Wednesday, February 21, 2007


February 6, 1844 – [? After 1920]

Although further research is needed to confirm that the F. H. Sweet of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club is indeed Frederick H. Sweet of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, the prospect seems most likely.

Frederick H. Sweet, who for most of his life went by F. H. Sweet or Fred H. Sweet, was born in 1844 in Athens, Pennsylvania which is within a few miles of New York State in Bradford County. Sweet himself gave New York State as his place of birth in the 1880 census. Both of his parents were listed as New York natives as well. His wife Mary Jane Sharar (born in 1846, died somtime after the death of her father which was in 1897) was a Pennsylvania native, as were her parents Mr. and Mrs. William (Rebecca States) Sharar.

The Rev. J. B. Polsgrove officiated at the marriage of Fred H. Sweet and Mary Jane Sharar on July 11, 1870.

The Sweets had two children:

Harry Sweet was born in Pennsylvania in 1871. He was married in April of 1894 to Kate Fegley, the Rev. W. H. Graff officiating. Less than two years later Harry H. Sweet died, in late August or September 1, 1895.

Alice Sweet was born in Pennsylvania in 1878. Alice Sweet married Chester Rice Misner, (born 6 September 1879 in Indiana. His parents were William J. Misner (1852 - ?) and Sarah C. Rice. In 1880 Chester resided with his parents at Richland Township, Madison County, Indiana. By 1900 he resided in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as boarder, still single. By 1920 he and his wife Alice and his father- in-law Fred H. Sweet lived in Williamsport, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania. Chester Rice Minser was a mechanical engineer. In 1920 Fred H. Sweet was listed as widowed and the manager at the wood company.

F. H. Sweet was engaged in pattern making for the woodworking industry. Here is more about his business…

The Williamsport Machine Company was organized as a limited concern, March W, 1882, with a capital stock of $6,000. In 1878 Thomas and John H. Millspaugh, who had done business since 1875 at the corner of Hepburn street and the canal, purchased from Oliver Watson a small building located on the site of their present works. Here they did general repairing and manufactured engines and saw mills until March 30, 1882, when Fred H. Sweet was admitted as a partner. The firm manufactures all kinds of improved woodworking machinery. The building been enlarged until they now occupy a floor space of 42,000 square feet. The capital stock is $225,000. The company is officered as follows: John H. Millspaugh, chairman; F. H. Sweet, general manager; Thomas Millspaugh, secretary and treasurer. The office and works are located on West Third and West streets. From ninety to one hundred men are employed.

Another account of the business follows here…

Following the 1875 dissolution of Millspaugh, Rowley & Millspaugh, Thomas Millspaugh and John H. Millspaugh started a business manufacturing and repairing engines and saw mills. They were joined in 1882 by Fred H. Sweet (who had been working at Rowley & Hermance, and Williamsport Machine Co. was organized as a limited concern, with a capital stock of $6,000. The developed a complete line of woodworking machinery, and by 1892 they had 42,000 square feet of space, and a capital stock of $225,000. At that time the company officers were John H. Millspaugh, chairman; F. H. Sweet, general manager; Thomas Millspaugh, secretary and treasurer. From ninety to one hundred men were employed.

Williamsport Machine Co. was one of the eleven companies that merged in 1897 to form American Wood Working Machine Co. Williamsport's jointers, at least, continued to be made by the merged company. A "Happy Thought" planer badged with both the Williamsport and American names is reported.

More on this subject...

In 1897, American Wood Working Machine Co. was incorporated by Charles N. King, Nelson R. Vanderhoof, and August C. Kellog. It was a $50 million to $80 million corporation - a lot of money at that time. The object of the company was to join a large group of major woodworking machine makers into one concern, and thus achieve both manufacturing and marketing economies. Manufacture of the products of the 11 participants was consolidated into four factories, and adjustments in sales arrangements were made.

American's catalog #1, issued in 1898, named the 11 merged companies, shown in the illustration of the catalog page. Note the pointed denial that any antitrust laws were being violated.

Source: Merger mania of the '90s ... 1890s, that is.- from “Wood and Wood Products”, Jan 1995

F. H. Sweet was also a civic leader in Williamsport as indicated by the following…

The Lycoming Opera House Company was chartered May 19,1891, with the following officers: President, H., W. Watson; secretary and treasurer, John L. Guinter; directors, Charles R. Stearns, Fred H. Sweet, Emanuel Andrews, J. W. Pierson, Charles J. Cummings, William C. King, and H. W. Watson. The building is situated on West Third and Laurel streets, and has a seating capacity of 1,800. It cost $85,000.

Here is a biography from the History of Lycoming County, edited by John F. Meginness; ©1892:

FRED H. SWEET, general manager of the Williamsport Machine Company, was born in Athens, Pennsylvania, February 6, 1844. His parents, John S. and Mary (Carmon) Sweet, came to Williamsport in 1854, where the former became a prominent contractor and builder. He erected many of the prominent buildings of the city, but has now retired from active business. He is a member of Pine Street Methodist Episcopal church, in which faith his wife died in 1871. They reared a family of one son and three daughters, Fred H. being the youngest of the family. He was educated in the city schools and at Dickinson Seminary. He learned the carpenter’s trade with his father, followed it for four years, and then engaged in contracting and building. He subsequently followed pattern making for one year and then became foreman of the pattern shop of A. T. Nichols, with whom he continued until the failure of that gentleman. For the succeeding six years he had charge of the pattern department in the machine works of Rowley & Hermance, and in 1883 he associated himself with the Millspaugh Brothers, and organized the Williamsport Machine Company, of which he has since been the general manager.

Mr. Sweet is one of the organizers of the Williamsport Suspender Company, is a stockholder in the Lycoming Opera House Company, and is one of the directors and a member of the building committee in the erection of the new opera house. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and is connected with the lodge, chapter, commandery, and council. He is a Republican in politics, and an active supporter of that party. Mr. Sweet was married in 1869 to Mary Jane, daughter of William Sharar, of Williamsport, and has two children: Harry, and Alice.

For the record, the charter members of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club were:R F Ruff; T H Sweat; Charles J Clarke; Thomas Clark; W F Fundenberg; Howard Hartley; H C Yeager; J B White; H C Frick; E A Myers; C C Hussey; D R Ewer; C A Carpenter; W L Dunn; W L McClintock; A V Holmes.

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