Pennsylvania State Treasurers – Biographies (1880 to 1977)

This is an ongoing project to provide information about the individuals who have served as Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Treasury Department has served the Commonwealth since the 1700s. Many recognize Samuel Carpenter (1649-1714), a friend and partner of William Penn who also served as a Deputy Governor of colonial Pennsylvania, as the first treasurer of Pennsylvania (serving from 1704 to 1710, as well as 1711 to 1713).

Pennsylvania’s State Treasurer has not always been an independently elected office. The state’s original 1776 Constitution authorized the state House of Representatives to “choose … the treasurer of the state.”

The 1790 Constitution required that “The State Treasurer shall be appointed, annually, by the joint vote of the members of both Houses,” meaning the House of Representatives and the Senate – which did not exist prior to the 1790 Constitution. Pennsylvania’s 1838 Constitution continued that practice: “A State Treasurer shall be elected annually, by joint vote of both branches of the legislature.”

However, in 1872, the state constitution was amended to give the voters the ability to choose their Treasurer: “A state treasurer shall be chosen by the qualified electors of the state, at such times appointed and for such term of service as shall be prescribed by law.” Subsequently, the 1874 Constitution set the term of the State Treasurer at two years and prohibited officeholders from “holding the same office for two consecutive terms.”

The most recent change to the office of State Treasurer is found in the 1968 Constitution, which includes the following provision (Article IV, Section 18): “The terms of the Auditor General and of the State Treasurer shall each be four years from the third Tuesday of January next ensuing his election. They shall be chosen by the qualified electors of the Commonwealth at general elections but shall not be eligible to serve continuously for more than two successive terms. The State Treasurer shall not be eligible to the office of Auditor General until four years after he has been State Treasurer.”






Samuel Butler

1880-1882

Early Life & Childhood

One of five children born to a deep-rooted, Chester County Quaker farming family that were the original settlers of the area, Butler was born in Uwchlan Township on February 2, 1825, to James Butler (1767-1837) and Mary Phipps (1783-1866).

He was raised on the Uwchlan Township family farm that his ancestors had lived on for years, and starting in 1841 he attended local Unionville Academy after some experience in public schooling. Unionville Academy was a new school that was known at the time for its wide subject matter of algebra, history, grammar, surveying, and foreign languages, and other then Butler, its notable alumni included German minister Bayard Taylor.

Education and political ambition also ran in the family, as Butler’s older brother William later became a U.S. Circuit Court Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, his son Thomas became a U.S. Congressman, and his grandson General Smedley Darlington Butler (1881-1940) is one of only 20 men in the entire history of the United States to have ever received the Medal of Honor not once, but twice.


Family & Early Career/Political Involvement

After his schooling in the local public school system, and later graduating from Unionville Academy, Butler was hired there as a teacher and taught for about eight years, afterwards moving to Butler County, Ohio, for a short while. He returned to Uwchlan Township in 1850 and married fellow Chester County native and Quaker Margaretta Paschall Woodward (1831-1901) sometime around 1850. They had three children, Anna (1851-1940), Henry (1852-1931), and Thomas (1855-1928), the latter later becoming a congressman.

Upon his return and marriage, Butler returned to farming on his ancestral home in Uwchlan Township. He carried on with this for a number of years, including throughout his time in the Pennsylvania political arena. He served in the Civil War during this time, and continued to be a visible member of the community as a result of his ancestral ties and business dealings. He was once described by the Bedford County Press and Everett Press as being “held in high esteem by all the residents of Chester County…a very pleasant, courteous gentleman, strictly honest and honorable in all dealings.”

Well-established in the 1860s as a Chester County farmer, Butler then took to political pursuits and involvement in local and statewide politics as a member of the Republican Party. The Bedford County Press and Everett Press describes his career as being, for two consecutive terms, Director of the poor of Chester County. He was also Director of The National Bank of Downingtown, was annually re-elected to the post of Director of the Farmer’s National Bank of West Chester, and since its organization was a Director of the Chester County Guarantee, Trust and Safe Deposit Company. In his community, Butler also started a “debating school” for local individuals to voice their concerns to others about governmental going-ons.

As a result of his rising political profile, in 1870, he was nominated for State Treasurer by the Republican Party of Pennsylvania and lost. After his loss in 1870 for the role of State Treasurer, Butler ran for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and won. He served in the 1877, 1878 and 1879 House Sessions – giving up his seat to once again run for Treasurer.


Campaign & Role as Treasurer

In 1879, Butler launched another campaign for State Treasurer after being nominated. As reported during the Pennsylvania Republican Party Convention, in the Harrisburg Telegraph in July 1879, the party chair, in his remarks, said that “he had been requested by the citizens and Republicans of the county of Chester to place in nomination before you one of their citizens… I name to you, gentleman, Hon. Samuel Butler of Chester County.” He was consistently praised for his honesty, reputation, and fidelity.

Completely unopposed, Butler accepted the nomination and waltzed to victory in November by receiving the largest majority vote that any Republican had marked in Pennsylvania since the Civil War. However, he still had critics – an August 13, 1879, letter in the Selinsgrove Times-Tribune from a “Patriot” brands Butler an “an arrant fraud,” and The Allentown Democrat in October 1880 remarked that they could not understand “how the ‘ring’ came to select him as Treasurer.”

After being elected as State Treasurer, but before taking office, Butler discovered a $300,000 deficiency (about $8.7 million in 2022 dollars) in state funds from his predecessor. It “alarmed him terribly,” and he was reported to be completely taken aback as to how the discovery should be addressed. He met with his predecessor still in office, who newspapers say broke down in tears to Butler. “Never deviating from the path of duty,” Butler secured legal counsel and worked to ensure Treasury’s funds were all accounted for and repatriated. It was described as a “trying experience for poor Butler.”

Butler served as Treasurer from 1880 to 1882, and in 1881 was reported in the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader as a suggested Republican candidate for Governor. The newspaper referred to him as “one of the men who cannot be moved from the path he believes to be right.”


Failed Gubernatorial Campaign & Later Years

Attempting a jump from the Treasury to the governorship, Butler appeared to have overwhelming support for the Republican nomination in 1882. Newspapers were flooded with reports of his impending success at the convention, but for whatever reason – not made clear in newspaper reports, the entire planned ticket was nominated with the exception of Butler. He was beat out for Governor and as a consolation was put in the ring for a seat in Congress – where he placed second. Whatever political forces wanted Butler to fail were successful, and Butler’s statewide political career came to an unceremonious halt at the May 1882 state Republican Party convention.

Butler continued to live in Uwchlan Township after his time as Treasurer and failed run for Governor. Despite leaving the political arena with a loss under his belt, he was still well-respected in Republican circles and across the state, with many newspapers still referring to him as “Honest Sam Butler.”

He continued his agricultural pursuits and died at the age of 65 of a “long and severe illness” on February 1, 1891, in Chester County. He is buried with his wife at Oaklands Cemetery in West Goshen Township, Chester County.






Silas Bailey (Baily)

1882-1884

Early Life & Childhood

Silas Milton Bailey, sometimes spelled Baily, was born on January 4, 1836, in Brownsville, Fayette County, Pennsylvania to William H. Bailey (Baily) and Dorcas Nixon. He was the eldest child out of six that lived to adulthood, and his mother died when he was just ten years old.

His family originally had roots in Maryland, before deciding to settle for good in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. His father was a jeweler, who then turned his attention to law. He was admitted to the bar in 1845, with his wife, Dorcas Nixon, being described in History of Fayette County as a “farmer’s daughter.”

Silas’s family moved throughout Fayette County during his childhood, and they lived in Uniontown as of 1850, according to that year’s census. He attended the “common schools” in Fayette County, then entered Madison College for additional education before withdrawing and following in the footsteps of his father by taking up the jewelry business. After apprenticing for three years, he opened his own business in Greensville in 1858.


Civil War Service

At the age of 25, in May of 1861, Bailey put his jewelry business on pause and enlisted in the Civil War. Without any military experience, he gathered together the first large group of soldiers from Greene County, titling themselves the “Greene County Rangers” from Company I of the Pennsylvania Reserve’s Eighth Regiment. Bailey was elected Major of the entire Eighth Regiment, and together they took part in some of the Seven Days Battles.

Seriously wounded at one of those battles, The Battle of Gaines Mill, he recovered after four months and rejoined the Rangers in September of 1862. His horse was shot out from under him during the Battle of Antietam, and Bailey was wounded once again at the Battle of Fredericksburg. After that, he was promoted to Colonel and had various other leadership duties. When the war wound down, he was breveted by President Andrew Johnson in May of 1865 and was named a Brigadier General.


Post-War & Early Political Service

Returning to Uniontown widely considered a military hero, Bailey resumed his work as a jeweler and silversmith. A staunch Republican – but one who was reported as not being active in seeking leadership – he was nominated without “solicitation by himself or his friends” in 1878 to run for Congress. It was described as a hopeless campaign that he still made an effort to win. And despite his eventual loss, Bailey led the Republican ticket by a considerable margin. In 1880, he was elected to be a Grant-supporting delegate at the Republican Convention, and on September 8, 1881, he was nominated at the Pennsylvania Republican Convention to be the nominee for State Treasurer by a vote of 157-84, defeating Sen. William Bradford of Bradford County.

In nominating Bailey for this position, Pennsylvania Attorney General Henry Palmer described him as “a man in the prime of life … a man who attested his love of liberty.” After a spirited campaign, Bailey won a plurality due to a Republican-Independent being in the race – he defeated the Democratic candidate by almost 7,000 votes. Upon taking office, the Harrisburg Daily Independent described the previous Treasurer, Samuel Butler, as leaving Bailey “a clean balance sheet and a clear course.” His Democratic opponent, Robert E. Pattison, became governor in 1883.


Time as Treasurer & Other Political Aspirations

Bailey served as Treasurer from 1882 to 1884. He fought with shuttered banks to get state funds returned, and filed lawsuits to claw back taxpayer dollars. His initial 1883 report on Pennsylvania’s economic health was “a very satisfactory paper,” according to the Chambersburg Public Weekly Opinion, and he was described as someone who was moving Pennsylvania “in the direction of real reform.”

However, at the conclusion of his term in 1884 and in the following years, he was attacked repeatedly by his successor in the press and was even sued by the Commonwealth for not clawing back enough taxpayer dollars from shuttered banks. They thought he should be held personally liable for this financial loss; however, Bailey did not let the slight stop his further political aspirations. In summing up his time as Treasurer, Indiana Progress said of Bailey “he went out of office a poor man.”

In 1890, Bailey made an unsuccessful bid to be Sergeant-at-Arms of the United States Senate. He lost despite the support of Senator Matthew Quay, also chair of the Republican National Committee at that time. Bailey then turned his sights to be the Pension Agent at Pittsburgh, once again with Senator Quay’s support. However, it appears that he did not obtain that position, either. Continuing with his profession as a jeweler and silversmith, Bailey sold his business and retired early in 1900, shortly before his death.


Later Years & Death

Never married, and never having children, “Gen. Bailey,” as he was frequently referred to, died on May 5, 1900, in Uniontown. His death was reportedly caused by complications from one of the bullet wounds he obtained from his service in the Civil War. He had been “sick for some time” according to the Monongahela Valley Republican and was buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, located in South Union Township.






William Livsey

1884-1886, 1887-1888, 1889-1890

Early Activities & Beginnings of A Political Career

William Livsey was born around November 13, 1828, in England. His immediate background, as well as when he came to the United States, is unclear, however it is known that he was a veteran of the Crimean War and was present during the siege of Sebastopol, serving in the Commissary Department of the English Army.

After immigrating to this country likely in the 1850s, he settled in Pittsburgh and entered civil service as a Treasury Clerk there. While serving, he traveled west at the start of The Civil War and enlisted in a Union Illinois regiment. He survived the war, returned to Pittsburgh, and resumed his career in the financial sector as a bookkeeper for the Pittsburgh-based firm Littell & Meckling. During this time, he also married a woman by the name of Mary Ann.

After time had passed at Littell & Meckling, Livsey moved back to civil service as Clerk under Treasurer Magee, and Chief Clerk in Pittsburgh. When Samuel Butler was elected State Treasurer, he appointed Livsey as Cashier of the Pennsylvania Treasury. He held this position until Butler’s term expired, and despite urges by incoming Treasurer Silas Bailey to stay on, decided to instead be installed as Chief Clerk in the Controller’s Office.

When the Controller died in office, Livsey took his place permanently. The Telegraph described him as “of a retiring disposition, but is a genial gentleman and makes friends with all whom he becomes acquainted.”


Beginning to Run for Office

While running for his first elected term as Treasurer in 1883, as a Republican, Livsey was described by The Sentinel as someone with a “thorough knowledge of financial affairs, having been thoroughly trained in the banking business … during the term of Treasurer Butler he was Chief Clerk of the State Treasury and was reappointed to that responsible position by Treasurer Bailey.”

Livsey did not have an easy waltz to the Republican nomination for Treasurer in 1883. He initially placed a distant second on the crowded ballot before eventually claiming victory on the sixth tally. He was also facing discrimination, with the Harrisburg Telegraph detailing reports describing Livsey as a “British subject … [a] sympathizer with the oppressors of Ireland.”

He won the general election despite this pushback, with The Tribune declaring on November 8, 1883 that, “In Pennsylvania, The Republicans have elected William Livsey, of Allegheny, for State Treasurer.”


Terms as Treasurer & Campaigns

Livsey’s first term as Treasurer of Pennsylvania lasted from 1884 to 1886. As far as the daily running of the office went, he made general published reports about the condition of the Pennsylvania Treasury, as like appeared in the Harrisburg Telegraph on August 1, 1885. He did not serve without critics, however. A few months prior, on July 14, 1885, it was reported in the Lancaster New Era that “the present incumbent, William Livsey, has I am told, lost $10,000…(he) will leave office at the end of the horn.”

More than six months before his first term ended in May of 1886, it was reported in November 1885 that Livsey’s ally, political boss and U.S. Senator Matthew Quay, would be retaining him as Cashier of the Treasury afterwards. This came true, as on May 3, 1886, it was reported by the Harrisburg Telegraph that with the expiration of Livsey’s term, “his connection with the office would not cease.” Not all Pennsylvanians held Livsey in high regard, though; he was referred to as a “creature” in the York Democratic Press on May 7, 1886.

While serving as Cashier through 1887, his ally, Treasurer (later Senator) Quay resigned. Livsey then once again held the role as Treasurer for the term of 1887 to 1888, as reported in the Sunbury American. “The resignation was accepted and Ex-State Treasurer William Livsey, the cashier under Col. Quay, was immediately appointed to the vacancy.”

Upon leaving office for this second term, incoming Treasurer Capt. William Hart found the state accounts to be “correct to a cent, and the balance sheet clean” as was written in the Reading Times on May 8, 1888. He also became an aide with the rank of Lt. Colonel, on the staff of Pennsylvania Governor James Beaver.

On November 13, 1889, Livsey was appointed to one final term as Treasurer by Governor James Beaver, to fill the term of the late Capt. Hart who had died in office. This would be Livsey’s third term as Treasurer, elected to the position only once, and appointed twice. A little more than a week later after his appointment, a sweeping grand jury indictment was brought against allies of Senator Matthew Quay, including Livsey.

The grand jury was investigating Livsey, along with at least four former state treasurers – Quay, Hart, Henry Boyer and Benjamin Haywood – and others for improper use of state funds. This continued for much of his last appointed term, and in July 1891, while news continued to be spread constantly about his possible misuse of funds and corruption allegations against him and other Treasury officials in Pennsylvania, Livsey completely disappeared.


Later Life & Death

Livsey’s later life, much like his early life, is mostly a mystery. After fleeing Harrisburg and possibly Pennsylvania to avoid professional ridicule and potential legal issues in July 1891, he disappeared from public life for many years.

It is known that he stayed around Pittsburgh, and moved from there to the Detroit Metropolitan area around 1900, to be closer to his only son. He died five years later around the age of 76 on April 16, 1905, in Michigan, and is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Watertown, Jefferson County, Michigan. He left behind several adult children. His wife, Mary Ann, had passed just shy of a year prior.






Matthew Quay

1886-1887

Early Life

Matthew Stanley Quay, a boss of Pennsylvania political machinery in the mid-to-late 19th century, was born in Dillsburg, York County, Pennsylvania, on September 30, 1833, to the Rev. Anderson Quay and his wife, Catherine McCain.

In his early years, he attended academies in Beaver and Indiana counties before heading off to Jefferson College, now Washington & Jefferson College. He was a member of Beta Theta Pi and graduated in 1850 to begin reading law.


Political Beginnings, Personal Life, & Military Service

While beginning his career as a lawyer in Beaver County, Quay began to be drawn towards political pursuits. He ran for and was elected to the position of Beaver County Prothonotary, which he held from 1855 to 1861. When the Civil War broke out, Quay served as a First Lieutenant and Colonel with the 134th Pennsylvania Volunteer division. His service to these roles caught the attention of Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtin, who tapped him to serve as his own personal private military secretary.

Quay often answered the mail of soldiers and their families who would write to Governor Curtin. The Governor, seeing Quay operating in this role, later appointed him to the position of Assistant Commissary General of Pennsylvania and Military Secretary of Pennsylvania from 1863 to 1865. Quay saw active duty despite his service with the Governor, and was awarded a Medal of Honor in 1888 for his actions during The Battle of Fredericksburg.

A Republican, he was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for the 1865, 1866, and 1867 terms, declining reelection in 1868. He was publisher and editor of Beaver Radical from 1868 to 1873, and was elected as a Delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1872, 1876, 1880, 1892, 1896, and 1900. He was Chair of the Republican State Committee from 1878 to 1879 and again from 1895 to 1896, and he was appointed Secretary of the Commonwealth from 1872 to 1878 and from 1879 to 1882.

In 1855, Quay married Agnes Barclay and the couple had numerous children. Only five lived to adulthood.


Campaign For & Time as Treasurer of Pennsylvania

Quay, fully in control of the political machinery, campaigned to become Treasurer of Pennsylvania in 1885 for the 1886 to 1887 term. It was a controversial campaign, with many newspapers publishing stories and letters to the editor regarding their opposition to him.

He also faced a “wealth of religious opposition” according to the Lancaster Intelligencer, and the Wilkes-Barre Union Leader wrote that “With Matt Quay … managing the state funds there would be no end to the possibilities of speculation. Newspapers outside the state wrote highly of him, with the New York Tribune calling his acceptance of the nomination “not a machinic one.” In reply, the Chambersburg Valley Spirit wrote that Quay must have had to “keep from laughing aloud” upon reading it. The Philadelphia Times published an excerpt from a Philadelphia-area party speech in which the local party boss said “Matthew Quay is the most unfit, desperate, reckless and dangerous man in all our Commonwealth and not a respectable banker or businessman.”

However, most knew that Quay would have an easy waltz to the Republican nomination and victory in general election. The opening line in the Philadelphia Times article reporting his acceptance of the Republican nomination was, “The buzz-saw cut clear through today.”

As expected, Quay won the general election for Treasurer of Pennsylvania and served from 1886 to 1887. His name was in the papers nonstop, with allegations of corruption, mismanagement, planned runs for higher office, and more. His attention to the Treasury during his term was questioned, and he immediately ran for and won election as a United States Senator. He resigned as Treasurer on August 24, 1887.


Later Political Pursuits

Quay was additionally appointed Philadelphia Recorder in 1879, a position created for him by the Legislature, although as a political move he shortly ditched the position. He served as Chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1888 to 1891, and he was frequently quoted as saying that his work as RNC Chair was personally responsible for the election of Benjamin Harrison as President. Harrison said that “Providence” attributed to his victory, but Quay replied that “Providence hadn’t a thing to do with it.” Harrison went on to tell people that Matthew Stanley Quay of Beaver County, Pennsylvania, was a presidential kingmaker.

The capstone of his political career was serving as a United States Senator from 1887 to 1899 and from 1901 to 1904. With controversy over the election and his seating as a Senator, Quay’s power over the Pennsylvania political machine waned in later years, although he still claimed responsibility for the selection of Theodore Roosevelt as Vice President for the 1900 U.S. Presidential Election. That controversy, which raged on from 1899 to 1901, revolved around a criminal trial for misappropriating public funds. In the end, he was acquitted and returned to the Senate – however, different political factions blocked his re-seating for almost two years.


Death

His legacy as a political boss is mixed. One of the first known political figures bought by Standard Oil, Quay controlled almost all federal construction patronage and ran a political machine that dominated Pennsylvania politics for many years. Through various political chairmanships, appointments, positions, elected offices, agreements, and controversial elections, Quay “was a central figure in Pennsylvania politics from the 1860s until his death … [H]e was responsible year in and year out for supervising the party organization and patronage system. His role in the U.S. Senate was to supervise political affairs back in Pennsylvania. He paid little attention to legislation except for higher tariffs to benefit his state's manufacturing industries and keep wages high.”

Quay died in office as a U.S. Senator on May 28, 1904, in Beaver County, and is buried at Beaver Cemetery and Mausoleum.






William Hart

1888-1889

Early Life & Military Service

William Hart was born on March 15, 1842, in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, one of seven children to John Hart and Almira Hallman. His father, a carpenter, was born in Montgomery County, and his mother was born in the county as well. His ancestors, according to the Harrisburg Telegraph, “were among the first settlers in the state, and were always distinguished for thrift, energy, and culture.”

Hart was raised in the Whitemarsh and Upper Merion areas, attending the county common school, and around the age of 14, started working as a farmhand to support himself financially. At 17, he started apprenticing to become a bricklayer, and about two and a half years later, he dropped the trade in order to serve in the Civil War.

Around the age of twenty, he enlisted as a Captain in the 51st Pennsylvania Volunteer Division, Company F. Hart served for three years and fought in numerous battles, being named Assistant Adjutant General of Volunteers on May 1, 1865. Under the command of General John Hartranft, who later served as Governor of Pennsylvania, Hart served until being mustered out in September of 1865 “with high honors,” according to the Harrisburg Daily Independent.

He married Salome Beyer on November 15, 1866, at St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Philadelphia. The couple had three children and lived primarily in Dauphin County.


Next Steps & Beginning of Government Service

When his military service had subsided, Hart received a clerkship in the Pennsylvania Treasury in 1867. He served in this capacity until 1871, when he was made Assistant Pennsylvania Treasurer/Cashier of the Pennsylvania Treasury. Upon taking the position, his predecessor remarked of him in the Reading Times by saying “with his pleasing manner, great qualifications, and strict integrity, he ought to succeed. He must succeed.”

Outside of the Treasury, Hart was involved in local business. As written about in the Perry County Democrat, he “had been secretary of the Huntingdon Reformatory Commission and secretary and treasurer of the Commonwealth Guarantee Trust and Safe Deposit Company” since the organizations were founded.

Hart held the role of Assistant Pennsylvania Treasurer/Cashier of the Pennsylvania Treasury for seven years, until he ran for State Treasurer in 1887. He had the “inside track” for the Republican nomination, which he received, however he lost the general election to Democrat Amos Noyes. Due to the office changing political hands, his position was terminated, and Hart was out from the Pennsylvania Treasury after over ten years of service.


Second Run for Treasurer, Time in Office, & Death

Years later, Hart once again ran for state Treasurer. He was nominated by Senator Alexander F. Thompson (R-Dauphin County) at the 1887 State Republican Convention, who praised Hart as possessing “all the requisite qualifications to perform the arduous duties of that position,” according to the Harrisburg Telegraph. “Capt. Hart, in the various positions which he has held, has proved himself an honest, faithful, efficient, and incorruptible public servant … [C]onsistent in his Republicanlism, he has at all times adhered to the principles for which he fought on the field of battle.”

Unopposed, Hart claimed the nomination and moved onto the general election, which he won by 45,000 votes. As Treasurer, he “served the people of the Commonwealth with carefulness and faithfulness. Conservative in the management of the Treasury, the interests of the people (were) carefully guarded and their finances scrupulously cared for.” He was a “noble man” who had “ability and intelligence in grasping difficult problems,” as reported in the Harrisburg Daily Independent upon his death.

Unfortunately, he did not complete his full term as Pennsylvania Treasurer. Afflicted with an illness related to the brain, Hart succumbed to his ailment and died in Harrisburg on November 9, 1889. He was buried in Harrisburg Cemetery, leaving a wife and two children.

Remarking upon his tenure, the Harrisburg Daily Independent also wrote in November 1889 that “his was an administration … of success.”






Henry K. Boyer

1890-1892

Early Life

Henry Kline Boyer was born on February 19, 1850, in Evansburg, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. The youngest of two children to blacksmith Ephraim Boyer and his wife Rebecca Kline, Henry was raised mainly in Montgomery County, with his father at one point even being the official town blacksmith of Evansburg. He attended formal schooling in Montgomery County from a young age, with an aptitude for math and a love for English and history. Boyer later attended Freeland Seminary, which is now known as Ursinus College.

He completed his formal education at only sixteen years of age, and in 1866 became a schoolteacher at the public school in his neighborhood. Kline then moved on to other teaching positions, including ones with a “classical academy” in Philadelphia and a Quaker school in the Byberry neighborhood of the city.

In 1868, he received a grammar school teaching certificate and moved to Camden, New Jersey, to work as the principal of a school there. Boyer did this until 1871, at that time he left his position in Camden to pursue the study of law in Philadelphia at the firm of former United States Attorney General Benjamin H. Brewster. In 1873, at the age of 23, Boyer was admitted to the Bar in Philadelphia County, where he focused on civil cases.


Political Career Begins & Flourishes

Starting out as a lawyer, Boyer took up permanent residence in Philadelphia and practiced well through the 1880s, attracting political attention. He was an active member of the Young Republicans of Philadelphia, and “his growing inclination for public affairs led him in the Spring of 1882 to attend a meeting of Republicans … to (choose) delegates for the state convention.” He was announced then as a delegate for the Seventh Ward of Philadelphia. He received a strong showing but lost. In the fall, he then ran for and won his first race, for the Pennsylvania Statehouse. Winning handily, Boyer had gone from a lawyer to a politician.

Henry K. Boyer served as State Representative for the 7th District of Philadelphia County for six terms, both before and after his time as Treasurer. Boyer served from 1883 to 1890, 1893 to 1894, and 1897 to 1898. He became a powerhouse in the State Legislature, with some of his legislative activities involving being a driving force behind the bill that created the Pennsylvania State Board of Health, encouraging citizens to plant trees, and regulating pharmacies. His action on these matters during his first term did not go without notice, as on January 4, 1887, at the age of 37, Boyer was elected as the unanimous choice of the Pennsylvania House Republican Caucus to be the next Speaker of the House. He was elected Speaker again the next term, and for a third non-consecutive time upon his return to the house in 1896 after serving as Treasurer.


As Treasurer

The sitting Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Boyer was elected as Treasurer of Pennsylvania in 1889. The State Republican Convention, which less than 10 years before had denied his bid to be only a delegate to it from Philadelphia, unanimously selected him as their pick for Treasurer. Pennsylvania Senator Boies Penrose introduced him at the convention, with the Philadelphia Times quoting Penrose as saying that he knew of “no other man” for the job.

In his acceptance speech, Boyer said he was a “proud and happy man,” and that the party had “made a correct choice. … I assure you I will endeavor to merit your confidence.” Boyer was elected in what was the largest total majority ever given to a Republican candidate in a political off-year. When the returns were coming in, the Snyder County Tribune reported that “Well, we have got Boyer and are very happy.”

In the role of Treasurer, Boyer authored the extensive Revenue Act of 1891, and he saw to it that schools specifically received substantial funding. However, in 1891, Boyer was locked in a corruption scandal along with Auditor General Thomas McCamant. A Philadelphia politico had been discovered that year as being corrupt, so a sweep across the Commonwealth revealed allegations of corruption…as far as Boyer’s direct role in any corruption, it was written that he was “criminally negligent at best and corrupt at worst.”

The scandal ultimately did not lead to his removal from office after the Senate split on talks to oust him, although Dauphin County prosecutors charged him with the misappropriation of $600,000 in funds. Once again, it never got off the ground, and Boyer retired at the end of his term while immediately making another successful bid to the Pennsylvania House and Speakership.


Later Life & Death

Boyer went back to the House after his term as Treasurer, holding the Speakership once more. The Capitol burned down during his tenure, and Boyer led sessions of the Legislature from places like the nearby federal courthouse and Grace United Methodist Church. He resigned from the House on January 17, 1898, after being appointed as Superintendent of the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia. He retired from the Superintendent position in 1902, and after that, spent the rest of his life in various pursuits.

He was a fan of farming, especially dairy farming, and at one point through his retirement had a 130+-acre dairy farm that he worked painstakingly on. It was reported that at this farm, Boyer remodeled every single farm building, purchased the best farm implements, got everything up to date, and had some of the most fertile soil in Pennsylvania. Besides investing in his dairy farm, he invested in land and other buildings, such as an old hotel, and enjoyed planting as much foliage as possible around his many acres of land, just as he encouraged citizens to do in one of his signature bills as a state representative.

In 1910, he was living as a boarder in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, in 1920 he was living by himself in Lower Providence, Pennsylvania, and in 1930 Boyer was living in Red Hill, Pennsylvania.

Never married, and never having children, Henry K. Boyer died at the age of 83, days shy of his 84th birthday, on February 14, 1934, in Red Hill, Pennsylvania. He was buried at Chelten Hills Cemetery. The York Dispatch eulogized him as “one of the well[-]known figures of a past generation in politics,” and the Philadelphia Inquirer highlighted him as “an outstanding figure in Pennsylvania politics in the last quarter of the 19th century.”






John W. Morrison

1892-1894

Early Life

John Wallace Morrison was born in the Philadelphia area on February 15, 1841, to Irish parents John Morrison and Hannah Wallace. He was one of at least 11 children and was raised mainly in western Pennsylvania. Living in Mercer County at a young age, Morrison obtained an apprenticeship position in Pittsburgh to work as an errand boy and assistant for a photography store owned by a brother-in-law. It was the same store and business that he would buy outright years later, and a position that Morrison would hold until the beginning of the Civil War.


Military Service, Community Engagement, & Political Beginnings

In 1861, Morrison returned to the Mercer County area from Pittsburgh and enlisted in the military. He was a Private in Company E, 100th Pennsylvania Volunteers Division. Eighteen months of being in this role led to a promotion as Sgt. Major, after two months he was then a Second Lieutenant, and then he held that position until mustered out of service. While in the military, the Harrisburg Telegraph reports him as always being “lively, cheerful, hopeful, (and) full of grit … his splendid record as a comrade and soldier since the war make him exceedingly popular with all classes.”

Morrison returned to work as a merchant in Pittsburgh after the war, marrying Jerusha Burchfield shortly after his return. Together, they raised their family mostly in Bellevue, Allegheny County. In the 1880s, while living in Bellevue and being active in the community as a bookkeeper, Morrison was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives as a Republican. He served as Journal Clerk of the House (1885-1887) and Chief Clerk of the House (1889-1891). After his stint as a Representative, Morrison decided to seek the position of Treasurer of Pennsylvania.


Path To & Time as Treasurer of Pennsylvania

Morrison, living in Allegheny County at the time, was nominated for Treasurer on the first ballot at the State Republican Convention in August 1891, with a vote in affirmation of 167-31-2. There, Mr. A.C. Robertson of Allegheny County stated that Morrison’s name was “a synonym … for honesty and bravery … the Allegheny contingent fairly cheered themselves hoarse over Mr. Robertson’s eloquence and the record of the man.” The Carlisle Evening Herald also reported that Morrison and the rest of the statewide Republican slate “were vigorously cheered, returned their thanks, and (then) the convention adjourned.”

Morrison went on to defeat his opponent, and was sworn in as Treasurer in 1892. Upon taking office, he was “highly pleased” with the Commonwealth’s finances. He was popular throughout his two-year term, filing the normal Treasury statements in papers throughout the Commonwealth while at the same time being lauded by the press.

Upon leaving office, The Harrisburg Telegraph reported that he “leaves the position with the hearty and well-deserved praise of citizen of the State. A partisan in politics, his political predilections were never shown in the conduct of the affairs of his department. Scrupulously honest, hewing to the line at all times when the interests of the State were to be furthered, a good business man, courteous at all times, he was an official of who the State could well be proud. The people of Pennsylvania made no mistake when they elected John W. Morrison State Treasurer. He went into office with the idea that the State’s business was his particular private business, and on that line he based all of his actions. That he succeeded is evident.”

Speaking more about his time as Treasurer, the Harrisburg Daily Independent said of Morrison that he “has been assiduous in the discharge of the duties of his office, only spending Sunday of each week with his family at Alleghany … [H]e is to-day one of the most popular officials that has ever served the state of Pennsylvania. The attaches of the treasury as well as all other state departments and citizens of Harrisburg regret to see Captain Morrison leave the position which he held and filled with so much honor and nobility.”


Later Political Pursuits & Death

After the end of his term, Morrison moved to Delaware County with his family and was appointed Deputy Commissioner of Banking for the State of Pennsylvania in 1895. He served in the role for more than 20 years. He died on August 12, 1934, in Radnor, Pennsylvania, months after the passing of his wife. He was survived by four children, and was buried in Valley Forge Memorial Gardens in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.






Samuel Jackson

1894-1896

Early Life

A Civil War Union Brevet Brigadier General, Samuel McCartney Jackson was born on September 24, 1833, near Apollo, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. The youngest of two children to farmer John Jackson and his wife Elizabeth McCartney, Henry was raised mainly on the family farm in Apollo. At the age of 12, he enlisted as a drummer boy in the Pennsylvania Militia. Jackson held membership for many years, well through the Civil War, and at the age of 16 he started schooling at Jacksonville Academy in Indiana County. After the unexpected death of his father, he dropped out after a year of schooling and focused his pursuits on the militia while residing in the Apollo area.

After trading in his early dream of a strong liberal arts education for an early career in the militia, Jackson moved up through the military ranks. When the Civil War broke out while in his mid-20s, Jackson committed the actions in which he was always remembered for. About his service, it was written that “he was promoted step by step until he obtained a Captain’s commission … [A]t Spotsylvania, Jackson commanded his Brigade so well that he was brevetted a Brigadier General. At Gettysburg, General Jackson displayed his keenness of judgment and powers of command by ordering his Regiment forward … he fought at Second Bull Run, Antietam, and Fredericksburg just to name a few.”

As a farmer and merchant with strong roots to the area, Jackson additionally served as postmaster of Apollo in 1861, and later was elected Burgess. In these positions as a community leader and politician, he was vital to bringing the sheet steel industry to the Kiskiminetas (Kiski) Valley.

In 1860, Jackson married Martha Byerly, with whom he had three children. She died in 1864, and in December 1869 he remarried Mary Easton Wilson in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. They had two children. Through his youngest daughter, Elizabeth Jackson Stewart, Jackson is the great-grandfather of famed 20th century actor James Stewart, who was born in Indiana County.


Post-Civil War: Political & Business Endeavors

In 1871, Jackson assisted in organizing the Apollo Savings Bank, serving as Cashier there until 1882 when President Chester Alan Arthur appointed him as an IRS collector for the area. He served in that position until 1885, until political removal by President Arthur. Jackson was later elected president of Apollo Savings Bank, which changed its name to the Apollo Trust Company. He held that position until his death. After the war ended, Jackson was also involved in the oil business in Venango County, Pennsylvania; however, he returned to Armstrong County in 1889.

That year, using his status as a Civil War leader, community merchant, and local politician, he was elected to the Pennsylvania General Assembly as a Representative for the 1868 and 1869 terms. It was a position in which Jackson was later re-elected to, and eventually, decided against a third term. He was later elected to and served in the State Senate from 1875 to 1876. In the Senate, Jackson was Chairman of the Bank Committee, and a member of the Bill Comparison and Military Affairs Committee.

In 1886, Jackson and others in the Apollo community assisted in the founding of the firm of P. H. Laufman & Co. Limited, with a capital stock of $150,000. They had three mills in operation, with Jackson being elected Treasurer as a stockholder. The company was sold to the United States Steel Corporation in 1900. Jackson was a lifelong member of the Presbyterian Church, and was also an elder. As a politician and leader, he was active in local affairs, seeking to improve the life of the public.


As Treasurer

After serving terms as a Pennsylvania Representative and Senator, being considered at times a candidate for Governor, and receiving the endorsement of his county to run for Congress but never officially doing so, the last elected position Jackson ran for and held was that of Treasurer of Pennsylvania. The nomination that year was his for the taking – with his background and party connections, the field was cleared in his favor.

After securing the nomination by acclamation, he was elected to the position in 1893 with a margin of more than 135,000 votes. Before the election, The Harrisburg Telegraph wrote that Jackson was a man who “deserves honor.” He took office in 1894 and appointed B.J. Haywood as Cashier, keeping all other staffing assignments intact. Jackson kept the office in seemingly good financial condition, and retired upon the completion of his term in 1896.


Later Life & Death

After retiring from politics, Jackson remained active in community affairs and was widely respected across the Commonwealth until his passing. After an illness, Brevet Brigadier General Jackson died on May 8, 1906 in Apollo. He is buried in Apollo’s Riverview Cemetery. Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, published in 1904, writes that “his was surely the fullness of an ideal life. As a soldier he was obedient and brave; as an officer, gallant and fearless; as a statesman, conscientious and wise.”






Benjamin Haywood

1896-1898

Early Life & Starting Out in Business

Benjamin Haywood was born on April 12, 1849, in Hickory Township, Mercer County, Pennsylvania. His family was living on a farm in what is now Hermitage. He was one of four children born to Benjamin and Catherine (Long) Haywood. His parents were described in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as “well-respected citizens of the community.” Both of his parents were also born in Pennsylvania, and his father was a farmer.

Being raised in Mercer County, Haywood was a member of the local home guard and was educated in the county common schools. At sixteen, he entered the Iron City Business College of Pittsburgh for business courses. While working as a clerk around this time, he discerned that he preferred retail merchandising, and after his formal education took that on as a profession.

In 1873, he took a position as a bank teller in West Middlesex Borough, Mercer County, and stayed in that position for five years. Haywood was extremely involved in West Middlesex politics, also serving as a member of the Borough Council, Auditor, and three terms as Burgess. He additionally held memberships in fraternal organizations, including the Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Freemasons.

Around the same time that he switched his profession more into the financial world, Haywood married Elizabeth Powell on July 29, 1873. The couple had no children.


Political Involvement & Professional Development

Four years after his marriage, Haywood accepted an appointment as postmaster of West Middlesex, a position he held from 1877 to 1885. He additionally became a Message Clerk for the Pennsylvania Senate during the 1885 and 1887 sessions, and served for four years as Chairman of the Mercer County Republican Committee. His work as Chairman was well-noted and received, with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writing that Haywood “displayed great tact in organizing the Republican forces and wresting the control of the county from Democrats.”

In 1887, Haywood was elected to a three-year term as Prothonotary of Mercer County, and shortly after the expiration of that term, he was appointed receiver of the First National Bank of Clearfield by the Comptroller of the Currency. Writing about his role there, the Snyder County Tribune said “his management of the affairs of this institution was such as to win for him the highest approval. The creditors were paid in full, the stockholders have received a dividend of 30%, and there is prospect of more.”

In 1893, Haywood ran for the Republican Nomination to be the Treasurer of Pennsylvania as a political ally of the powerful Pennsylvania Senator, Matthew Quay. He was sidetracked from contention due to conflict between dueling political machines in different corners of the Commonwealth, with the Pittsburgh Press declaring on August 14, 1893, that Haywood had been “dumped … it can now be accepted as settled that (Col. Samuel) Jackson will be the Republican nominee for State Treasurer.” Haywood quickly dropped out of the race.

In 1894, he was appointed Cashier of the Pennsylvania Treasury Department by Col. Samuel Jackson, the same man who had beat him out for the nomination the prior year. He held this position until his own election outright as Pennsylvania Treasurer.


Campaign & Time as Treasurer

In 1895, as Cashier of the Pennsylvania Treasury Department, Haywood garnered enough support from county political organizations across the Commonwealth to set himself up for another run for Treasurer. Described by the Harrisburg Telegraph as a “genial, big-hearted Republican,” it was a waltz to the nomination.

At the Pennsylvania Republican Party Convention that year, his nomination was introduced by the Hon. Representative Henry Hall (R-Mercer County) and approved by acclamation. He defeated his Democratic opponent by more than 174,000 votes, and took office in 1896.

As Treasurer, Haywood maintained an active political profile, supporting Sen. Quay for the Presidency and becoming involved in a number of political disputes. The Treasury remained in what appeared to be good order throughout his term, however Haywood, Quay, and other politicos became embroiled in a lawsuit regarding the use of public funds, it consumed press coverage for a good portion of his final time in office. Despite this, Haywood was described by press reports as one of the most popular Treasurers to date.

Upon the expiration of his term, he was re-appointed as Cashier of the Pennsylvania Treasury by his successor, James Beacom.


Post-Office & Death

Haywood was sick while leaving office, and the illness continued while he worked in his old role as Cashier of the Pennsylvania Treasury. His time in Harrisburg became less frequent. In 1898, by “extraordinary willpower [he] went to the department on Christmas Eve and distributed gifts to the employees before starting back for Sharon [Pennsylvania].”

A few months later, on February 23, 1899, Haywood died in Sharon. His widow lived until 1924. Both are buried at Haywood Cemetery in West Middlesex, Pennsylvania.






James S. Beacom

1898-1900

Early Life

James Spear Beacom was born in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania on December 9, 1853, to schoolteacher-turned-minister Henry Beacom and Mary Spear. He was one of five children and was raised mainly in western Pennsylvania. Beacom was educated in the Westmoreland County Public Schools, attending Elderton Academy. He owned and operated the Blairsville Enterprise, a Republican newspaper, and began employment as a principal at Blairsville Academy. In the 1880s, he graduated from Washington & Jefferson College after studying law.


Political Beginnings & Personal Life

After graduating from Washington & Jefferson, Beacom returned to Westmoreland County where he began practicing law. A staunch Republican active in political circles and volunteering with campaigns, he allied with powerful Pennsylvania politician Matthew Quay and was elected as a Republican member of the House of Representatives in 1886 for the 1887-88 session. Beacom was a successful candidate for re-election in 1888 for the 1889-90 session and retired from the House after the end of his second term. In 1896, he was elected to be a Delegate At Large at the Republican National Convention in St. Louis, Missouri, after failing to secure a nomination for Congress. The Canonsburg Weekly Notes described Beacom as “a good lawyer with a big practice.”


Beacom married Mary H. Zimmers, a graduate of the Blairsville Female Seminary, on July 17, 1888, in Indiana County, Pennsylvania. Together, they raised four children on North Main Street in Greensburg, Westmoreland County.


Path To & Time as Treasurer of Pennsylvania

After serving in the House for two terms, as well as being a delegate to the 1896 Republican National Convention, Beacom decided to be a candidate for the Republican Nomination for Treasurer of Pennsylvania.

Despite an effort by the Allegheny County Republicans to stop his bid, Beacom easily was given the Republican Treasurer nomination in 1897. He had strong opposition in the form of a Prohibition Party candidate, which hurt his chances for the general election. On Election Day, he won with an overall plurality of over 146,000, but he ran behind the Republican state ticket. Newspapers do attribute this to the Prohibition Party, but also to Beacom’s allegiance to political boss Matthew Quay. The Wilkes-Barre Semi-Weekly Record wrote that “… he (Beacom) is admittedly an upright, honest man … he is thus singled out for opposition because he has stood with Senator Quay.”

After being inaugurated, Beacom took charge of state finances and was active in civic and social events throughout the Capitol and Commonwealth. Democrats were eager to flip the office, and in 1899, it was reported that “Democratic leaders … have been amazed at the bold and defiant matter in which Republicans … have met every attack made upon the administration of the State Treasury. … State Treasurer James S. Beacom … meets the people face to face to discuss the condition of the Commonwealth with the taxpayers.”

Beacom served until 1900 and was succeeded by James Barnett. After his term, The History Of Westmoreland County wrote that Beacom “effected some radical changes in the management of that important office, leaving its finances in better shape than many previous years.”


Later Political Pursuits & Death

After the end of his term, Beacom sought and was elected to another term in the House as a Republican. Once again, he did not seek re-election afterwards and then held no elected or appointed position for many years after returning to Greensburg.

In 1920, he was appointed as a Judge on the Westmoreland County Orphan’s Court. He served for two years. For a number of years, Beacom sat on the Board of Trustees of his alma mater, Washington & Jefferson College. He was also Methodist and a longtime member of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Westmoreland County.

76-year-old James Spear Beacom died at his residence, 521 North Main Street in Greensburg, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, on February 15, 1930. He was buried at Blairsville Cemetery in Blairsville, Indiana County, Pennsylvania, and was survived by his wife, son, and three daughters.






James E. Barnett

1900-1902

Early Life, Career, & Military Service

James Elder Barnett was born on August 1, 1856, in Elders Ridge, Indiana County, Pennsylvania. The oldest of three children to minister John Morrison Barnett and his wife Martha Robinson Elder, census records indicate that James was raised mainly in Connellsville, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, before moving to Washington County. He was educated in the county common school system, and chose to attend Jefferson College. Barnett graduated from there in 1882, studied law, and chose to continue studies at Columbia Law School. In 1890, Barnett was admitted to the Bar.

Even though Barnett had formal training and education as a lawyer, his main pursuits involved the military. He joined the 10th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Division in 1884, “starting out as a Private and working up to the Lieutenant-Colonelcy,” and even “declined an appointment to the Colonelcy” in 1899, according to the Altoona Post. With his high military profile and law degree, Barnett was appointed Deputy Secretary of The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1896.

The Daily American out of Somerset also reported that Barnett “organized the borough of East Washington, Pennsylvania, and served as burgess for three terms.”


Campaign For & Time as Treasurer

Barnett received the Republican nomination for Treasurer of Pennsylvania on August 24, 1899, as an ally of Pennsylvania political boss Matthew Quay. His very public military service, along with his formal training as a lawyer and hometown political involvement, led him to this position. The News-Journal in Lancaster reported at the time that the nomination for Barnett was “made by acclamation and he was unanimously accepted.”

While the campaign for Treasurer began in earnest, however, Barnett was returning from military service in the Philippines. He was officially discharged on August 22, 1899 – just two days before receiving the Republican nomination. In fact, newspaper records also indicate that he was recovering from a bout of malaria during the campaign season. This is shown in the Chambersburg Public Weekly Opinion on September 22, 1899, when it was reported that “Lieutenant-Colonel James E. Barnett, of the Tenth Pennsylvania Volunteers, (was) just home from Luzon.”

In this same issue, playing off of his military strength, it was also shown how fellow veterans and military members who served with Barnett were forming a “Barnett Battalion … who propose to cooperate in the canvas for the election of Lieutenant-Colonel James E. Barnett, of the Fighting Tenth Regiment, for State Treasurer.”

A week before Election Day, on November 4, 1899, the Lewisburg Chronicle ran a large article about the candidacy of Barnett and described him this way: “A brave soldier … as Lieutenant-Colonel of the famous 10th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, he made a great name for himself as a courageous officer and a daring soldier. He is honest, faithful and sincere and will conduct the high office to which he will be elected on Tuesday, with fidelity and honor.”

Despite having Quay’s backing, Barnett did face political attacks from his own party. Congressman Ernest Acheson, also from Washington County, attacked Barnett in a published July 20, 1899, York Times interview for not being a “straight Republican” … Congressman Acheson then went on to also accuse Lieutenant-Colonel Barnett of contributing “to Democratic success.” Attacks were made upon his military service, too, with the Pittsburgh Daily Post reporting on November 8, 1899, that his reputation was “cut considerably” as a result.

Despite the critics, Barnett won the election by more than a 100,000-vote plurality and became the next Treasurer of Pennsylvania.

Upon his installment into office on May 7, 1900, the Somerset Herald wrote “Pennsylvania has a State Treasurer who owns himself.” Barnett was applauded for his work at Treasury throughout his 1900-1902 term, with even the sitting Governor publicly praising him for his work in keeping the department in a strong financial position. He published specific financial figures frequently for the public, participated in fairs and community engagements, and “ensure(d) a continuance of the careful business administration of the office,” as written in the Indiana Weekly Messenger on May 9, 1900.

He left office in 1902, and before he did so, gave out countless cigars to those he had worked with in Treasury and on Capitol Hill. He never held another elected political position and returned to the practice of law in the East Washington area, remaining in the public eye as a military figure.


Later Life & Death

In 1910, Barnett was living in East Washington. He listed his occupation in the census that year as a civil lawyer, aged 48. Ten years later, he lists himself as a general practice attorney, still living in East Washington. In 1930, he is still marked as a lawyer in census data, and finally in 1940, Barnett appears to be retired. He never married, and died at the age of 83 at his home in East Washington, Pennsylvania on June 10, 1940. He had been ill for years prior, and was buried at Washington Cemetery in Washington, Pennsylvania, with a headstone showcasing his promotion to Brigadier General.






Francis (Frank) Harris

1902-1904

Early Life, Career, & Government Service

Francis Graham Harris was born on November 6, 1845, in Karthaus, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, to John Harris and Eleanor Graham. His father, a miner, was born in Scotland and died when Francis was 10; his mother Eleanor, who was born in Pennsylvania, died before he was five. As a result, Harris was raised in various towns throughout Clearfield County by his maternal aunt and uncle, Hetty Graham and Col. Samuel Patchen, who were reportedly involved in the Underground Railroad.

He attended the county schools while growing up in Clearfield County, and the Lewisburg Chronicle wrote in 1902 that during the summer “from the time he was twelve years of age … (he) worked on the farm … and in the winter worked in the lumber woods and on a saw mill, and became a practical farmer and lumberman. At the age of 15 he made his first trip down the Susquehanna as a raftsman, and at 20 he was one of the best pilots on the river.”

He went on to Dickinson Seminary (now Lycoming College) at the age of 24 and graduated with honors in 1873. He then attended Lafayette College for law, and graduated in 1876. Immediately upon graduation, he was hired as a Principal of the Clearfield County grammar schools, and in 1879 was admitted to the Clearfield County Bar. In 1881, he was elected to chair the Clearfield County Republican Committee until 1883, and was elected to Clearfield Council, a tenure lasting seven years.

In April 1879, Harris married Elizabeth Frances Baird. They had three children together, none of whom lived to adulthood. Elizabeth died in 1904, and Harris remarried Glenora Gearhart.


Run for Treasurer & Time in Office

As an established county lawyer with experience in local political circles, Harris was a Republican Delegate to the 1883 State Party Convention, and was pushed to run for the State Legislature in 1896. He decided to do so, won by more than 1,400 votes, and was twice re-elected, serving three terms from 1897 to 1902. While in the Legislature, Harris was a member of the Judiciary Committee and at one time chaired the Fish & Game Committee. Harris was heavily involved in that area legislatively, as he wrote a noted 1897 game bill and was a member of the Pennsylvania State Sportsmen’s Association.

He also ended up chairing the Judiciary Committee during one of his terms, and sought the Speakership in a failed 1901 bid. He left the Legislature after his 1901-1902 term. The Lewisburg Chronicle summed up his legislative career as “fair, upright, and honorable, and his ability and integrity are unquestioned.” The Evening Republican in Meadville heaped more praise on the legislative skill Harris possessed, writing that he was “… one of the most forceful and tactful leaders on the floor of the house, he has always commanded respect.”

A sitting Representative in 1901, Harris was nominated for and won the Republican nomination for Treasurer of Pennsylvania that year with no opposition. Upon his nomination, the Lewisburg Chronicle wrote that “Frank G. Harris, our neighbor from Clearfield … is a man of sterling qualities, who will perform the duties of that office in a matter that will reflect credit upon his party and the state … [L]eft an orphan boy in early childhood, he struggled up through poverty and toll to an honorable position among men.”

Harris easily won the general election and was sworn in for a term lasting from 1902 to 1904. He published regular accounts of state funds in the newspapers, attended community events, and left office when his term expired in 1904. His term was relatively quiet, as most newspaper records during his time in the treasurer’s office consist of those state funding accounts. Treasurer was the last elected position he would hold and capped off his long political career.


Later Life & Death

Harris was involved in real estate, and also at one time was director of the Clearfield Trust Company and Clearfield Hospital. He remained a general practicing attorney in Clearfield County, and died at the age of 83 on May 20, 1929, in the town of Clearfield, and was buried in the local Hillcrest Cemetery.






William Mathues

1904-1906

Early Life, Education, & Beginning of Government Service

William Lincoln Mathues was born on March 24, 1862, in Aston, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, one of seven children to William F. Mathues and Emiline Willis. His father, a dry goods merchant and Deputy Sheriff, was born in Chester County, while his mother was born in Aston. Mathues was raised in Delaware County and went to the county common schools from a young age and graduated from the local high school in Media. He then began reading law and was admitted to the Bar in 1884.

Mathues married Charlotte Goodley in 1884; they had four boys. She died in 1891, and he remarried Maurgarita R. Louden in 1894. Together, they had two more boys, both of whom did not live to adulthood.

Almost immediately after being admitted to the Bar, Mathues began his political career in Delaware County. Speaking about his various positions and long career as a politician, The Lewisburg Chronicle wrote that he “has always taken an active interest in public affairs.”

He served as Deputy Sheriff (under his father, who was then serving as Sheriff) for two years from January 1885. He then became Deputy Prothonotary of Delaware County, a position he held until 1892. In November 1891, he was elected to the office of Prothonotary and Clerk of the Courts in Delaware County … he gave eminent satisfaction in the discharge of his official duties, so much so that he was repeatedly urged to continue in office … Mr. Mathues is the acknowledged leader of the Republicans of Delaware County. He has labored intelligently and unceasingly in behalf of the Republican Party … to him must be given much of the credit for the harmonious conditions which exist among the Republicans of Delaware County. He has been Chairman of the Delaware County Executive Committee for the last six years and has represented his party in numerous conventions.”


Next Steps, Campaign for Treasurer, & Time as Treasurer

After graduating high school in Media, reading law in his local community, and then immediately jumping into politics alongside his father, Mathues had amassed considerable political power. Having cemented himself as a political force in Delaware County, his political foray to the office of State Treasurer was widely supported in his area and across the state.

The headline of the Delaware County Daily Times on May 26, 1903, read “Delaware County To Take The State Capital By Storm Today,” documenting the “Biggest demonstration ever made by Delaware County at the Capital of the Commonwealth, to be given in honor of William Lincoln Mathues, the Chief of the Local Organization, Who is to Be a State Standard Bearer … Splendidly Equipped Clubs to move on Harrisburg and Show the People How to Whoop ‘Em Up For The County Leader, The Next State Treasurer.”

This campaign strategy worked, and during the summer of 1903 Mathues was unanimously named the Republican nominee for Treasurer, marking the first statewide win for him in what was at that point a strong, local political career. He defeated his Democratic opponent by the largest margin for a Republican in state history at that time, and took office on May 2, 1904. As reported in the Lancaster News-Journal, Mathues said “there would be no radical change in the administration of the treasury.”

After a failed run for Governor in 1905 (while he was the sitting Treasurer), Mathues left office in 1906 as generally popular. However, from this time until the end of his life in 1908, he became embroiled in a corruption scandal that ended with him being sentenced to prison. Mathues was accused of misappropriating state funds relating to capitol furnishings and construction, especially as it related to contracts, to benefit himself and his political machine, throughout his time in office. None of this emerged publicly until after his term ended.


Conviction & Death

Public opinion significantly turned on Mathues in 1907. In September of that year, he was caught in the Capital at midnight scanning through the Treasury books with some of his top political lieutenants from Delaware County. Mathues was described as a nervous wreck, and everyone was escorted out.

His successor, Treasurer William Berry, went public about his distrust, problems, and suspicions with Mathues, and articles filled the newspapers with headlines like, “New Capitol Graft Exposed.” A formal investigation was launched and warrants were issued. Mathues tried to portray himself as just a poor administrator during his term as Treasurer, as referenced in the Pittsburgh Press on June 27, 1907.

As reported in the Coudersport Cotter Enterprise, on December 18, 1907, Mathues was sentenced to two years in Philadelphia’s famous Eastern State Penitentiary for “conspiracy to defraud the state through contracts for furnishing.” It was the maximum penalty allowed, handed down by Dauphin County Judge George Kunkel.

However, Mathues never served his sentence, as he died of pneumonia in Media on December 30, 1908. The Harrisburg Telegraph eulogized him as a born leader and a household name, who was feared by those who did not respect him. Mathues was buried in Media Cemetery in Delaware County.






William Berry

1906-1908

Early Life, Education, & Career

William Harvey Berry was born on September 9, 1852, in Edwardsville, Madison County, Illinois, one of four children to Benjamin Berry and Mary Beard. His father, a mechanic and inventor, was born in Illinois and had deep family ties to that state, while his mother was born in Virginia. Berry was raised in Illinois and took an interest in mechanics while attending the county schools, moving from Illinois to Buffalo to attend a mechanical academy there.

In 1873, he graduated from that institution and then moved to Chester, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, where job prospects were. Berry then worked with the Eddystone Manufacturing Company in that area and was even at one time appointed master mechanic, holding the position for over seventeen years. Berry married Susan Schofield on October 1, 1879, in Philadelphia, and together they had four boys and a girl. They raised their family in Chester.

In his adopted hometown of Chester, Berry began the Berry Engineering Company in 1903, which produced a specialty boiler. In addition to running this business, also in Chester, he served as Treasurer of the Fields Brick Company.


Beginning of Government Service, Campaign for Treasurer, & Time as Treasurer

As a noted businessman, engineer, and machinist, Berry began his political career locally, being elected Mayor of Chester in early 1905. His political star grew quickly, as Berry resigned the position before the year was even over to campaign as a Democrat for Pennsylvania State Treasurer.

After capturing the nomination, Berry was elected Treasurer of Pennsylvania in November 1905, the first Democrat to win a statewide election in Pennsylvania in more than 40 years. Newspaper reports in the days preceding the election heralded the end of the “Republican Machine,” including the Carlisle Evening Herald on November 8, 1905: “The election of William H. Berry, a Democrat, as Treasurer of Pennsylvania by such a splendid majority, does honor and credit to her good citizens in every walk of life … the lesson means the beginning of the end of the greatest and most corrupt machine ever conceived in American politics. It means that the debauchery of the people’s money in the state treasury … is over.”

After taking office in early 1906, Berry promised “reform in Treasury methods,” as reported in the Harrisburg Telegraph on October 13, 1906. However, as the lone statewide elected Democrat in a usually Republican position, he frequently was targeted in the press. “Berry Confesses … Accused of the Very Practices For Which He Denounced” the piece in the Telegraph read, documenting a “backyard deal” business arrangement that Berry apparently had as Treasurer with a Trust Company, that the press viewed as unsecure and not having enough sound financial protection for citizens of the Commonwealth. The Lewisburg Chronicle was more direct in talking of the matter, writing that “Berry is a shattered idol.”

However, in 1907, Berry’s reputation began to turn more positive after his predecessor, former Treasurer William L. Mathues, was found snooping around the Treasury financial books at nearly midnight and was escorted out of the building. The event even earned coverage in The New York Times, which reported, “A sensation was caused here [Harrisburg] to-day by the discovery that William L. Mathues, formerly State Treasurer, who figures in the new Capitol scandal, was detected looking over the books of the Treasury Department about 11 o’clock last night. Patrick McGrann, a clerk, found Mathues.”

Berry ordered an investigation, and went straight to the press with his distrust of Mathues and his suspicions that something untoward was going on. His office ultimately uncovered $7.7 million worth of unappropriated costs related to Capitol furnishings that had been approved by Mathues. At the end of his term in 1908, The Harrisburg Telegraph reported on May 20, “Mr. Berry’s official conduct is so great as to win the admiration of the people of the Commonwealth.”


Post-Treasury & Death

After leaving office, Berry stayed active in politics. He ran for Governor in 1910 as an independent on the Keystone Party platform, but was defeated in a close election, 41 percent to 38 percent, by Republican John Tener. Berry served as a Delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1912 and 1924, and stayed active as an engineer and mechanic.

On June 19, 1928, Berry died in Chester and was buried at Chester Rural Cemetery.






John Sheatz

1908-1910

Early Life, Military Service, & Career

John Oscar Sheatz was born on February 22, 1855, in Lehigh County, likely in Mechanicsville, as one of four children to John Sheatz and Almira Troxell. His parents were both born in the Commonwealth, and Sheatz was eligible for membership in the Sons of the American Revolution. He was educated in the county schools and attended Muhlenberg College. He also held a military position as a First Regiment Infantry Member of the Pennsylvania National Guard.

In the mid-1880s, he married Marion Queen, and the couple had one daughter, also named Marion. Regarding his career, Sheatz became an apprentice at the Baldwin Locomotive Works for five years, and was employed there for a further 13 years.


Early Political Career, Run for Treasurer, & Time as Treasurer

Sheatz began his political career in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, being elected as a Republican in 1902, 1904, and 1906. He was a well-respected and active member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for three terms, before turning his sights on becoming Treasurer of Pennsylvania. When he decided to run for the position, the convention in the summer of 1907 was “unanimous” for him to be the Republican nominee for Pennsylvania State Treasurer that year, as reported in the Harrisburg Telegraph on June 6.

He then attracted wide media attention across the state while campaigning. On September 20, 1907, the Mount Union Times declared, “Sheatz In Demand … He Is The Man Of The Hour.” As the election drew near, the Snyder County Tribune ran this headline on November 1, 1907: “Sheatz Has Scored, Nominee For Treasurer Has Made A Hit With The People.” The article stated, “John O. Sheatz … is winding up a tour of the state … he has shown himself to be a real vote getter.”

Sheatz defeated his Democratic opponent and took office on May 6, 1908, resigning from his House Seat on May 1, 1908. “Mr. Sheatz practically made a clean sweep [by] replacing all the former force with new men,” wrote the Franklin Repository that same day. “The whole affair was very informal.” Sheatz served from 1908 to 1910 in the typical style of most of his predecessors, reporting Commonwealth financial statements in the papers as well as attending social and political events. However, as his term was expiring in 1910, the Commonwealth faced an interesting quandary related to his service.

The News-Journal in Lancaster reported in May 1910 that “J.A. Stober had been elected to succeed Mr. Sheatz, but died several months after the November election.” Despite losing the election, Sheatz – in light of his opponent’s untimely death – refused to leave office when his term expired. Further, he defied calls to yield to the person appointed by Governor Edwin Sydney Stuart (a fellow Republican) to replace him, Congressman Charles F. Wright (also a Republican).

Eventually, the state Supreme Court decided the issue as described by the Harrisburg Daily Independent with this headline on Monday, May 2, 1910: “State Supreme Court Ousts John O. Sheatz From State Treasury … Unique Controversy Ends With Today’s Decision.”


Later Years & Death

After being removed from office in 1910, Sheatz failed in a 1911 campaign to serve as Philadelphia City Controller. However, he then ran for and won a special election for Pennsylvania State Senate, serving from 1912 to 1914. His term in the Senate was his final political endeavor. After leaving the Senate, he became President of the Moshanon Creek Coal Mining Company.

Throughout his life, Sheatz also dabbled in the real estate industry at the same time as political service and coal mining, while additionally serving as Treasurer of the Frank Queen Mining Company in New York. This is what he was doing in 1920, while enumerated by the Census with his wife and living in Philadelphia. Sheatz died on June 25, 1922, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He is buried in West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Bala Cynwyd, Montgomery County.






Charles Wright

1910-1913

Early Life

Charles Frederick Wright was born on May 3, 1856, in Forest Lake, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania as the youngest of two children to Chester Wright and Julia Nickerson. His parents were both born in the Commonwealth, and his father was a manufacturer with a family that was well-known in Susquehanna County. Wright was educated in the county, attending nearby Montrose Academy, and graduated in 1874.

Additionally, he was involved with the manufacturing of some chemical wood products as well as oil work. Wright married Rose Allen, likely in the early 1880s, the couple had two children. He later married Minnie Miller in Susquehanna Depot on April 30, 1890. They had one son together.


Early Political Career and Appointment & Run for Treasurer

While working mainly in the Susquehanna County financial sector, especially in the 1890s, Wright began to be notably involved in Republican politics. His first election to public office was in 1898, and he served as a Congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1899 to 1905. During his time in the House, Wright served during one term as Chairman of the House Committee on Expenditures in the Department of Agriculture. His brother, Rep. Myron Young, had held the same Congressional seat until his unexpected death in 1894.

Declining to run for reelection to Congress in 1904, Wright resumed professional pursuits in the financial sector before being appointed to the position of Pennsylvania State Treasurer by Governor Edwin Stuart in 1910. His appointment was made because J.A. Stober of Lancaster County had been elected as Treasurer, but had died before taking office. Incumbent Treasurer John Sheatz then refused to yield the office.

The Punxsutawney News wrote on January 24, 1912, when Governor Stuart made this decision to now install Wright, “there was a great deal of satisfaction.” It was then written that Wright “has discharged the duties of the difficult position to the complete satisfaction of the public … he has made a record in office for efficiency that is unsurpassed.”

Being that Wright was not elected to the 1910 term, there was discussion about whether he would be constitutionally eligible to run for a term in 1912. The Punxsutawney News made its position clear: “Mr. Wright should be renominated and reelected.”

When the 1912 Republican Party State Convention came around in Pennsylvania, however, despite the powerful backing of Senator Boise Penrose (R-PA), Wright was unable to secure the nomination to serve a second term as Treasurer. He was confident of a victory in news reports of the days leading up to the convention, and was reported in April as having sent out a form letter to all delegates asking for their support, but as the Pittsburgh Daily Post wrote on May 2, 1912, “Wright was defeated badly.”

He retired at the end of his term in May 1913, and was succeeded by the man who beat him in the primary, Robert Young.


Later Years & Death

After losing the 1912 primary, Wright became the Pennsylvania Commissioner of Public Service in 1915 and 1916. He mainly resumed banking and other financial pursuits, and died in Susquehanna Depot on November 10, 1925. He is buried in his hometown of Susquehanna Depot, at Evergreen Cemetery.






Robert Young

1913-1917

Early Life & Career

Robert Kennedy Young was born on June 14, 1861, in Wellsboro, Tioga County, as the oldest of three boys to Hugh Young and Lois Butterworth. His father, an Irish immigrant, worked in the financial sector as an executive as well as being involved with politics, serving as a State Representative for one term, and his mother was born in neighboring Potter County. His paternal uncle, Thomas Young, was a U.S. Congressman and then Governor of Ohio from 1877 to 1878, while his maternal great-uncle, David Wilmot, represented Pennsylvania both in the U.S. House (1845 to 1851) and the U.S. Senate (1861 to 1863).

Young was educated in the local Wellsboro schools as well as in New Hampshire, and then read law in his hometown to pass the Bar in 1885. He started up a partnership with the man he read law under, Major George Merrick, in 1886. Merrick was his uncle.

The Harrisburg Telegraph wrote on May 1, 1912, that Young also was “President of the Wellsboro Electric Company, a director of the Tioga County Savings and Trust Company and Secretary of the Tioga County Bar Association … also Librarian of the Tioga County Historical Society and was counsel for the State Capitol Building Commission.” He married Emma Van Mater on October 23, 1890; the couple had no children.


Early Political Career & Ultimate Run for Treasurer

After starting his career as a lawyer and businessman, Young became heavily involved in politics. He was elected as Justice of the Peace of his community in 1889 and was a Delegate to the Republican State Convention in 1895. He was elected as a Republican to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in both 1896 and 1898, serving through 1900. In 1904, Young was elected as a Delegate to the Republican National Convention.

In 1906, Young accepted the Republican Nomination for State Auditor General. He stressed reform and the return of calm interparty relations. He was not present at the convention, and responded to his nomination in the form of a letter that was widely published throughout the Commonwealth. Ultimately, Young defeated his Democratic opponent, William T. Creasy, and took office in 1907. He was the 32nd Auditor General of Pennsylvania and served through 1910.

After being termed out of office, Young continued his political involvement as well as his multiple business pursuits. He ran for State Treasurer in 1912 against incumbent Charles Wright and was easily nominated, 244 to 108, despite Wright’s confidence going in. The Wellsboro Agitator remarked during the campaign in October of 1912 that “if experience counts for anything ex-Auditor Robert K. Young is bound to be the most efficient state treasurer that the Keystone State has ever had … not one will dispute the fact that his tenure of office was as near perfect as mortal man could make it.”

Upon taking office, he drifted away from the Pennsylvania Republican party factions and took on more of an independent stance. His management of the Treasury and his alerts about Treasury affairs were amplified by newspaper reports throughout his term. Some of those reports read “Treasurer Explains Withdrawal Need” read the Philadelphia Inquirer on January 9, 1914. More pressing, the Harrisburg Telegraph published “Condition Of Treasury Alarming … State Treasurer Issues Formal Public Statement to Public and Bank” on June 30, 1915. These were not direct reflections on him, but rather announcements he was putting out to the media to keep the public informed.

Young was a successful candidate for renomination, despite reports like in the Pittsburgh Daily Post on February 6, 1914 that “he [was] not very keen on doing so,” and served as Treasurer through 1917.


Later Years & Death

After leaving office, Young attempted to hold the position of Pennsylvania Commissioner of Public Service while serving on the Public Service Board, however his promotion was blocked by his home county’s state Senator. He died shortly thereafter on September 12, 1917, in Blossburg, Tioga County, after complications from a June fall at his fishing cottage, and is buried at Wellsboro Cemetery.






Harmon Kephart

1917-1921

Early Life & Career

Harmon Mortimore Kephart was born on July 17, 1865, in Frankstown, Blair County, Pennsylvania, as the eldest of five children to Samuel Kephart and Henrietta Wolfe. His parents were both born in the Commonwealth, and his father, who died on Kephart’s 10th birthday, was a Civil War veteran and well-known western Pennsylvania violin player. A younger brother later served as a Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge, and another younger brother later held a high military rank.

Kephart was educated in the McAlisterville State Soldiers’ Orphan School, an institution meant for those who had Civil War veterans as parents or parents who had died while serving, graduating in 1881. He then began his career as a locomotive fireman. Beginning this position with the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1882, Kephart was promoted to locomotive engineer in 1883 and continued with the company until 1885. At that time, he took the same position with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company, and continued with them until 1895.

On October 20, 1887, Kephart married Ida Walton in Fayette County. The couple had three children together.


Early Political Career

Kephart was elected as a Republican in 1894 to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, for the 1895 term. He declined to stand for re-election but launched an unsuccessful campaign in 1899 for the same position. Later, in reports looking back on his government service, Kephart was informally charged with “running a speakeasy in Room 213 at the State Capitol” during his single term as a Representative, as reported in the Bloomsburg Press-Enterprise on May 15, 1916.

In 1903, Kephart launched an ill-fated bid to become Pennsylvania State Treasurer under the banner of the Citizens Party. He continued to stay involved in Republican politics and within his community of Connellsville, holding membership with the Tariff and Americus Republican Clubs of Pittsburgh as well as the Elk, Moose, and Eagles fraternal organizations. As a businessman, he was involved in the real estate and coal industries and owned the popular Smith House Hotel in Connellsville from 1897 to 1905.

In 1907, Kephart was appointed as Chief Clerk of the Pennsylvania State Senate. In this position, his political influence grew. The Uniontown Morning Herald reported that he became “one of the most active Republican politicians in this (western) part of the state, and was declared “one of Connellsville’s leading men of affairs … the most popular man who ever held the position of Chief Clerk in the Senate.” The next year, Kephart was elected to be a Delegate at the 1908 Republican National Convention.


Run for Treasurer & Time in Office

While serving as Chief Clerk of the Pennsylvania State Senate, Kephart launched another bid for Pennsylvania State Treasurer, this time as a Republican. In the 1916 Republican Primary, he won a commanding three-to-one victory and faced Democrat James Cramer in November. He defeated Cramer and resigned his position as Chief Clerk of the Pennsylvania State Senate on May 2, 1916, to assume the position of Pennsylvania State Treasurer later that month.

In the position, Kephart often published notices of state funds, attended some social events, and stayed in touch with his community. “State Treasurer H.M. Kephart was a visitor here (Meyersdale, Pennsylvania)” the Republic published on October 18, 1917. “He is still the same old genial and big-hearted Harmon Kephart of former days.” He left office when his term expired in 1921.


Later Life & Death

In later years, after leaving office, Kephart moved out of the Connellsville and Harrisburg areas and into Lower Merion, in Montgomery County, before later returning.

He faced some negative public reports in his retirement. On January 26, 1926, the Evening News in Wilkes-Barre reported that Kephart had received a number of loans from state banks while in office that had not been financially sound. On April 14 of the same year, the Harrisburg Telegraph then reported how he was being sued for more than $24,000 in default of business debts. Later, on December 23, 1933, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette additionally published reports accusing Kephart of scholarship fraud at state universities.

In 1935, Kephart returned to state service as a supervising machine operator in the Department of Internal Affairs. On April 19, 1948, he died in Conellsville after an extended illness, and is buried within the town at Old Saint Joseph’s Roman Catholic Cemetery.






Charles Snyder

1921-1925

Early Life

Charles A. Snyder was born on April 16, 1867 in Pillow, Dauphin County, as the youngest of two children to Civil War veteran William Snyder and Leah Brua. His parents were both born in the Commonwealth, his father was a blacksmith, and he was mainly raised in Dauphin and Schuylkill Counties. Receiving an education in both local county public school as well as private school, Snyder pursued a career in law. He studied law after ending his formal education and was admitted to the Schuylkill County Bar in 1889.

On May 21, 1891, Snyder married Laura Arters. The couple had two children together.


Early Political Career & Eventual Run for Treasurer

After beginning his law career, Snyder took to Republican politics. His local political involvement included serving as Deputy District Attorney and Solicitor in Pottsville, Schuylkill County Controller, as well as Schuylkill County Solicitor. Many years later, reflecting back on his career, the Harrisburg Independent would write in December of 1931 that he was “… stepping out of one big office into another.”

The Independent continued, “Snyder (was) one of the most picturesque political figures in Pennsylvania politics. He started his career in Schuylkill County, but later loomed so large on the political horizon … he was known as the best-dressed politician in the State. Invariably, he wore a fresh carnation in his lapel, which won for him the friendly nickname of ‘Carnation Charley.’ He had been known on ‘The Hill’ in Harrisburg for more than thirty years. His jaunty carriage, the peculiar tilt of his hat, and the ever present carnation marked him as he made his way to and from the legislative halls.”

Snyder began his service in Harrisburg after being elected as a State Representative for the 1903-1904 Session. He was reelected twice before standing down for a potential consecutive fourth term in the House. After resigning, he made a campaign for the State Senate that same year, being elected to join the 1909-1910 legislative session. Snyder was then continuously reelected until he made a bid for Pennsylvania Auditor General in 1916.

Running on the Bull Moose and Republican tickets, he faced Democrat James Murrin in the campaign. The strong ties and reputation Snyder had throughout the Commonwealth as a result of his lengthy time in public service, paired with his demonstrated closeness to his community, were political positives at the time that assisted in the campaign.

“Vote For Your Neighbor For Auditor General, Charles A Snyder of Schuylkill,” the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader read, on May 16, 1916. Come November, Snyder was victorious. He officially resigned from his seat in the state Senate on April 30, 1917, to assume the position of Auditor General, serving until 1921.

While serving as Auditor General in 1920, Snyder mounted another campaign, this time for Treasurer. Once again, his statewide political connections along with strong relationships in his community provided very politically valuable. “Charles A. Snyder has done much to make this county prominent in state affairs” wrote the Pottsville Republican on November 1, 1920. “The future is very bright with prospects for greater political prominence bestowed upon Mr. Snyder, which will add to our county’s position in outside public affairs. No one should think of politics when it comes to vote on Tuesday for State Treasurer Snyder.”

Running against Democrat Peter Elsesser, Snyder notched another political victory in November 1920 and won election as Treasurer, a position he held from 1921 to 1924. In 1921, as Treasurer, he was also elected as Chairman of the State Workmen’s Compensation Board. He maintained prominent status as Treasurer despite somewhat frequent attacks from the press for hints of corruption. Nonetheless, Snyder finished his term and appeared to be popular with the public and his county in newspaper reports. His political allies, especially back home, often hit back at these attacks. “Attacks Indicate Snyder’s Strength” read one story from the Pottsville Republican on March 18, 1922.

When his term as Treasurer expired in 1924, Snyder attempted to regain his state Senate seat in that year’s election. He was unsuccessful, marking a rare political loss.


Later Years & Death

After leaving office as Treasurer, Snyder was appointed as a Special Deputy in the Auditor General’s Office during 1925 and 1926. After this term expired, Snyder ended up almost right where he started years ago, as the elected District Attorney of Schuylkill County. Reelected in 1931, he was one day away from being sworn in for a second term as District Attorney when he died on December 7, 1931, in Pottsville.

Snyder was buried at Charles Baber Cemetery in that town, and upon his death, Governor Gifford Pinchot remarked in the Harrisburg Independent that a “no more vital and colorful figure has existed in my time in Pennsylvania politics.”






Samuel Lewis

1925-1929

Early Life & Career

Samuel Smyser Lewis was born on February 17, 1874, in York, Pennsylvania, as one of six children to Melchinger Lewis and Justina Maul. His parents were both born in York County, and his father was a machinist. A brother, Robert J. Lewis, was a lawyer, school controller of York, city solicitor, and eventual United States Congressman, from 1901 to 1903.

Lewis was educated in the county schools and attended Muhlenberg College; around this time, he also held a military rank. After graduating from Muhlenberg, he passed the Bar in York County and became a practicing lawyer. In the years following, Lewis was appointed Postmaster of York, Pennsylvania, in 1906 (a position he held until 1914), President of the State Association of Postmasters, and also worked for Congressman Daniel Lafean. In 1904, he was elected as an Alternate Delegate from Pennsylvania to the Republican National Convention. With time, he became the boss of York County Republican politics.

On April 27, 1911, Lewis married Miriam Frazer in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The couple had three children together, including two daughters who lived to adulthood.


Political Involvement & Eventual Run for Treasurer

On April 28, 1911, the Carlisle Evening Herald published the following about Lewis and his career. “Mr. Lewis is the postmaster at York and one of the most prominent men of his city and county. He has been President of the State Association of Postmasters and was for a time identified with one of the important departments at Washington. He is a member of the York County Bar and has been long been the confidante of Congressman Lafean (R-PA); his wide acquaintance throughout the district has given him a considerable influence in Republican party affairs. Mr. Lewis is also connected with several fraternal organizations and is active in Masonic circles, being an officer of the Zembo Temple. He is genial and popular and has many friends in Cumberland.”

After establishing himself as a professional and political figure in the York area, Lewis became Assistant Auditor General and continued to be heavily involved in Republican politics. He ran as a Republican for Auditor General of Pennsylvania in 1920, and had the backing of the State Republican organization. The campaign began early that year. “Resolutions endorsing Samuel S. Lewis for the Republican Nomination for Auditor General of the state were immediately adopted today by the Executive Committee of the Republican Party in York County,” the York Dispatch wrote on January 5, 1920, “[t]hus formally launching the candidacy of a Yorker for one of the highest offices.”

Lewis easily obtained the Republican nomination in the primaries. This is highlighted by The Evening Sun in Hanover, on January 21, 1920: “Harmony Effected In G.O.P. Slate … Philadelphia Papers Report Peace In Republican Ranks With Samuel S. Lewis, York, On Ticket … (he) will be recognized as the candidate for Auditor General.”

Lewis faced Democrat Arthur McKean come November, and won by a commanding 600,000 vote majority. After election day, in discussing his widespread political beginnings and connections that led up to his candidacy and victory for Auditor General, the Harrisburg Telegraph published the following on November 3, 1920: “Two years ago Mr. Lewis organized the county so effectually that he not only trimmed a faction opposing him and won undisputed leadership … it was a great day for the hard-working, square-fighting, level-headed Republican leader of York County who is a state figure now.”

While Auditor General, Lewis showed himself knowledgeable in the financial sector, especially the tax code, and also attended social events, gave speeches, and continued to direct York Republican politics.

With his term expiring in 1925, he decided to launch another campaign, this time for Treasurer, in 1924. As the incumbent Auditor General, the Duncannon Record wrote on October 23, 1924, that he was nominated “virtually without opposition … rewarding a state official who has done good.”

The day after the election, November 5, 1924, the York Dispatch reported that a “Coolidge Tidal Wave Sweeps Over York County … An Unprecedented Majority Rolled Up For Samuel S. Lewis In Successful Contest For Office Of State Treasurer.” Lewis himself remarked that “words fail me to properly express my appreciation of the wonderful tribute paid me today by the voters of my home city and county.”

Lewis served as Treasurer of Pennsylvania until 1929, and conducted himself in the position similar to his performance as Auditor General, by attending social events, maintaining frequent news coverage, and remaining very connected to his home base of York County. After leaving Treasury, he would not hold another elected office for ten years.


Later Political Career & Death

Shortly after his term as Treasurer expired, Lewis accepted a position in the administration of Republican Governor Gifford Pinchot, serving as the Secretary of Highways. In this position, which he held from 1931 to 1935, Lewis led the governor’s rural transportation initiative.

His political career capped off with a final, single term as Lieutenant Governor under Governor Arthur James, 1939 to 1943. Lewis was the first Lieutenant Governor from York County.

In 1944, 1948, and 1952, he was elected as a Pennsylvania delegate to the Republican National Convention, and in 1951, he was appointed the Secretary of the Department of Forests and Waters by Republican Governor John Fine. In this position, he completely streamlined the department for efficiency in under two years. Joe Ibberson, a retired Division Chief with the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry, said “Sam Lewis was the best man I ever worked under. He was a genius at deciding what was good for the public and getting it done quickly. He had the administrative tools to get anything done.”

A few years later, in 1954, Lewis donated his York farm to the Commonwealth – it’s now the Samuel S. Lewis State Park.

After a decades-long political career that transformed York County, Lewis died on January 15, 1959, in York. He is buried in Prospect Hill Cemetery.






Edward Martin

1929-1933

Early Life & Beginning of Professional Career

Edward Martin was born on September 18, 1879, in Ten Mile (Amwell Township), Washington County, Pennsylvania, as the oldest of three children to Joseph Martin and Hannah Bristor. His parents were both born in the county, and his father was a farmer. Martin attended local public school and afterwards served as a Sergeant in the Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry during the Spanish-American War in 1898 and 1899. He then graduated from Waynesburg College in 1901 after studying law, and was admitted to the Bar in 1905.

He married Mary Scott on December 1, 1908, in Waynesburg, Greene County. Together, the couple had two children.


Political Involvement & Time as Treasurer

A practicing lawyer with business interests including fire insurance, oil, gas, and banking, Martin was a Burgess of East Waynesburg from 1902 to 1905, Solicitor of Greene County from 1908 to 1910, and again from 1916 to 1920. He enlisted in the Pennsylvania National Guard after the Spanish-American War ended and served for many years, working his way up to Major General in 1939. He retired from the Pennsylvania National Guard in 1942, after carrying on this military service throughout his business, professional, and political career. He saw active duty in World War I as well, and was awarded a Purple Heart.

Well-established in Republican political circles as a result of his military service, local political service, and work as a lawyer, Martin ran for and was successfully elected to the position of Auditor General of Pennsylvania in 1924. He served 1925 to 1929, and also during that time began a position as Chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican Party, serving until 1934.

With his term as Auditor General expiring, Martin ran for and was elected to the position of Treasurer of Pennsylvania and served from 1929 to 1933. It was the last elected position he would hold until ten years later, when he was elected as the 32nd Governor of Pennsylvania.


Further Political Career, Later Life, & Death

Martin was Adjutant General of Pennsylvania from 1939 to 1943. In November 1942, nearly ten years after leaving office as Treasurer, Martin defeated another former State Treasurer and Auditor General, Democrat F. Clair Ross, in the gubernatorial election. Taking office with Lt. Governor John Bell, he served one term and was Chairman of the National Governors Association in 1945 and 1946.

In 1946, while the sitting Governor of Pennsylvania, Martin ran for the U.S. Senate. He defeated incumbent Democratic Senator Joseph Guffey by nearly 20 percentage points. In the Senate, he was Chairman of the Committee on Public Works from 1953 to 1955, voted in favor of the Civil Rights Act of 1957, and was a key supporter of the development of the Indiantown Gap military base in Lebanon County.

Martin won a 51% to 48% victory over former Democratic nominee and former Pennsylvania Eastern District Circuit Court Judge Guy Bard in his first re-election campaign for the U.S. Senate, in 1952. Declining to seek a third term, Martin retired when his second term expired on January 3, 1959. He went all the way from local office, to state office, to federal office.

Martin died on March 19, 1967, in Washington, Pennsylvania. He is buried at Green Mount Cemetery in Waynesburg.






Charles Waters

1933-1937

Early Life, Beginning of Professional Career & Political Career

Charles Aloysius Waters was born on February 17, 1892, in Philadelphia, as one of thirteen children to Daniel Waters and Sarah McFadden. His parents were both born in the Commonwealth, and his father worked in textiles.

Waters attended and graduated from Saint Joseph’s College and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, being admitted to the Philadelphia Bar in 1916. World War I broke out shortly after he started his career as a lawyer, and Waters reported to the First Officers’ Training Camp at Fort Niagara in New York.

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry reported that “upon his return from the Army, he was made attorney for the Registration Commission in Philadelphia. On January 16, 1922, he became Assistant Chief in the Bureau of Corporations of the Department of the Auditor General. In March 1924, he was made Special Deputy Auditor General, and later Assistant Deputy Auditor General, which position he resigned to accept the appointment as Secretary of the Department of Labor and Industry by Governor John Stuchell Fisher on January 18, 1927.”

In 1918, Waters married Angela Hicks in Philadelphia. The couple had four children.


Continued Political Involvement & Time as Auditor General and Treasurer

After beginning his career as a lawyer and then entering public service to serve in the Department of the Auditor General and Department of Labor and Industry, Waters ran for Pennsylvania Auditor General in 1928 as a Republican. In the 1928 Republican primary, Waters defeated perennial candidate Frank P.B. Thompson of Philadelphia after receiving the backing of the Republican state organization. Come November, Waters defeated Democrat Clinton Ellenberger to become Auditor General.

While Auditor General, Waters investigated Firemen’s Relief Associations, had dinners held in his honor, and continued to be a top ally of General, and later Governor, Edward Martin. With his term expiring in 1933, Waters decided to run for the Republican nomination for Treasurer in 1932. Once again allied with the Pennsylvania Republican State Committee, he was able to secure the nomination.

In the November general election, Waters defeated Democrat L.B. Shannon. His margin of victory was more than 270,000 votes. Considering the Republican lean of Pennsylvania at the time, however, the Pittsburgh Press analyzed the race in April 1933 and declared the margin of victory “narrow,” adding that “Mr. Shannon virtually was an unknown.” Throughout his term as Treasurer, Waters held numerous political rallies, attended social events, gave a bonus check to state veterans, frequently spoke about efforts to lower taxes, and continued to be a staunch ally of the Republican State Committee.


Later Life & Death

After leaving office, Waters worked as prothonotary of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for the eastern part of the Commonwealth from 1937 to 1953. He left that position after Governor John Fine, a Republican, appointed him to be a judge for the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. In 1968, he officially retired from that position.

On May 23, 1972, Waters died at his home in Margate, New Jersey. He was buried at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Cheltenham Township, Montgomery County.






F. (Franklin) Clair Ross

1937-1941

Early Life & Career

Franklin Clair Ross was born on January 3, 1895, in Sandy Lake, Mercer County, as one of six children to Clement Ross and Maud McElwain. His parents were both born in the county with a long history there, and his father was a farmer and oil producer.

He was educated at Sandy Lake High School and later attended Grove City College, graduating in 1914. From then until 1917, Ross taught at Derry High School in Westmoreland County. He then served in the military as an aviator with the Army Signal Corps for a few months in 1918, before attending Columbia Law and additionally taking legal courses at the University of Michigan. On September 3, 1919, Ross married Carrie Bennett in Derry, Westmoreland County. Together, the couple had two children.

Ross was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar in 1924. He began a career as a practicing attorney, taking cases for the Department of Public Instruction (now known as the Department of Education), the Department of Mines (which later became part of what is now the Department of Environmental Protection), and the State Emergency Relief Board (which dealt with unemployment relief).


Political Involvement & Eventual Run for Treasurer

A prominent lawyer active in Democratic circles, Ross was appointed Deputy Attorney General of Pennsylvania by Governor George Earle in 1924. He launched a run for Pennsylvania Treasurer in 1936 and, while campaigning, promised to cut state expenses and audit the Republican record in that office. He was also vocal about legislation surrounding labor and social security, and come November, beat Republican Frank Pinola to become Treasurer of Pennsylvania.

In office, Ross held numerous dinners, banquets, and had many speaking engagements, while also being active in Treasury sports teams, such as basketball and softball. Numerous notices regarding his handling of the Commonwealth finances were also published in the press.

With his term as Pennsylvania Treasurer expiring in 1941, Ross began a run for Pennsylvania Auditor General in 1940. He handily took the Democratic nomination, and defeated his Republican opponent, State Senator Frederick Gelder, in November. Shortly after taking office, Ross ran for and was given the Democratic nomination for Governor of Pennsylvania in 1942. He was defeated by about eight percentage points by the Republican nominee, General Edward Martin. Despite not winning the Governorship, Ross had a position lined up when his time in the Auditor General’s office came to an end in 1945.


Later Life, Political Involvement, & Death

In 1944, a year before his term as Pennsylvania Auditor General expired, Ross ran for a seat on the Pennsylvania Superior Court. In that race, he defeated former Republican Governor Arthur James – who had been appointed to the court earlier that year by Governor Martin (the man who beat Ross to become Governor).

Ross served on the Superior Court until his death. He died on January 17, 1956, in Harrisburg. He is buried at Lauderdale Memorial Park in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.






George (G.) Harold Wagner

1941-1945

Early Life & Beginning of Professional Career

George Harold Wagner was born on July 19, 1900, in Drifton, Luzerne County, as one of seven children to George Wagner and Sallie Kitchin. His parents were both born in the county, and his father was a repair shop foreman who later became the County Clerk of Courts. When his father died, his mother took on the position. Wagner attended the Mechanical Institute of Freeland, and later graduated from Wilkes-Barre Business School. When WWI broke out, Wagner then enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was stationed at the U.S. Naval Mine Depot in Yorktown, Virginia.

On April 29, 1921, Wagner married Madeline Stoh in Luzerne County. Together, the couple had five children. He divorced Madeline in October 1942 and married Dorothy Singer, his Treasury Department secretary, in North East, Erie County, about a month later on November 19, 1942. They had no children.


Political Involvement & Time in Office

After returning from his service in World War I, Wagner began employment as a clerk with local railroad companies, as well as working as an editor and business manager for the Dallas Post newspaper in Dallas, Luzerne County, in addition to working in insurance and advising people on tax matters. He became known as a tax expert.

Beginning to get involved in Republican politics at this time, and later described as a protégé of state Senator Leo Mundy, he was appointed by Gov. Gifford Pinchot as Justice of the Peace in Kingston, Luzerne County, on April 25, 1925. He was a member of the Dallas Rotary Club and also served as Republican Chairman of the 6th Legislative District. Wagner also became Treasurer of Dallas, and following in his father’s footsteps, later became Deputy Clerk of Courts in Luzerne County before being appointed to county property assessor.

In 1934, Wagner joined the Democratic Party, and in 1940, he sought the Democratic nomination for Treasurer of Pennsylvania. It was his first run for statewide office. Considered to be a dark horse candidate, and known to be a former Republican, Wagner amassed a 2-1 lead for the nomination over former State Insurance Commissioner Owen Hunt and former Young Democratic Clubs of Pennsylvania President Jackson Scarl.

“Capabilities Recognized … Irrespective of party affiliations, state and county officials say G. Harold Wagner is capable, efficient, and energetic” the West Schuylkill Press and Pine Grove Herald wrote before the general election, on October 18, 1940.

Facing Republican James Malone in November, Wagner was victorious after “(pinning) his campaign as the Democratic candidate for State Treasurer on 20 years’ experience with tax affairs,” as the Philadelphia Inquirer reported on November 6, 1940, the day after he was elected. After taking office as Treasurer in 1941 – the first man from Luzerne County to hold the position – Wagner worked with state legislators and managed the flow of state relief checks, which he was often quoted in the press about.

On Monday, December 27, 1943, he announced his candidacy for the Democratic Nomination for Pennsylvania Auditor General. In a statement of candidacy published in the Chambersburg Public Opinion, Wagner said he would run on his record as Treasurer. “I have tried to conscientiously render to the taxpayers of Pennsylvania an efficient and economical administration.”

In April 1944, and with the Pennsylvania Democratic organization behind him, Wagner once again won his primary by a 2-1 margin, this time against John Breslin. He faced Republican state Senator G. Harold Watkins in the general election. Upon defeating Watkins in November, Wagner became only the second Auditor General from the Northeastern part of the Commonwealth. Taking office, he pledged to continue working in the same efficient manner as he did while Treasurer.

Wagner faced some public pushback in the role of Auditor General after he fired an employee for breaking a no-politics rule, which some in the public saw as hypocritical. Outside of that personnel dispute, he organized payments to schools, oversaw pension details, and was frequently quoted in the press. He left office in 1949, and never sought another elected office.


Later Life & Death

Upon retiring, Wagner relocated to Florida and became involved with real estate development. He later moved to North Carolina and continued in real estate, building homes and organizing lots. He died in Asheville, North Carolina, on April 20, 1960. He is buried at Freeland Cemetery in Luzerne County.






(Alexander) Ramsey S. Black

1945-1949

Early Life & Beginning of Professional Career

Alexander Ramsey Speel Black was born on August 20, 1881, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, as one of four children to Alfred Black and Mary Fager. His parents had deep roots in Dauphin County, and his father was a brick mason.

He served as a Corporal with Pennsylvania Voluntary Infantry Company I, 4th Regiment, during the Spanish American War, and also began a 34-year career as a passenger conductor for the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. Over time, Black became well-known in his community, even serving as a member of the Hope Community Fire Station in Harrisburg.

The Harrisburg Telegraph described him on October 25, 1944, as participating “in various philanthropic and civic enterprises in Harrisburg and Dauphin County for more than a quarter of a century, (taking) an active part in the Community Chest Funds campaigns and served as general chairman of the campaign in 1926 … former National Vice President and State Secretary-Treasurer of the National Association of Postmasters, (and) former President of the Traveler’s Aid Society, which he helped to organize.” Black additionally held positions with the Y.M.C.A. and various medical societies and institutions.

On October 31, 1908, Black married Clara Stevenson in Philadelphia. Together, the couple had three daughters.


Political Involvement, Run for Treasurer, & Time in Office

Involved in Democratic political circles, Black was elected as a State Representative for the 1917-18 legislative session. He lost his first re-election bid. From 1923 to 1932, Black served as an elected County Commissioner of Dauphin County. A few years after leaving office, he was tapped to serve as postmaster of Harrisburg, a position he held from 1934 to 1938. In 1938, he was appointed an Assistant Postmaster General of the United States by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Black was still serving as Assistant Postmaster General when he began a campaign for Treasurer in 1944, unopposed for the Democratic nomination. Reports stressed his experience in government administration and within the financial sector. “For [this] important state office[] the Democrats have nominated ... Ramsey S. Black. [He is] on the ticket with President Roosevelt. Ramsey Black, as Third Assistant Postmaster General, directs one of the world’s biggest savings banks, the Postal Savings System … this system has increased the number of depositors,” wrote the Perry County Democrat on October 18, 1944. Come November, Black defeated his Republican opponent, Edgar W. Baird, and resigned as Assistant Postmaster General in April 1945.

Taking office in May 1945, Black worked on a number of issues including increases in unemployment compensation and financial support to veterans. He quickly gained traction in the role to the point that petitions were being circulated by February 1946 to have him run for Governor that year. That was an ill-fated attempt, however, and Black remained as Treasurer. Further into his term, Black did begin a campaign for Auditor General in 1948. He secured the Democratic nomination, but was defeated by sitting Republican State Senator Weldon Heyburn. Black then left elected office in 1949.


Later Life & Death

Black died on October 10, 1963, in Harrisburg. He is buried at East Harrisburg Cemetery, where he was President of the Cemetery Association at the time of his death.






Charles R. Barber

1949-1953

Early Life & Beginning of Professional Career

Charles Raycroft Barber was born on April 19, 1901, in Erie, Pennsylvania, as one of ten children to John Barber and Kathryn Cantwell. His father, an iron molder who served on Erie’s Common Council from 1905 to 1909, was born in Erie, while his mother was born in Northern Ireland. Barber graduated from Erie High School in 1919, then went to work in the steel mills, where he gained a longstanding interest in Republican politics which was later parlayed into a career.

Around 1942, then as the sitting mayor of Erie, he married Pauline Squires. Together, the couple had no children.


Political Involvement, Run for Treasurer, & Time in Office

After working in the steel mills, Barber ran for City Alderman in 1928 and won. He served two terms and ran for mayor of Erie in 1936, another election in which he won. Extremely popular, he easily won re-election. Upon being sworn in for a third term as Erie mayor in 1944, he became the first to ever reach three terms. His overall term lasted from 1936 to 1947. That same year, he left the position to be appointed as State Welfare Secretary by Governor James Duff.

Barber wasted no time getting to work, as referenced in newspaper reports. “I want repairs immediately with no further delays,” he was quoted on July 3, 1947, by the Hanover Evening Sun as saying to a hospital superintendent. “We have $81,000,000 available for the rehabilitation of Pennsylvania’s mental institutions.”

After serving as Alderman, Mayor, and in the Cabinet of a sitting Pennsylvania Governor, Barber ran for a term as Treasurer in 1948 and a term as Auditor General in 1952. He resigned his State Cabinet position after defeating Democrat W.J. Lane in 1948 to become the first Republican to be elected Treasurer in 12 years, and defeated Democrat Genevieve Blatt in 1952 to become Auditor General.

In office as Treasurer from 1949 to 1953, he handled assistance relief payments, payments to veterans, invited proposals for bond purchases, and was frequently quoted in the press. After successfully being elected to Auditor General as the sitting Treasurer in 1952, his statewide profile remained the same. He gave speeches, attended social events, and published reports in newspapers about the financial health of the Commonwealth.


Later Life & Death

Throughout his political and professional career, Barber was also a member of the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission, The General State Authority, the Delaware River Port Authority, the Pennsylvania Teachers Retirement Board and almost two dozen other civic, social, and fraternal organizations. He was widely recognized as a potential gubernatorial candidate after his extensive political career – Alderman, Mayor, Secretary, Treasurer, and Auditor General – but he became ill and retired from public service after his term as Auditor General.

He spent his retirement as an engineering firm consultant in Harrisburg for nearly a decade. Reflecting on his life and career, the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote on February 11, 1987, that Barber “earned a reputation for maintaining tight fiscal controls and uncovering areas of waste in both offices … he went to work in Erie’s steel mills at age 18 after his father died. He learned about unions and politics in the mills and at 27 was elected alderman for the city’s First Ward. It became his political base.”

Barber died on February 7, 1987, in Erie and is buried in Calvary Cemetery.






Weldon Heyburn

1953-1957

Early Life & Beginning of Professional Career

Weldon Brinton Heyburn was born on March 8, 1903, in Concordville, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, as one of four children to Harry Heyburn and Margaret Darlington. His father, a dairy farmer who also served a term in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, was born in Pennsylvania, and both were born in Chester County. His namesake was his father’s second cousin, United States Senator Weldon Brinton Heyburn from Idaho.

Of the Quaker faith, Heyburn went to both public and private schools in addition to attending an academy. Eventually, he completed his formal schooling at home, and began working with his father’s dairy farming business.

On July 18, 1936, Heyburn married Anna Schmidt in Harrisburg. Together, the couple had two daughters.


Political Involvement, Run for Treasurer, & Time in Office

His formal political career started in 1936, when he was defeated in the Republican primary for state Senate by John J. McClure, a powerful Delaware County Republican boss. It was Heyburn’s first run for public office. However, Heyburn didn’t spend any time licking his wounds. He ran against McClure in the general election as an independent and wowed the political establishment by knocking out McClure with a margin of 19,000 votes.

Heyburn served as senator for the 9th District until 1949. He was aligned with the Democrats for his first two years in office, but after that returned to the Republican Party. In his final two years in office, he served as President Pro Tempore of the Pennsylvania Senate.

A high-ranking Republican politician well-known in the state, he won election as Auditor General in 1948. While in office, he launched a bid to become the Republican nominee for Governor in 1950. He lost that bid to John Fine, who went on to become Governor. However, that foray led to his nomination as Treasurer, an office which he was subsequently elected to in 1952 and held from 1953 to 1957.

As Treasurer, Heyburn was quoted in the press often and was frequently involved in Republican political machinations across the state. After suffering health issues near the end of his term, he had to forgo a near-certain chance to join the United States Senate, and left office as Treasurer in 1957.

Before, during, and after his political career, Heyburn held numerous positions on boards and organizations. Some were related to the positions he held, others were not. Over the course of his life, he served as Chair of the Delaware River Port Authority; President of the State Public School Building Association; Secretary of the State Highway and Bridge Authority; member of the Brandywine Battlefield Park Commission; President of the American Association of Bridges, Tunnels and Turnpikes; board director, Vice President and Executive Member of the Pennsylvania Motor Federation-AAA; director and President of the Keystone Automobile Club of Philadelphia; member of the Manufacturers and Bankers Club of Philadelphia; member of the Masons; member of the Board of Governor's Traffic and Transportation Council of Greater Philadelphia; director for the Suburban Loan Company; Chairman of the Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District; and various other positions.


Later Life & Death

In 1967, he resigned his position at the family dairy farm business and served as the Delaware County representative to SEPTA until 1973. He died on February 7, 1979, in West Chester and is buried at Birmingham-Lafayette Cemetery in Chester County.






Robert Kent

1957-1961

Early Life & Beginning of Professional Career

Robert Free Kent was born on June 26, 1911, in Meadville, Crawford County, Pennsylvania, as the youngest of four children to Orville Kent and Marian Irvin. His father, an attorney who later became President Judge of Crawford County, was born in the county, as was his mother. He attended Allegheny College and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and also served in the United States Marine Corps Reserves during World War II, 1944 to 1946, onboard the U.S.S. Menard and the U.S.S. Roi.

He married Martha Kent on July 31, 1937, in Hackensack, New Jersey. Together, the couple had two sons.


Political Involvement, Run for Treasurer, & Time in Office

After establishing himself as a lawyer, Kent ran for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives as a Republican, and won. He was elected for the 1947 session and was re-elected every term thereafter until he stepped down in 1956 to run for Treasurer. While a State Representative, Kent was a member of the Republican Executive Committee of Crawford County, and was Chair of the Crawford County Republican Party in 1953. During the 1953 to 1954 session, he served as Majority Whip of the State House.

His legislative service also included being appointed as Chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Tax-Exempt Real Property, as well as sitting on the Commission on Interstate Cooperation and the Joint State Government Commission.

Running for Treasurer in the 1956 election, Kent had the Republican nomination to himself from the start and faced Democrat James Knox in the November general election, whom he defeated. While in office, he was active on the speaking and campaign circuit, wrote pieces himself about his role and the role of the Treasury to be published in newspapers across the Commonwealth, handled the disbursement of veterans checks and unemployment checks, and remained an active political figure. As Treasurer, he introduced and supported a plan that, with no new tax increases, would disburse $150 million dollars as a bonus to those who fought in the Korean War.

Deciding to move from the Treasury Department to the position of Auditor General in the 1960 election, Kent won the Republican nomination but faced a tough challenge from Democrat Thomas Minehart of Philadelphia. Ultimately, Minehart defeated him in the November election and Kent left office as Treasurer of Pennsylvania in 1961.


Later Life & Death

Kent also served as Pennsylvania Supreme Court administrator and a member of the State Employees Retirement Board, the General State Authority, and the State Public School Building Authority.

He did not seek elected public office after his unsuccessful 1960 campaign for Pennsylvania Auditor General, and died on October 1, 1982, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He is buried at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery in Annville, Lebanon County.






Grace M. Sloan

1961-1965, 1969-1977

Early Life

Grace McCalmont Sloan was born Naomi Grace Sloan on July 12, 1902 in Dayton, Armstrong County to Charles Plumber McCalmont and Minnie Mae Elwinger McCalmont.

Grace married John Everett Sloan on October 8, 1921. John Sloan served as a U.S. Marshall for the Western Pennsylvania District for twenty years, and also served as Clarion County Sheriff. He was a veteran of World War I, having served as a member of the 33rd Division, Company C, RAG Engineers. Grace and John had two daughters, Mary Katherine and Jacqueline.


Political Career

Grace Sloan was a civic leader in Clarion, and a rising star in Democratic political circles. In 1956, she was her party’s nominee to represent the 23rd Congressional District – Clarion, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, McKean, Venango, and Warren counties. Sloan lost the general election to incumbent Republican, Leon H. Gavin, who was first elected in 1942.

After her unsuccessful congressional run, Sloan decided to run for state treasurer in 1960. She faced an uphill battle, to put it mildly. None of the more than 50 preceding state treasurers had been a woman. She beat the odds and became the first woman treasurer of the Commonwealth, besting Republican Charles M. Smith – a former House Speaker and Auditor General. Before Sloan’s election in 1960, the only other woman to hold a statewide elected office was Genevieve Blatt, who was first elected to be Secretary of Internal Affairs in 1954 (and won re-election in 1958 and 1962). That position has since been eliminated from state government.

Following her first term as treasurer from 1961 to 1965, Sloan ran a successful campaign and was elected as auditor general, a position she held from 1965 to 1969. She was subsequently elected as state treasurer twice more, holding office from 1969 to 1977. She served in statewide elected positions for 16 consecutive years. She is Pennsylvania’s longest-serving state treasurer and the only person elected to three four-year terms in that office.

As a dedicated champion of equal opportunities for women in government and public service, a 1977 newspaper column described Sloan as “a uniquely personal link to an otherwise cold and faceless government,” and noted that “in government and business, her tenures were free of scandal or wrongdoing.”

The same article describes Sloan as “formidable” and notes her “fiscal prudence,” qualities which are readily evident in her record of service.


Court Cases as Treasurer

After the state budget was enacted for the 1976-77 fiscal year, Sloan refused to make payments sought by Governor Milton Shapp – a fellow Democrat – out of federal funds allocated to Pennsylvania. Sloan believed the state constitution’s requirement that “[n]o money shall be paid out of the treasury, except on appropriations made by law” (Article III, Section 24) applied to federal funds in the same way it applied to state funds.

Governor Shapp disagreed and sued Sloan, believing he could spend federal funds without oversight from the General Assembly.

In 1978, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania sided with Treasurer Sloan in the case of Shapp v. Sloan, ruling that the General Assembly had the exclusive power to appropriate funds from the treasury without regard to the source of the funds, and that the executive branch had no authority to appropriate money for any reason.

Sloan was also involved in another trio of cases (1976’s Firing v. Kephart, 1976’s Wilt v. Beal and 1977’s Reed v. Sloan) in the Commonwealth Court and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania which created precedents that are still cited by attorneys in court today concerning the general authority of the Pennsylvania Treasury Department and broader principles as to how Commonwealth funds are handled.


Later Years & Death

Sloan died on November 13, 2001, at the age of 99 in Sun City, Arizona and is buried in Clarion Cemetery in Clarion County, Pennsylvania.