1804 [Pennsylvania] handwritten receipt to Simon & Hyman Gratz, May 10, 1804, for payment on two shares in the Susquehanna & Lehigh Turnpike Road. Ink, hand laid paper. Entd 584 written in lower left corner. Signed, "Levi Hollingsworth", for the treasurers. 8" x 3".
This item has the signature of Levi Hollingsworth and is over 205 years old.
On March 19, 1804, the Susquehanna and Lehigh Turnpike and Road Company was incorporated. The old Nescopeck road was transformed into a graded pike in 1805 at an enormous expense. Andrew Shiner of Berwick was one of the contractors, and Christian Bowman first traversed the road to Easton.
The Lives of Eminent Philadelphians, Now Deceased By Henry Simpson 1859
Levi Hollingsworth, the subject of the present notice, was the son of Zebulon Hollingsworth, and was born at Elkton, on the 29th of November, 1739, and died in Philadelphia, March 24th, 1824, aged upwards of eighty-four years. Early taught, by parental example, the value of industry, at the age of eighteen he owned and sailed a sloop or shallop from Christiana to Philadelphia, bringing flour from the mills of Christiana, Elk, and the neighboring country, consigned to himself, the proceeds of which he took back with him, and accounted for to the millers. At that time there was no standard weight for flour, each barrel differed in weight, and the invoices were long and complex. Possessing a mind capable of unwearied application, in the year 1760 he settled as a merchant in the city of Philadelphia, in which character he remained through sixty-four years, a conspicuous example of honesty, enterprise, economy, and industry. During that time he saw generation succeed generation, revolution follow revolution, and was permitted throughout to keep his integrity unhurt, either by the vanities, or passions, or mutations that surrounded him,— the view of which only served to root him deeper and stronger in the principles of rectitude.
His extensive business and upright dealing had gathered to him an influence throughout the State founded upon personal regard, entirely independent of political feeling; an influence that, springing from such a cause, has, it is believed, never been exceeded. Having been a zealous and active supporter of the cause of American Independence, he used his means and exposed his person in behalf of the'liberties of his country. As a merchant he suffered loss in his private fortune from supplies to her army, and gallantly served her in the field as a member of the original troop of City Cavalry, which has been continued to the present day as a military corps. From a certificate given to Mr. Hollingsworth by the first captain of that body, Abraham Markoe, Esq., in 1803, it appears that the Philadelphia Troop of Light Horse was originally composed of gentlemen of respectability, who voluntarily associated, in the year 1774, under that denomination. They were equipped at their own expense, and supported themselves, chose their own officers, and volunteered their services. Of Mr. Levi Hollingsworth it is stated by Mr. Markoe that he was among the first of the associates, and always conducted himself in a soldierlike and gentlemanly manner. He was sent to Canada with the specie for the payment of General Montgomery's army when investing Quebec, and employed in many other special services, all of which were performed with fidelity. A similar testimony has been furnished by the second captain of the Troop, Samuel Morris, Esq. To this distinguished body he served as Quarter-master, and has in the same kind and handsome manner been publicly spoken of by his former comrades in arms, Captain John Dunlap and William Hall, Esq. As a politician, Mr. Hollingsworth belonged to the Federal party, to which he was led by his own convictions, as well as a personal regard for its great head, General Washington. Of this he was an active member and leader in Philadelphia, presiding at meetings of the party, and exerting such influence in its behalf as occasionally to bring upon himself the calumny of the opposition, whose detraction in fact, brought out the testimony which has been cited.
His person was spare, but he was active and energetic in everything he undertook. His temper was quick and easily excited, but the spark that the first impulse elicited, fell on a heart the most compassionate and generous; he was more apt to censure himself than to suspect others, and this peculiar disposition laid him open to repeated imposition from the same hands. This may be considered a weakness, but forgiveness was an element of his character, and in view of another and a better world he freely forgave every' one his trespasses.
Although his ancestors came to this country as Friends, it does not appear that their descendants continued in that faith. Mr. Hollingsworth was an Episcopalian, and an attendant upon the services of St. Paul's Church, in Third Street. In the belief of the Protestant Episcopal Church he lived and died, in peace with all mankind, declaring that his hope rested solely on the merits and mediation of his Redeemer.
B. AND M. GRATZ
MERCHANTS IN PHILADELPHIA
The town of Gratz in Owen county, Kentucky, marks a point on the Kentucky river from which Simon and Hyman Gratz distributed goods "inland," as they did by river and wagon, throughout Kentucky generally, as well as North of the Ohio. They freighted to Pittsburgh in wagons of the Conestoga, or "prairie schooner" type, such as were used by their father and grandfather, and afterwards by the first St. Louis merchants, shipping to Santa Fe. In reaching Pittsburgh, they probably used the Potomac also at times, as B. and M. Gratz had done in shipping to Illinois before the Revolution. The location of a shipping point on the Youghiogheny river in the Pittsburgh district, is now marked by Gratz- town on Pennsylvania railroad maps, though it is not given in the Postal Guide because of the rule against two postoffices of the same name in the same State. The Gratztown which appears in the Postal Guide for Pennsylvania in Dauphin county has Simon Gratz for its founder during the period of his close association with Aaron Levy.2
During more than a quarter of a century after the death of their father, Simon and Hyman Gratz had much of their time taken up, aside from their business as merchants, with "land affairs," belonging to the history made by George Croghan, as land under Croghan's titles had passed into the family estate. Papers between 1790 and 1800, show that Simon Gratz, as soon as he became manager for his father's business, had been active in settling the "9050 acre tract," which Michael Gratz bought.
The five members of the Philadelphia Gratz family who have documents in this collection are Hyman Gratz (1776-1857), Simon Gratz (b. 1773), Joseph Gratz (1785-1857), Henry S. Gratz (1859-1922), and Alfred Gratz (1855-1938).
Hyman, Simon, and Joseph Gratz were brothers, born to the prominent Philadelphia merchant, Michael Gratz. Their sister, Rebecca Gratz, was the prototype of the heroine in Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe and a noted Philadelphia philanthropist. The three brothers, who fought in the War of 1812, were prominent Philadelphians as successful merchants and financiers, and as patrons of the arts and leaders in the Jewish community.
During the War of 1812, Simon and Hyman Gratz, with Charles Wilkins, supplied great quantities of saltpeter for the manufacture of gunpowder. The saltpeter was mined from the Mammoth Cave which they owned. Joseph Gratz served as a member of the First Troop Philadelphia City Calvary.
Simon Gratz, as a Federalist, helped prepare for a possible British invasion of Philadelphia, by representing the Middle Ward in raising funds for the Committee of Defense.
Hyman Gratz became a director of the Pennsylvania Company for Insurance on Lives and Granting of Annuities in 1818 and in 1837 was elected the company's President, an office which he held until his death in 1857. Hyman, greatly interested in art, served as a director (1836-1857) and Treasurer (1841-1857) of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
Hyman Gratz, who was a leader in Mickveh Israel Congregation in Philadelphia, left a deed of trust which (after making provisions for his relatives) provided for the establishment and maintenance of a "college for the education of Jews residing in the city and county of Philadelphia." Following the death of Hyman Gratz's last heir in 1893, Gratz College was founded.
Henry S. Gratz, the grand nephew of Rebecca Gratz, was born on June 22, 1859. He attended the Faires Classical Institute in 1873 and later studied at Lawrenceville. Following his education, Henry Gratz traveled west and established an extensive cattle ranch near Folsom, New Mexico. In 1898 he returned to Philadelphia, where he was President of the Athletic Club, a life member of The Union League, and an avid balloonist. Interested in aeronautics, Henry owned his own balloon and made a number of trips over Philadelphia. Henry Gratz died in December 1922.
Insurance and advertising executive Alfred Gratz was a descendent of the prominent Philadelphia Gratz family. His business interests centered in the Girard Fire Insurance Company and the Mechanics Insurance Company of Philadelphia. He was a director for Mechanics Insurance Company, as well as for the Susquehanna Coal Company, Amparo Mining Company, and the Lykens Water Company.
Alfred Gratz was elected Register of Wills for Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, in 1888. As Register of Wills, Alfred Gratz was also the ex-officio Clerk of Orphans' Court. Alfred Gratz died at his Spruce Street, Philadelphia home on January 1, 1938.
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