fordham University Law School, where he received his law degree. Subsequently he attended the New York University Law School, and obtained his master’s degree in law.
He was admitted to practice in the courts of New York State and practiced in New York City for approximately two and one- half years before coming to Williamsport. He was also admitted to practice before the Federal courts and the Treasury Department of the United States. He registered in the office of J. Fred Katzmaier, and later passed the Pennsylvania bar examinations, and in 1940 was admitted to practice in the courts of Lycoming County. He opened an office in the First National Bank building.
He married Irma Reilly, of Williamsport, on October 27, 1928, who survived him. He died August 25, 1956.
Mr. Dwyer was a member of the Williamsport Rotary Club, the American Legion, the 40-et-8 which he served as Advocat, the Knights of Columbus, Williamsport Wheel Club and Wheel Inn, Inc. He was a member of Lycoming Law Association, the Pennsylvania and American Bar Associations. In politics, he was a Democrat and formerly served as chairman of Lycoming County Democratic committee.
George Guise Dykins
John S. Dykins, grandfather of G. Guise Dykins, was a native of New York State and came to Muncy, Pennsylvania. in 1830, where he died in 1880. He married Jane Buck, who died in 1875. They were the parents of six children: Daniel B. ; Julia, who married D. P. Guise; John, of Randolph, Utah; Ehrman, of Rock Springs, Wyoming; Charles, of Chicago; and James of Duluth, Minnesota.
Daniel B. Dykins, justice of the peace, was born in Muncy, May 16, 1841, the eldest child of John S. and Jane (Buck) Dykins. His mother was a daughter of Daniel Buck, who was born in what is now Muncy Creek township, in 1773. Daniel B. Dykins enlisted July 23, 1861, in Company B, 8th Pennsylvania Cavalry; became a Captain, December 24, 1864, and was discharged July 24, 1865. He was captured while on post duty, about 40 miles below Fredericksburg, Virginia, December 2, 1862, and spent the winter of 1862-3 in Libby Prison. After the close of the war, he became editor of the Muncy Luminary for six years, and in 1879 was elected a justice of the peace. He married Lydia Esenwine, of Towanda, Pennsylvania, in December 1867, by whom he had seven children, among whom was George Guise Dykins, the subject of this sketch.
G. Guise Dykins was born in Muncy, July 17, 1871, and was admitted to this bar, in April 1893. His preceptor was A. D. Hower of Muncy. Mr. Dykins maintained offices in Williamsport and Muncy from 1893 to 1896. With the exception of two short periods in law offices in New York and Philadelphia and a return to Muncy in 1908, when his father died, and he had offices there for two years, he has been employed continuously by corporations. He retired July 31, 1958, after having been with his last employer for 38 years.
Nicholas M. Edwards
Nicholas Merriwether Edwards was born in the old home stead, in Christian County, Kentucky, December 18, 1859, the son of Stephen and Mary Virginia (Carter) Edwards. He spent the first twenty-one years of his life there. He was tutored at home in the elementary and preparatory studies and graduated from the Academy of his native town of Lafayette in 1879.
In 1881 his father suffered reverses common to residents of the southern and border states following the Civil War, due to business depression, and decided to relocate and moved with his family to Williamsport.
Here Nick attended the Williamsport Commercial College and following his graduation, studied law in the office of Charles K. Geddes, and was admitted to the Lycoming County bar, June 25, 1886. He married Lucy S. Boswell, of Baltimore, Maryland, October 15, 1889. His wife died in October 1911. There were no children.
Mr. Edwards served as City Solicitor, 1892-94; District Attorney, 1895-98; President, Lycoming Law Association in 1912. In 1924, he attended the meetings of the American Bar Association held in London. He was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1908, and for a number of years a member of the National Guard of Pennsylvania. He was one of those who helped establish the American Legion home on West Fourth Street, for Garrett Cochran Post No. 1. His brother, William Carter Edwards was also a member of this bar, having been admitted to No. 315, June Term 1897.
To show that Nick Edwards was endowed with the traditional southern hot temper, the following true story bears witness. One time when Mr. Edwards represented the wife of a man seeking a divorce there was a conference in Judge J. J. Metzger’s chambers. They were located in the room now used by the bar association between Court Room No. 2 and the large room used as the law library. It seems that the husband in question was a political ally of Judge Metzger, and some remark made by the Judge was interpreted by Mr. Edwards to mean that the Judge was calling Mr. Edwards a liar. Immediately Mr. Edwards picked up an ink-well and threw it at the Judge. You can well imagine the result. Charlie Reilly heard about this, and that the Judge was threatening a rule seeking to disbar Mr. Edwards. So Mr. Reilly went to see the Judge, and found him in his chambers with the rule all prepared and ready to file. Mr. Reilly offered to file it for him, and then quietly stuck the rule in his pocket where it remained until tempers cooled down, and the matter was ended and forgotten.
Richard Thomas Eisenbeis
Richard T. Eisenbeis was born in Williamsport on April 1, 1915. He was the son of George T. and Florence Corter Eisenbeis.
He attended the Williamsport schools, graduating from Williamsport High School in 1933. He worked as a dairy store clerk and milkman until 1941. He was employed by Lycoming Avco Corp. from 1942 until 1945 as a machine operator, and he served in the U.S. Navy as a flight engineer in the South Pacific from 1945 until 1948.
He passed the civil service examination for the Williamsport Police Department with a 100 percent grade and served on the police force from 1948 until 1952. While serving as a police officer, he attended Lycoming College and graduated cum laude in 1954. He served as city clerk of the City of Williamsport and as executive secretary of the Williamsport Parking Authority from 1953 until 1954. He was employed by the U. S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, in Washington, D.C. as an investigator from 1954 until 1957, during which time he attended the American University Law School, from which he graduated in 1957.
He was admitted to practice law in the various courts of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and of the United States in 1957. From 1957 until 1964, he was associated with Bidelspacher & Bidelspacher. From 1964 until the time of his death, he was associated with Martin M. Fine in the practice of law at 322 Court Street, in Williamsport. John A. Felix and Peter Burchanowski were also associated with Richard Eisenbeis in the practice of law at that address at the time of his death.
He was elected and served with distinction as district magistrate from 1970 until 1981. He was a member of the Lycoming Law Association and the Pennsylvania and American Bar Associations. He was admitted to practice before all the appellate courts of this state, as well as the United States federal court system.
Richard Eisenbeis was a great outdoorsman. He loved boating, hunting, fishing and gardening. He enjoyed working with his hands and remodeled his home and built another home practically single-handed along the Susquehanna River in Linden, where he spent many enjoyable years with his friends and family.
Richard was a very capable lawyer and district magistrate. He conscientiously attended continuing legal education seminars in many areas of the law and procedure, especially on the minor judiciary, in which he became an expert. He was held in the highest esteem by the court and members of the bar who found him knowledgeable, fair and impartial in all of his decisions.
Richard had a great sense of humor and liked to play practical jokes. He had a steadying and calming influence on his associates who worked with him throughout the years of his law practice.
Richard’s death occurred on May 4, 1981. He was survived by his wife, Josephine, two sons, Howard and H. Richard, and two daughters, Sally Jo Day and Margie Eisenbeis. Howard is a toxicologist in Hoffman LaRoche Labs, New Jersey. Richard, trained as a geophysicist, is a college professor in Huntington, West Virginia. Daughter Sally Jo was a student in American University at the same time Richard studied law there.
Henry Drinker Ellis
Mr. Ellis belongs to one of the most historic families of Ly coming County. William Ellis, his father, was of Welsh ancestry. Thomas Ellis was born in Merionethshire, Wales, about the year 1635. He came to America from Pembrokeshire with his second wife and family and settled on one of two large tracts of land he had purchased near Haverford.58 Previous to coming to America he had many times suffered imprisonment in Wales be cause of his Quaker beliefs. We do not know the name of his first wife, but they were probably married prior to 1657 or 1658, and had four children, two sons, Ellis and Humphrey; and two daughters, Bridget and Elinor. No doubt due to her husband’s many imprisonments and hardships, the first wife died rather young. His second wife was Ellen Rees and they had one daughter, Rachel.59
Many Friends looked forward toward the newly acquired Province of Pennsylvania as a refuge from the persecutions they had endured, and the attention of Thomas Ellis turned in the same direction. In 1682 he made preparations to bring his family to America; and early the following year, came over with his wife, two sons and three daughters.
Thomas Ellis was one of William Penn’s commissioners. Although he lived in the country, he spent much time in Philadelphia. July 28, 1687 he was commissioned Registrar General for the Province, which office he held until his death, November 1688. His deputy was David Lloyd.
Ellis Ellis his eldest son, was born in Wales about 1659. He accompanied his father here in 1683. He married Lydia Humphrey, eldest child of Samuel and Elizabeth Humphrey, the 19th day of the sixth month, 1685. Her parents resided in the parish of Lian gelynin, Merionethshire, where Lydia was born. The father died 17th of seventh month 1677. The mother and six of her seven children came over in 1683, the seventh child, Daniel, having come the previous year.
Ellis and Lydia Ellis had ten children, the ninth being Benjamin, born at Haverford, the 8th day of the eighth month, 1701. Benjamin married Ann Swaffer, 1st day of the third month, 1735. She was of a family which had been driven from England to the Netherlands in a time of religious persecution. They probably returned to their native land with other refugees when the storm abated, as William Swaffer, the father of Ann, came to America about 1684. He married sixth month, 1694, Mary Caudwell, (this name was pronounced Caldwell in Delaware County), of Ridley.
Benjamin and Ann Ellis had four daughters and three sons. Mary married Thomas Tucker, some, if not all, of whose children lived in Philadelphia, and the sons were among the first manufacturers of china in this country. William, next to the youngest child, was born in 1751, at Easttown, Chester County, Pennsylvania. He received a good education and taught school a few years in Harford County, Maryland, where he went to reside when he was about 21. In 1777, he sold his property in Easttown, which he had inherited from his father, Benjamin, who died in 1753. This was preparatory to moving to the beautiful Muncy valley on the West Branch of the Susquehanna.
Before his new home was completed, the Indian invasion from New York state occurred. William was agent for the large landed interests of Samuel Wallis. On the eve of the Big Runaway, when terror and consternation prevailed among the settlers of this valley on account of the anticipated Indian invasion, the inhabitants of the upper part of the part were ordered by Colonel Hunter to fly to Fort Augusta for safety. William Ellis, reminiscent of Rachel Silverthorn60 of like fame, rode on horseback from Fort Muncy to a point near present day Jersey Shore, and back again the same night, to warn the scattered settlers of the impending danger. His horse was a large powerful animal, well fitted for the perilous journey. In the bright moonlight, he stopped at all the houses along the way to warn the occupants. These settlers resided principally along the river. This occurred about the time of the Plum Tree Massacre.
The settlers crowded into a little fortified home near Muncy (not Fort Muncy which was later rebuilt by Captain Thomas Robinson on the Wallis farm, but probably Brady’s home) ; and when they were safely sheltered there, William Ellis, not wishing to avail himself of military protection, and having no one immediately dependent upon him, was about to go down the Susquehanna to his friends and family. But the women and children whom he had assisted to escape entreated him to stay with them as one on whose foresight and wisdom they most relied. So despite his religious convictions, he stayed in that fortified place thus becoming subject to the censure of the Friends.
When the blast of war had blown over, he returned to find his house, garden and orchard destroyed. Not discouraged, he renewed his efforts to provide a home, and continued surveying for Wallis. He now felt that he was in a position to marry and pressed his suit for the hand of Mercy Cox, whom he had loved so long. On the 10th day of the Second month, 1785, he married her at the Deer Creek Meeting in Harford County, Maryland. She was the eighth child and youngest daughter of William and Mary (Goldhawk) Cox who had come from Egham Hithe, Surrey, England, to Maryland, Eleventh month, 1745. William Cox was also a Friend.
The home near Muncy was not yet ready for occupancy and so he had to leave his bride for a few weeks at her father’s home while he journeyed northward. Some time later after they had moved into their home, they had to move out again, while a plasterer from Philadelphia came for that purpose, and so William Cox Ellis was born in their temporary quarters, the former barracks of Fort Muncy, close by, on May 5, 1787.
Henry Drinker Ellis, the youngest child of William and Mercy (Cox) Ellis married Mary Reynolds (Meginness says Mary Strawbridge), settled in Williamsport and was admitted to the Lycoming County bar.61 They were the parents of six children. Henry D. Ellis died July 22,1851, aged 48 years.
William Cox Ellis
William Cox Ellis grew to manhood at the home of his parents, at Wolf Run house in Muncy Valley. On July 11, 1810, he married Rebecca Morris, daughter of Benjamin Wister and Mary Morris, in a Friends meeting ceremony at Wellsboro, Tioga County. The Morris family were originally from Philadelphia.
William C. Ellis’ natural inclinations drew him to the study of law. In 1816, Mr. Ellis and wife moved to Milton, Pennsylvania, he having secured a position in the old Milton Bank, when Seth Iredell was its president. While serving as cashier he studied law under Samuel Hepburn and was admitted to the Northumberland County bar, in 1817. He soon thereafter removed to Muncy and entered upon the practice of his profession in which he be came very outstanding. As a lawyer he stood high at the bar. He was one of the most active men of his time, and took a deep interest in everything which was for the advancement of the community. He was sent to Congress in 1820 and again in 1822. He then resumed his practice, for a short time, when he was sent to the Legislature in 1825, and again in 1826. On account of his eloquence and originality of thought, he was often styled the John Randolph of the West Branch Valley.
Four sons and four daughters aided their parents in celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. Mrs. Ellis died at their residence in Muncy, December 8, 1871, and her husband followed her just five days later, aged 85 years after a married life of 61 years.
Merrill Charles Embick
Merrill Charles Embick, 95, passed away Saturday, February 16, 2013 at Manor Care in Jersey Shore. He was formerly of the Jersey Shore area. He was born in Williamsport September 29, 1917.
Mr. Embick graduated from Mifflinburg High School.
He was a U.S. Army veteran of World War II and a member of the American Legion.
He graduated from University of Pittsburgh with a B.S in 1951 and from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law with a J.D. in 1954. He was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar in 1956.
Mr. Embick worked as attorney for the National Labor Relations Board. After retiring from that position, he returned to the Williamsport area in 1980 and maintained a local practice.
He was predeceased by his first and second wives Mary "Mae" Elliot and Elizabeth A. Speese Seasholtz respectively, a stepdaughter Zee Layne Merkel and a stepson Robert Seasholtz. Merrill is survived by one son, William Embick (Linda) of Shelburne, VT; three stepdaughters, Donna Jane (John) Weakley of MO, Glenda Kay (Louis) Myers and Therese Elizabeth "Terri" (Norm) Hager both of Avis; two grandchildren and several step grandchildren.
Charles D. Emery
Charles D. Emery was the second child of Josiah and Julia Ann (Beecher) Emery. He was admitted to the Lycoming County bar, where he practiced many years. He was elected District Attorney, serving one term. He served for a time as acting consul in South America. He married Lavina D. Evans, March 8, 1858. He died May 15, 1902, at Seattle, Washington.
Meginness says that Mr. Emery had devoted much time to scientific studies, and for a long time was engaged in the preparation of a historical descriptive catalogue of all the earthquakes that had occurred on the American continent since its settlement by the Anglo-Saxon race.
Josiah Emery was born in Canterbury, New Hampshire, November 30, 1801, and was the third of sixteen children of Nathan and Betsy (McCrillis) Emery. He was a man of superior education, and made for himself an honorable career. After attending the common schools and Kimball Academy in his native state, he entered Dartmouth College, and was a student there until he attained his majority. He served as a school teacher for about six years, and then took a course in Union College, Schenectady, New York, graduating from that institution in 1828. The following year he located at Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, where he read law with James Lowrey, and was admitted to the bar in 1831. He engaged in active practice there until 1871, besides acting as post master during President Polk’s administration, district attorney of Tioga County, as commissioner in bankruptcy (under the Act of 1842), and during the Civil War, in the United States Provost Marshal’s department, aiding in filling the quota of county troops, in the draft laws, and the apprehension of deserters. He took an active part in literary work, was trustee of the Wellsboro Academy for many years, frequently wrote for literary journals, and published his recollections of Tioga County.
Mr. Emery located in Williamsport in 1871, but practiced his profession only a short time. He took an active part in education, and served as president of the School Board, of which he was a member for nine years. He was the founder of the public school library in Williamsport and the Emery School Building is named in his honor.
He married February 12, 1830, Julia Ann, daughter of Hon. John Beecher, of Tioga County, Pa. She died July 24, 1871, her husband surviving her 20 years and dying April 8, 1891. They were the parents of eleven children, among whom was Charles D. Emery, a member of this bar.
Allen Edward Ertel
Allen Edward Ertel was born on November 7, 1936 in Williamsport, the son of the late, Clarence V. and Helen A. Froehner Ertel. He graduated from Montoursville High School in 1954, where he lettered in basketball, baseball and football. He was an Eagle Scout. In 1947, he played for the Montoursville team in the first Little League World Series.
Mr. Ertel attended Dartmouth College on a Navy R.O.T.C. scholarship graduating from its Thayer School of Engineering in 1958 and the following year from its Amos Tuck School of Business Administration with a Masters Degree in engineering and business. Upon graduation in 1959, he immediately reported to San Diego to begin active duty. He served honorably in the United States Navy from 1959 to 1962, achieving the rank of Lieutenant.
On discharge from the Navy, Mr. Ertel attended Dickinson School of Law for one year and then the Yale Law School, obtaining his law degree in 1965. His law career began as a clerk for Chief Judge Caleb M. Wright of the Federal District Court for Delaware from 1965 to 1966. Mr. Ertel then returned to Lycoming County to practice law, initially with the firm of Candor, Youngman, Gibson and Gault. His private law practice included multiple areas, however, utilizing his training as an engineer, he together with his good friend and partner, John C. Youngman, Jr., developed an expertise in products liability in airplane crash cases. In 1973, he associated with William S. Kieser in the office of Ertel & Kieser, until 1977.
A life-long Democrat, Mr. Ertel undertook a spirited campaign for Lycoming County District Attorney in 1967, his first full year of practicing law. Unexpectedly to some, he was elected and served in that office from 1968 to 1977.
In 1976, Allen Ertel became the first Democrat to represent the 17th Congressional District of Pennsylvania in the 20th century. At that time, the district was composed of Lycoming, Dauphin, Union and parts of Northumberland and Lebanon Counties, an area which had a significant Republican registration advantage. He was re-elected to the 96th and 97th Congresses. As a member of Congress, Mr. Ertel served on the Public Works and Transportation and Science and Technology Committees. His efforts to persuade the Army Corp of Engineers to agree to construct and fund a flood proof barrier under Interstate Route I-180 which was being built through Loyalsock Township between the Susquehanna River and the Golden Strip was a major accomplishment. As a result, this very important commercial area has been spared the disastrous effects of many floods.
Choosing not to return to Congress, Mr. Ertel was the Democratic nominee for Governor in 1982. He conducted a vigorous campaign against popular incumbent Governor Richard Thornburgh. His tireless work together with a grass roots corps of volunteers known as "Ertel’s Turtles" closed an initial 32 point deficit into a virtual dead heat in the final days before the election; ultimately he lost by 100,431 votes.
Mr. Ertel was again successful in obtaining the Democratic nomination for a statewide office, that of Attorney General in 1984. Again, as the underdog, he organized an effective statewide campaign losing the election to Leroy Zimmerman by 25,056 votes.
In 1989, Mr. Ertel won the Democratic nomination for the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in a special election to fill a vacancy. Subsequent to the primary, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in what some termed a result orientated interpretation of the Pennsylvania Constitution, ruled the elections in that year for Supreme Court Justice to be invalid, as it was not a municipal election year.
Mr. Ertel was a visiting professor of Political Science at Bucknell University in 1983 and 1984. He was a super delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1984.
All through these political endeavors and offices, Mr. Ertel continued to practice law although on a limited basis, resuming a full time practice of law in Lycoming County in 1984. Initially, he was associated with the Pittsburgh firm of Reed-Smith, but for the most part of his remaining life, he practiced in his own firm as Allen E. Ertel & Associates.
Mr. Ertel was a principal in many successful business ventures. Most notable among these was the firm Regscan which was among the first companies nationwide to offer a computer based method of allowing businesses to monitor and comply with Federal regulations which effected their operations.
Other business interests such as Families United Network, New Foundations and Firetree Ltd., have promoted the welfare of children and the imprisoned. These entities provide a variety of services to families, especially children, such as foster care, group homes, residential care, adoption, drug and alcohol treatment, and re-entry services after incarceration. He was also involved in establishing Firetree Place at the former Bethune Douglas Center.
Mr. Ertel’s business interests have also correlated with his strong desire to rehabilitate and preserve older buildings, particularly those with historical and architectural significance. His projects have included the M.O.N.Y. Building at Northwest Market Square (since destroyed by fire) and rehabing the Williamsport Growers Market into office and warehouse space. He was active in the organization of Preservation Williamsport, especially with the Rowley House. Mr. Ertel’s most notable and beneficial project, however, was his investment in the restoration and preservation of the former Park Home.
Allen E. Ertel died on Thursday, November 19, 2015. He was the husband of Catharine B. Klepper Ertel with whom he shared 56 years of marriage. He was also survived by two children.
John Eutermarks is listed as a lawyer admitted to this bar in 1864, and died in the fall of 1886. From 1869-70, he is listed under J. W. Maynard & Company; in 1871, he is listed under the firm name of Maynard, Eutermarks and Parker (i.e., James O., divorced husband of Clara Maynard Parker, daughter of Judge Maynard). In 1875-76, he is listed as practicing alone; from 1877 to 1879 he is partner of A. J. Webster, and again listed alone from 1881-82.
Wilson A. Evert
Mr. Evert was born January 29, 1870, in Columbia County, Pennsylvania, and died June 2, 1932 at Montoursville. He attended the public schools of Columbia County, the Bloomsburg State Normal School and Dickinson Seminary. He studied law in the office of H. V. White, of Bloomsburg, and was admitted to the Columbia County bar, in 1892. He moved to Montoursville in 1908, and was admitted to the Lycoming County bar in 1911. He was a Justice of the Peace, and solicitor for the Montoursville Borough and Overseers of the Borough Poor District. He served as chairman of the Democratic County committee, and was also its Secretary for a number of years. He was a member and official of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Montoursville, a Sunday School teacher and District Superintendent. He was also a member of the I.O.O.F, Knights of Malta and the P. O. S. A. He married Anna M. Thompson.
58History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania. . . by Dr. George Smith, Phila.: H. B. Ashmead, 1862.
59Much of this narrative is taken from Meginness, Biog. Annals, op cit, and from Clovercroft Chronicles, 1314-1894, by Mary Rhoads Haines, Phila., n.d.
60Now and Then, Vol. VI, p. 98; Vol. IV, p. 150.
61Clovercroft Chronicles, op. cit., p. 96.
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