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Biographies - Lebanon County, PA


C. Grove Beaver

George Dawson Coleman
Gen. John Peter Shindel Gobin
Augustus Maulfair
LINDLEY MURRAY
Arthur Harry Strohman


C. Grove Beaver

Among the old and prominent families of the State of Pennsylvania, is that of Beaver. It is of German extraction and the founder of the family came to America from Alsace.  C. Grove Beaver, of Fredericksburg, is a direct descendant of one of the three brothers who landed from a little sailing vessel "Friendship,"  John Mason, captain, at Philadelphia, November 2, 1744. The names of these German emigrants were George, John and Dewald Bieber, later softened into Beaver. The sons of these early settlers took part in the War of the Revolution and spent that memorable winter of history, 1777, at Valley Forge. A later descendant of one of these sons, was Dewald Beaver, the grandfather of C. Grove Beaver, who married Elizabeth Hunter. Both were natives of Berks county and in early married life lived on a farm, but their last years were spent at Reading. Their eight children were: Catherine, wife of James Cornett; Dr. D. H. ; John: Elizabeth, wife of D. Light; Esther married a Weiser; Susanna married a Grim; Jacob and the other, Samuel, died young.

Dr. D. H. Beaver, the father of C. Grove Beaver, was born May 1, 1819, and died in Fredericksburg, November 9, 1884. Although reared a farm boy, he did not accept farming as a vocation, but studied medicine and graduated in the same at the University of Pennsylvania, and then moved to Lebanon county. For one year he lived at Shirksville and then located at Fredericksburg, where he remained until his death, after long years of faithful attendance upon the sick through Lebanon county. He was well- known and much esteemed in the profession. For many years he was a leading member of the Lutheran Church. Dr. Beaver was a strong supporter of the principles of the Republican party. In 1847 he married Barbara .....

--Biographical Annals Of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania : Containing Biographical Sketches Of Prominent And Representative Citizens, Page 348


George Dawson Coleman

With very few exceptions the business of the city of Lebanon is carried on by descendants of old and worthy families, whose individual members in their time were prominently identified with the institutions of the county. Ever since the name of Lebanon was attached to a county organization the family of Coleman has been through its different members very prominently identified with the advancement and progress for which this section of the State is so distinguished.

Robert Coleman, the progenitor of the family in America, was one of the most successful ironmasters in Lancaster county, Pa., during the latter part of the eighteenth century, and was not only prominent in the business world, but became a man of distinction in the public life of the State, having for many years been a member of the Pennsylvania Assembly as early as 1788. He was also for many years associate judge of Lancaster county. Robert Coleman was born November 4, 1748, near Castlefin, in County Donegal, Ireland, and came to this country in 1764, arriving at Philadelphia. He carried letters to Blair McClanaghan and the Messrs. Biddle, who recommended him to Mr. Read, then prothonotary of Reading, Pa., who employed him for two years. At the end of that time he became a clerk for Peter Grubb, at Hopewell Forge, near Lebanon, Pa., owned by James Old, who had large iron works near Reading and Norristown for some time. Some time later, when Mr. Old removed from Speedwell Forge to Reading Furnace, he took Mr. Coleman with him, and they were associated in business for some years. While at the Furnace, Mr. Coleman married Mr. Old’s eldest daughter, and not long afterward he rented Salford Forge, near Norristown, where he continued for three years. In 1776, he moved in Elizabeth Furnace, in Lancaster county, which he first rented, afterward buying it gradually from the different members of the firm who owned it – Stiegel, Stedman & Benezet. There he manufactured ammunition for the Government during the Revolutionary war, and it is of interest to note that the iron chain which was stretched across the Delaware river below Philadelphia, to prevent the approach of the

British warships at the time that city was threatened by Gen. Clinton, was manufactured by him. He was the first of his family to obtain an interest in the ore bank of Cornwell, Lebanon county, which he purchased from the Grubb family. Mr. Coleman was a man possessed of a penchant for hard work, which, coupled with fine business judgment, soon caused him to forge to the front as a leading man in the iron business. On October 4, 1773, he married Anne Old, who was bon May 2`1, 1756, and they had four sons, William, Edward, James and Burd. Mr. Coleman retired from business and removed to Lancaster in 1809.

James Coleman passed his life in the iron business in Lancaster and Lebanon counties. He married a Miss Dawson, of Philadelphia, who bore him the following children: George Dawson; Ann; Sarah; Harriet; and Robert.

George Dawson Coleman was born in Philadelphia January 13, 1825. He received his preparatory education at Princeton, N.J., and then matriculated at the University of Pennsylvania, Collegiate Department, from which he graduated in 1843. In 1846, together with his brother Robert, he came to Lebanon county and erected the North Lebanon Furnaces (the first anthracite furnaces built in Lebanon county), where they began the manufacture of pig-iron. The brothers owned together a 15-48 interest in the Cornwall ore deposit. In 1852 Robert withdrew from the firm, and from that time until his death the North Lebanon Furnaces were owned and operated by George Dawson Coleman, and were left intact to his heirs. During his life Mr. Coleman was a successful and enterprising iron manufacturer, and was well and favorably known in that connection throughout the State. He was a large stockholder in the Pennsylvania Steel Company, at Steelton, Dauphin County. He was a warm supporter of the Government during the Civil war, and was one of that noble band of capitalists who furnished the sinews of war freely, and without whom the Government could not have prosecuted a successful fight against rebellion. He contributed liberally of his own means to the organization and equipment of the different regiments from his section of the State, and especial mention should be made of the Ninety-third Pennsylvania Volunteers, which regiment he was instrumental in raising, contributing over $10,000 for its equipment, and whose subsequent military career he watched with intense interest and solicitude. He also gave liberally to the assistance of the widows and orphans of those who fought in the ranks. Mr. Coleman was an active member of the Sanitary Commission, and frequently in person distributed its stores upon the battlefield. He was deeply interested in and cheerfully aided all movements tending to develop and improve the community. He was a member of the State Board of Charities from the time of its organization, in 1869, and was president of the same at the time of his death. For a number of years he was president of the First National Bank of Lebanon. In his earlier life he was prominent in the political affairs of the State, as a matter of duty serving during the Civil war in the State Assembly, and subsequently serving three years in the State Senate. His course as a legislator was marked by the faithful and conscientious discharge of all his duties, and he was recognized as a valuable coadjutor in the important work of legislation.

In his religious character Mr. Coleman was most exemplary. He took a deep and personal interest in the religious welfare of those in his employ, and erected and supported churches for them at Elizabeth and Lebanon Furnaces.

Several years before his death Mr. Coleman presented his grandfather’s residence at the corner of Front and Pine streets, Philadelphia, to St. Peter’s Church, contributing in addition a large sum for the purpose of altering and arranging the house for their mission work. His whole life was an example of generosity and kindness of heart, and in the community in which he lived and labored no man was more universally respected and beloved. His home life was a model of excellence and conjugal felicity. He married in 1852 Miss Deborah Brown, a native of Philadelphia, daughter of William and Deborah (Norris) Brown, who are now deceased, and she survived him, as did also two sons and five daughters. The following children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Coleman: Robert, Harriet, Debbie N., Sarah, James, Frances, William, Bertram Dawson, Edward and Annie.

George Dawson Coleman died at Lebanon September 9, 1878, after a long and useful life, mourned by a very large concourse of friends and neighbors, who were unanimous in the opinion that his death was a distinct public calamity.

--Biographical Annals Of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania : Containing Biographical Sketches Of Prominent And Representative Citizens, Page 1-3

Transcribed by Nancy Piper


Gen. John Peter Shindel Gobin

If, as has been written by one of the bards, “true history is biography,” it follows that to chronicle the deeds and achievements of the successful and representative citizens of a community is but to write the history of that community, and the biographer becomes the true historian. Thus it will be seen that the importance of making permanent record of the lives of men who have contributed to the material growth and development of a community, and have reflected credit and honor upon it, cannot be overestimated.

Lebanon county, Pa., counts among her citizens many who are well worthy of the distinction of receiving extended notice in any volume devoted to the annals of the county, and among all of them stands conspicuously Gen. John Peter Shindel Gobin, the present lieutenant governor of the Commonwealth, who by reason of his long and useful life, his brilliant military record, his distinguished career as a public official, and his sterling worth as a man, has won the admiration and esteem of all who know him, not only among his fellow citizens of Lebanon, but throughout the entire State.

Gen. Gobin is a native of Pennsylvania, having been born at Sunbury, Northumberland county, January 26, 1837, and comes of sturdy pioneer stock. His paternal ancestors were numbered among the soldiers of the Revolutionary and other wars of the country, while among his maternal ancestors were ministers of renown. Charles Gobin, his great-grandfather, was a captain in a battalion of Berks county associators, and served in the Jersey campaign in the war of the Revolution during the summer of 1780, and later was on the frontiers in command of a company of militia to protect the settlers from the threatened invasion of the Indians, Tories and British from New York. His grandfather, Edward Gobin, was a soldier of the war of 1812-14. On the maternal side, his grandfather, John Peter Shindel, for whom he was named, was a pioneer Lutheran minister, who resided in Lebanon at the beginning of the last century, removing to Sunbury, Pa., about the year 1812. His son, Rev. Jeremiah Shindel, a noted member of the Lutheran ministry, was born in Lebanon. Prior to studying for the ministry Rev. Jeremiah served an apprenticeship at the printer’s trade in Harrisburg, where he had as fellow workmen the late distinguished Pennsylvanians, Simon Cameron and William and John Bigler. Later he prepared for the ministry, in 1830 was licensed to preach, and in 1831 was ordained. In 1859 he was elected to the State Senate of Pennsylvania from the district composed of Lehigh and Northampton counties, serving as senator for three years. In 1862 he was appointed chaplain of the One Hundred and Tenth Regiment, P.V.I., and served two years.

The parents of Gen. Gobin were Samuel S. and Susan (Shindel) Gobin, the former of whom was a large contractor. Gen. Gobin inherited the martial spirit of his paternal ancestors, and the scholarly characteristics of those on the maternal side. He received an academic education in the schools of his native town, and learned the printer’s trade in the office of the Sunbury American. Later, under the preceptorship of M. L. Shindel and Gen. J. K. Clement, he studied law, and was admitted to the Bar in 1858. His early professional career, however, was interrupted by the breaking out of the Civil war, as, upon President Lincoln’s first call for three months’ men, he left his law practice and entered the army, April 19, 1861, as first lieutenant of Company F, Eleventh Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers. At the expiration of his term of enlistment he returned to his home, recruited a company, and on September 2, 1861, was commissioned captain of the same, which was mustered in as Company C, Forty-seventh Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers. Promotion was rapid for this intrepid young soldier, and he was successively advanced to the ranks of major, lieutenant-colonel and colonel of the Forty-seventh Regiment, and was brevetted brigadier-general of volunteers for meritorious services on March 13, 1865, and complimented in general orders for gallantry at the battle of Pocatalico, S.C. Beside the latter engagement he participated in those of St. John’s Bluff, Sabine Cross Roads, Pleasant Hill and Cane River Crossing, serving in the departments of the South, the Gulf and the Shenandoah. Gen. Gobin was with Gen. Sheridan in his celebrated campaign, during a portion of the time commanding a brigade in the Nineteenth Corps, participating in the battles of Opequan and Fisher’s Hill, and particularly distinguished himself at Cedar Creek, where his command was right of Sheridan’s line. When a portion of the line gave way from the severe pressure of the enemy’s front, which overlapped the Union force, Gen. Gobin held fast, and thus gave the enemy its first repulse, which proved the turning point in the tide of battle. For a time he was Judge Advocate General of the Department of the South, and remained with his regiment at Charleston, S.C., in command of the First sub-district, acting as Provost Judge of that city, until January, 1866. He was mustered out of the service on January 9th, of that year.

Immediately after leaving the army, Gen. Gobin located in Lebanon, and resumed the practice of his profession, and there he has since resided and followed the law, meeting with a success that has easily placed him at the head of the Lebanon County Bar. The public life of Gen. Gobin has been varied and uniformly successful and distinguished. Early in his professional career he served for a time as county solicitor of Lebanon county, and this was followed, in 1884, by his election to the State Senate, in which body he served continuously from that year until 1899, and unprecedented term, resigning in the latter year to assume the duties of the office of lieutenant-governor of the State, to which position he had been elected at the general election of 1898. He has served as a trustee of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home at Erie; as a commissioner of the Soldiers’ Orphan Schools; and as commissioner of the Gettysburg Monumental Association. In 1874 he was commissioned colonel of the Eighth Regiment, National Guard of Pennsylvania, and since 1885 he has been brigadier-general of the Third Brigade of the Guard, and commanded in the numerous riots of the State. During the Spanish-American war he held a commission as brigadier-general of volunteers.

Gen. Gobin assisted in the organization of the Grand Army of the Republic, and has had conferred upon him the highest honors of the organization, having been elected department commander in 1886, and commander-in-chief of the organization in the United States in 1897. He is an active member of the Loyal Legion, and of the Sons of the Revolution. In fraternal society circles he is very active and prominent; has been Grand Commander of the Knights Templars of Pennsylvania; Grand Captain General of the Grand Encampment of the United

States; Grand Generalissimo; Deputy Grand Commander and Grand Master of the United States. In Odd Fellowship he is a Past Grand Patriarch of the State of Pennsylvania.

Aside from his profession Gen. Gobin has various local interests and connections of importance, being a member of the board of directors of the First National Bank, of Lebanon, and of the Cornwall & Lebanon Railway Company, and also solicitor for both corporations.

As a soldier, public official, lawyer and citizen, Gen. Gobin has had a brilliant and uniformly successful career. As a young man he abandoned his chosen profession at the threshold, to go to the front and serve his country in her hour of peril with an ardor that patriotism could alone inspire, there to win laurels and fame; as a public official he has displayed wisdom, conservatism and executive ability far above the ordinary, winning merited recognition and promotion at the hands of his fellow-citizens and the State at large; as a lawyer he has won a place at the head of the Bar of both his country and State; and as a citizen, he leaves nothing to be desired.

Gen. Gobin is of pleasing personality; kind and courteous to all, of commanding figure and magnetic temperament, he impresses favorably all who come in contact with him. His characteristics are strong and rugged – a stanch friend, a good fighter, but generous foe, warm-hearted and charitable. These are traits which, coupled with his achievements, have endeared him to his many friends and won him the respect and admiration of his enemies, if enemies he has, and where is the man who has impressed his personality upon the affairs of his time that has not?

--Biographical Annals Of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania : Containing Biographical Sketches Of Prominent And Representative Citizens, Page 3-6

Transcribed by Nancy Piper



MURRAY, Lindley, grammarian, was born in Swarta, Pa., April 22, 1745; son of Robert Murray, His parents were Quakers, and he was educated in the Friends school in Philadelphia. His father settled in New York city in 1753, and he was trained for a mercantile career. He ran away from home in 1759 to escape the severity of his father and began a course of study at Burlington, N.J. He returned to his home in New York shortly afterward, was supplied with a tutor by his father, and with John Jay was a pupil in law under Benjamin Kissam, 1761-65. He was admitted to the bar in 1765, being licensed to practice in all the courts in the province, and shortly afterward went to England, where he remained until 1771. He practiced law, 1771-75, and in 1775 retired to Islip, Long Island, and spent four years in out-door employment and pleasure. He returned to New York city in 1779 and under the direction of his father made a fortune in commercial speculation. He retired from active life at the close of the Revolution and resided first on the Hudson and afterward at Bethlehem, Pa., but ill health forced him to live in England and he settled at Holdgate near York, in 1784. He was confined to his room for sixteen years by a muscular affection. He devoted himself to study and literary work, collected a library of historical, philological and theological works, and wrote "Murray's English Grammar" and "Murray's English Reader", introduced into all the English and American schools. He made a study of botany during the last years of his life, and his garden in its variety and rarity excelled the Royal gardens at Kews. The date of his marriage was June 22, 1767. Besides his English and French readers and spellling books he is the author of: The Power of Religion on the Mind (1787); English Grammar (1795); Selections from Bishop Home's Commentaries on the Psalms (1812); Biographical Sketch of Henry Tuke (1815); Compendium of Religious Faith and Practice: designed for Young Persons of the Society of Friends (1815); and On the Duty and Benefit of a Daily Perusal of the Scriptures (1817). See Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Lindley Murray in a Series of Letters written by himself, with a Preface and Continuation by Elizabeth Frank (1826). He died at Holdgate, near York, England, Feb. 16, 1826.
(Source: THE TWENTIETH CENTURY BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY OF NOTABLE AMERICANS. Vol 3, Publ. 1904. Transcribed by Richard Ramos)




Augustus Maulfair

AUGUSTUS MAULFAIR, a leading citizen of North Annville town-ship, was born at Maulfair Store, at the Union Waterworks, North Annville township, Lebanon county, July 15, 1843. a son of Daniel and Sarah N. (Clark) Maulfair.

Daniel Maulfair was born October 29, 1812, on the old family home-stead, about a half mile southwest from Belle Grove (which farm is now owned by Joseph Wagner), and died December 30, 1887. He was a son of John Maulfair, who was also born in Lebanon county. The great-grand-father of Augustus Maulfair was born in Germany and came to America with a brother, they being as far as discovered, the only members of the family who ever crossed the ocean. Together they established the old Maul-fair homestead. This was in pioneer days and before the country had been settled in their vicinity. The brother was killed by the Indians and his wife was captured, but she escaped from the savages five years later, but never recovered from the hardships she had been forced to endure, and died soon after. As they left no issue, John succeeded to the whole property. He had these children: Michael, who married Christina Ellenberger; John, who married Elizabeth Seltzer; Elizabeth, who married Peter Beck; Jacob, who married Sabina Winters; Henry, who married Elizabeth Walborn, of Berks county; Catherine, who married David Wagner; Polly, who married Abraham Bowman; Daniel; William, who married Eliza Bolton; Sarah, who married George Miller; Joseph, who married Priscilla Staeger; Mary, who married Joseph Earley; and Rebecca, who married Samuel Zimmerman.

Daniel Maulfair, the father of Augustus, married Sarah N. Clark, who was born August 11, 1820, in the neighborhood of Bunker Hill, a daughter of John and Elizabeth (Ellenberger) Clark, the former of whom was born in Lebanon county, a son of Jacob Clark, and the latter of whom was a daughter of Jacob Ellenberger. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Clark were: Sarah, the mother of Augustus Maulfair; Mary, the wife of Elijah Weidner; Rebecca. who died at the age of one year; Elizabeth, the wife of John Frank; John, who married LucilIa Bowman; Amanda, the wife of Jacob Mark; and Amos, single.

The children of Daniel and Sarah (Clark) Maulfair were: Augustus; Amos, who married Emma Lash, of Lebanon; Tacy Ann, married Isaac Steiner, of Sparrows Point, Md., and they had children: Warren (born February 11, 1877), Tacy Ann (born July 3, 1882, died in 1892), and Landrie M. (born November 10, 1888); and Daniel, who married Sarah Lick, resides at Lebanon and has two children, Forest and Tacy. On May 3, 1843, Daniel Maulfair opened a store at the Union Waterworks, and this enterprise has been in the hands of the family ever since. It was here that Augustus Maulfair learned the principles of business. His education was begun in the common schools, and completed by six months at the Annville Academy. In April, 1868,he succeeded to the store, and has conducted it continuously ever since except from April, 1876, until April, 1878, during which time it was rented to Ephraim Borgner. In April, 1878, Augustus Maulfair succeeded to the stole, continuing until in February, 1888, when he went to Lincoln, Lancaster Co., Pa., where he spent the year, returning to his store April I, 1889. During all these years until the canal was abandoned, he had served as weigh-master at the water works, a period from 1868 to 1881 inclusive. Mr. Maulfair has served for twelve years as school director, being appointed in 1886, I891, 1897, and in 1900. On August 16, 1898, he was appointed postmaster of Alger. He is one of the active Repub-licans of his district, and has never failed to cast his vote at any election, believing that to be a citizen's duty.

Augustus Maulfair married Catherine Dohner, born January 30, 1846, in North Annville township, west of the present home. She is a daughter of Bishop Jacob and Barbara (Brandt) Dohner, the former of whom was long bishop of the Mennonite Church in Lebanon county. He was born May 1, 1806, in Cornwall township, Lebanon county, and died January 31, 1881.  The mother of Mrs. Maulfair was born December 5, 1807, and died November 9, 1893, a daughter of Henry Brandt and his wife Maria Kreider, a daughter of Henry Kreider. Joseph Dohner, the grandfather, was a native of Lebanon county, who married Annie Kreider, sister of Jacob Kreider, who was the grandfather of Andrew, David and Joseph Kreider of Annville. Their children were: Jacob, bishop of the Mennonite Church; John, who married Catharine Long; Joseph, who married Mary Kreider; Christian who married Catharine Light; Moses, a Mennonite preacher, who married Catharine Huber: Annie, who married Christian Moyer; Mary, who married John Huber; Elizabeth, who married David Dohner; Catharine, who married Christian Burkholder; and Lydia, who married John Rider. The children of Bishop Dohner and wife were: Henry, born February 8, 1832, died unmarried January 16, 1896; Annie married Adam' Boger; Mary married Henry Fry; Jacob died at the age of three years; Elizabeth married Henry Miller; Joseph enlisted in the Ninety-third Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry in the Civil war, was taken prisoner, and died; Catharine became Mrs. Maulfair; John died in infancy; and Barbara married Michael Urich.

The children born to Augustus Maulfair and wife are: Homer, Albert and Carrie Annie, of whom Albert, born May 13, 1869, died September 13, 1870, Homer was born September 15, 1867, and resides in Lebanon; he married Jennie Boyd, daughter of William and Susan Boyd of Cornwall township, Lebanon county, and their children were: Boyd A. (born January 29, 1892, died October 12, 1893), Susan Catherine (born May 27, 1895), and Lamont (born July 20, 1896, and died August 20, 1896). Carrie Annie was born March 25, 1877, and married Harry W. Light, son of Felix and Catharine Light. A son, Clark Maulfair, was born September 16, 1899, but lived only fifteen days. This family is an old and honorable one, and is connected by marriage with many of the other prominent families of the county.

--Biographical Annals Of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania : Containing Biographical Sketches Of Prominent And Representative Citizens, Pages 346 - 348


Arthur Harry Strohman

Arthur Harry Strohman, treasurer of the Keystone Fruit company of Lebanon, was born in Lebanon county near this city, June 23, 1896, a son of Harry J. and Katie (Beck) Strohman, the former of whom is assistant superintendent for the Prudential Life Insurance company of Newark, N.J. at Lebanon. He was educated in the public schools of West Lebanon Township, and began his career in the employ of C. H. George, proprietor of a wholesale and retail fruits business in Lebanon. He applied himself to his work to such good purpose that when the Keystone Fruit company was projected in 1912 and organized June 15, that year, he was asked to become one of the organizers. He was one of the partners in this concern until it was incorporated in 1922 to handle the steadily increasing volume of business and at that time, he was elected to the offices of secretary and treasurer of the corporation. He now is treasurer of the firm and is regarded as one of the successful and able executives of the city for which the company has done much in enhancing its commercial prestige. In Masonry, he is a member of Lebanon Lodge No. 226, the Chapter and Council at Lebanon and holds membership in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Patriotic Order of Sons of America. He and his wife attend the Salem United Brethren church. His marriage to Carrie Long, daughter of Milton and Alice Long of Sunnyside, PA., occurred in 1916 and they have one son, Harold Arthur, who was born in 1917 and is a student in the Lebanon Junior High school.

Shenk, Hiram Herr,. A history of the Lebanon Valley in Pennsylvania. Harrisburg Pa.: National Historical Association, 1930. - Transcribed by Nancy Piper


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