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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • Local History: John E. Mandeville, Silk Mill contractor

  • John Emory Mandeville, who was credited with building the great blue stone Bellemonte Silk Mill in Hawley, served as Wayne County Commissioner in the early1900's. The silk mill is today known as the Hawley Silk Mill.
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  • John Emory Mandeville, who was credited with building the great blue stone Bellemonte Silk Mill in Hawley, served as Wayne County Commissioner in the early1900's. The silk mill is today known as the Hawley Silk Mill.
    He was also contractor for Dorflinger Glass Company's factory buildings in White Mills and other projects, as described later. He was an expert machinist who supplied the Bellemonte Silk Mill as well as the factories in White Mills.
    The Commemorate Biographical Record of Northeastern Pennsylvania, published in 1900, goes into detail about his accomplishments and legacy affecting local industry.
    "The subject of this review," the Record states, "has through his own exertions attained an honorable position and marked prestige among representative business men of Hawley, Wayne community, where is is now holding the responsible position of master mechanic for the Belmont Silk Mill."
    ••• His parents
    Mandeville came into this world at Cherry Ridge in Wayne County, Pa. on September 26, 1837, the son of David W. and Phebe (Domenick Miller) Mandeville.
    His parents came from Walkill, NY. His parents located in White Mills in 1827. His father worked there as a tailor for five years, and then moved to Cherry Ridge Township. In 1839 they moved to Honesdale, where David Mandeville worked for the Delaware & Hudson Canal Company. He served as section foreman while the canal was being enlarged. David served as a school director and was a methodist. He died in 1873; his wife died in 1878 and were buried at Indian Orchard Cemetery.
    John's paternal grandfather George Mandeville served as a soldier in the Revolutionary War. Both his grandfathers were farmers.
    John was one of five children. His sister Mary was wed to Harvey Bishop, superintendent of the canal between Hawley and White Mills. Sister Caroline was wed to William Ellison, lock tender at White Mills. Brother Benjamin worked as a carpenter on the canal, residing at Leonardsville, below Honesdale. Brother Joseph worked for a gas company in New York City.
    ••• Contractor, mechanic
    Until he was 16, John Mandeville attended public schools, and then began working with pick and shovel on he canal. he left the canal company in 1857 and served three years apprenticeship at the carpenter's trade with W.W. Halbert of Indian Orchard. He later built houses at Middletown, NY, until his marriage in 1864.
    Locating at White Mills, he erected most of the buildings for cut glass manufacturer Christian Dorflinger, and resided there until 1869. He then built the structures for a lumber mill, Collingwood & Co. at Wilsonville.
    In 1880, with M. W. Simons, he took the contract to erect the five story Bellmonte Silk Mill for Dexter, Lambert & Co. Work commenced in June of 1880, and the factory was completed in the spring of 1882. Power and light were supplied by water power cascading in back. The silk mill was wrecked in a fire on August 18, 1894. By the following January, Mandeville replaced the structure.
    Page 2 of 4 - He also built the company's Florence Silk Mill in Honesdale. This structure, made of brick, sat off of Willow Avenue (Rt. 6) and is today the site of the Salvation Army store and a beverage distributorship.
    In 1900 he was still employed by Dexter, Lambert Co., and was their master mechanic.
    With his employer's approval Mandeville superintended the erection of the electric light plant at Hawley, built by a Scranton firm. The plant, located just upstream from the Silk Mill and also harnessing the Paupack Falls to the rear, is today the home of the Timely Treasures antique business.
    Mandeville conducted all of the millwright work on the Paupack Falls for 28 years, his 1900 account states.
    ••• Issued patents
    As a civil engineer, Mandeville was ever tinkering with ideas and put at least four to paper, and was awarded patents.
    The first we have uncovered, no. 417,060, was granted by the United States Patent Office on Dec. 10, 1889. He stated on his application filed July 5th that he had invented "several new and useful improvements in reels."
    Reels of fiber were at the heart of the burgeoning textile industry unfolding in America, and prominent in his town of Hawley. Untold millions of miles of fiber were pulled from reels by women turning out fabric at their stations.
    "My invention is an improvement in reels specially designed for reeling various kinds of fibrous materials- such, for instance, as silk, yarn, cordage, dre(?); and my invention consists in the novel structure hereinafter fully set forth, in which the outer carrying bars of the reel are readily adjustable to and from the supporting-shaft to facilitate the easy and expeditious removal from the reel of the material wound thereon," Mandeville penned. "My invention also consists in combining with the adjustable carrying-bars means for temporarily locking the parts in position after adjustment, and, if desired, so as to adapt the reel for winding skeins of different sizes."
    Elias Stanton and William Kimble served as his witnesses on the application.
    In 1891 Mandeville was issued a patent, no. 451,563, for railway rail.
    The trade journal Cement Age, in 1908, noted that Mandeville had received two more patents. The first was no. 954,696, for an adjustable frame for building concrete culverts, cisterns and the like.
    The second, no. 954,750, was for a reinforced concrete bridge. A diagram and description of the latter was published in the January-June 1910 edition of Municipal Journal & Public Works. Harry J. Atkinson and William B. Ammerman served as his witnesses.
    ••• County Commissioner
    He served two terms as Wayne County Commissioner and ran for a third term. A leader in the Democratic party, he first ran for Commissioner in 1893. Although he did not leave his business to take an active part in the campaign, he was defeated by only one vote out of the 5,000 that were cast.
    Page 3 of 4 - Mandeville was first elected as Commissioner in 1905.
    The Commissioners' Office was located on the first floor of the courthouse in Honesdale on the left as one enters. Serving with Mandeville was Thomas C. Madden and J. K. Hornbeck, both Republicans.
    They were all on the ballot in November 1908 for a second term. Madden, of Newfoundland, was a Civil War veteran and farmer. Hornbeck, of Equinunk,was a businessman knowledgeable in manufacturing. Mandeville was listed in the campaign as one of Wayne County's best mechanics, with practical knowledge of bridge building.
    George P. Ross was the County Clerk. E.C. Mumford was the County Solicitor.
    An article in a Democratic paper, the Wayne County Herald, in 1908, discussed Mandeville's campaign for re-election. He was called the "practical man" of the present board and because he was in the political minority, "the general dissatisfaction over the high-handed operations of the board can in no way be laid at his door." He was cited by a Republican supporter from Palmyra as the right man for the job due to his knowledge as a builder and contractor.
    He was described to voters as a "quiet, unassuming man of mots courteous disposition."
    For the term starting in 1909, Mandeville served as President of the Board.
    The Citizen newspaper of Honesdale had this news brief on Nov. 18, 1910: "County Commissioner John E. Mandeville, Hawley, was shaking hands with friends in town this week."
    The ballot for county commissioner in 1911 included Republican: Charles W. Brink, Minor Brown, G. Howard Gilpin, A. M. Henshaw, Ferdinand Kroll, Gotleib Lander, John Male, Philip Reining, sr., Earl Rockwell, J. L. Sherwood, sr., Isaac G. Simons, Fred A. Stoddard, Frank D. Waltz. Democratic: Artemua Branning, Henry Bried, Thomas J. Canivan, Charles A. Herman, Neville Holgate, P. J. Keary, John E. Mandeville, Alonzo D. Rutledge, Nicholas II. Lippert. Prohibition: Samuel K. Dills, Alfred S. Marks.
    While on the Board of Commissioners, in September 1911 Mandeville submitted a plan for a reinforced concrete arch foot bridge over the Lackawaxen River in Honesdale, between Court Street and Park Street. The plan was approved.
    The Commissioners awarded contracts for various bridges and his experience was made useful.
    At least one other Hawley resident has served as Wayne County Commissioner. George Hittinger, who lived on what we know as Hudson Street, was commissioner in the 1870's.
    In addition to his county office, Mandeville served on the Hawley School Board, serving part of the time as board president. Mandeville also was elected to Hawley Borough Council and was assistant assessor.
    He was also an active member of the Odd Fellows at Hawley.
    ••• His own family
    He and his wife Helen Marr Beardslee were married on Christmas Day in 1864. They were wed at Indian Orchard, with a Baptist minister officiating. She was born at that place May 17, 1864.
    Page 4 of 4 - They had four children. They were Emery Marr Mandeville, 1868-1949; Edna Mandeville, 1870-1954; Harry B. Mandeville, 1871-1932 and George Curtis Mandeville, 1885-1910.
    Their address was listed only as the "Eddy" in the 1890 street directory.
    As of 1900, Emery was superintendent of the weaving room at the Bellemonte Silk Mill. He was married to Nora Kerkendall. Harry also worked at the mill. Edna and George were at home.
    The 1900 Census locates them on Wood Street, Hawley.
    The 1906 street directory places their residence on the "Turnpike Road" which may refer to Bellemonte Avenue (Route 6) or the highway leading from Hawley to White Mills. John was listed as a machinist; Harry was an engineer. Edna worked as a clerk and George was a smoother for Maple City Glass Company.
    Mandeville and his family lived on Atkinson Street near Cypress Avenue, as shown on 1910 and 1920 Census records. Their address was 532 Atkinson and the phone number was 29-5.
    His wife Helen died in 1914. In 1920, John lived with his daughter Edna and granddaughter Florence Mandeville, who was 19 and working at a knitting mill. John was now retired.
    John E. Mandeville died November 7, 1921 at the age of 84 in Hawley. He was reported in the Citizen as having suffered a severe illness that led to his death.
    At the time of his passing, his daughter Edna lived at his home on Atkinson Street. Son Emery lived in Easton, Pa. and Harry at Indian Orchard in Wayne County.
    Both Mandeville and his wife were interred at Indian Orchard Cemetery.
    His 1900 biography states, "As a citizen of the community where he has long made his home, he is highly respected, enjoys the confidence of all who know him, and is regarded as a man of excellent business judgment."
    Sources:
    Commemorate Biographical Record of Northeastern Pennsylvania, published in 1900
    Wayne County Herald
    The Citizen newspaper
    Wayne County Historical Society files
    Ancestry.com
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