My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Annals of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania published in 1905 by The Genealogical Publishing Company.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

* * * *

CYRUS ARNOLD SPAHR. For over a century this has been one of the well known names in Carlisle and Cumberland county. To Cyrus A. Spahr and his honored father the Cumberland Fire Company of Carlisle owes much of its present standing, and their names will be foremost among those who have labored to promote its welfare and efficiency. The members of this family have always ranked among the best citizens of the town, both for intelligence and integrity.

John Spahr, the great-grandfather of Cyrus A., was born March 17, 1782, was a hatter by trade, and died in Carlisle Nov. 19, 1844. He married Elizabeth Wickart, who was born Oct. 12, 1783, and died Jan. 19, 1858, and they had four children, as follows: John, grandfather of Cyrus A.; William, a brickmaker, who died in Carlisle; Peter, who was engaged in brickmaking in Carlisle all his life, and died there; and Eliza, who married James Liggett, and was the grandmother of Clarence Liggett, of Carlisle.

John Spahr, grandfather of Cyrus A., was born Nov. 3, 1807, in Carlisle, and learned the hatter’s trade under his father. But he did not follow it long, in early manhood commencing to work at filing with John Proctor, who was a well known figure in the industrial world of Canton in those days; he made bits when they were made and filed and plated by hand, silver money being melted to get material for the plating. Mr. Spahr remained with Mr. Proctor for a number of years. After erecting the home for his family on North East street, in Carlisle, he took up gardening, and he was also engaged at butchering and trucking, and served for many years as sexton of the Lutheran church. For several years he was high constable in Carlisle, and he also acted as tax collector for several years. As may be inferred, he led a very busy life, and was ever noted for industry and thrift. He was an active member of the Lutheran Church, in which he held the office of deacon. Mr. Spahr married Elizabeth Stum, of Lancaster county, Pa., who was born March 3, 1811, and died April 8, 1875, her husband following her to the grave Dec. 11, 1876. Mrs. Spahr’s parents came to this country from Germany and died in Carlisle. To Mr. and Mrs. Spahr were born children as follows: (1) John, born April 15, 1832, married Mary Black, April 13, 1856, and died in Carlisle. (2) William, born June 24, 1834, is mentioned elsewhere. (3) Catherine, born March 17, 1835, died in 1836. (4) Lizzie, born Oct. 8, 18 — , married John Egolf, in 1850, and died in Carlisle. Her husband is also deceased. (5) Mary H., born May 29, 1837, was married Oct. 10, 1858, to Cyrus D. Arnold, who is deceased, and she now lives in Philadelphia. (6) Peter F., the father of Cyrus A., is mentioned below. (7) Sarah, born Dec. 21, 1840, married Samuel Minnich, and died in June, 1903, in Carlisle. (8) Barbara E., born March 17, 1843, died March 16, 1845. (9) Margaret J., born Dec. 21, 1844, died May 17, 1853. (10) George E., born Oct. 1, 1846, died May 10, 1853. (11) Julia Ann died in infancy.

Peter F. Spahr was born May 5, 1839, in Carlisle, and there received a good practical education. He commenced to help his father in the butchering and trucking business when quite young, and in 1869 he and his brothers John and William engaged in the manufacture of brick, under the firm name of Spahr Bros. This partnership lasted until his death, in 1896, and the business was quite successful. Mr. Spahr was active in public affairs as well as in business circles, serving three terms in the city council as representative from the First ward, and was an active member of the Cumberland Fire Company of Carlisle, which he served twenty years as treasurer. During his connection with that organization he was a constant worker for its welfare, and was instrumental in gaining for the company the high reputation it has borne for efficiency and reliability. Mr. Spahr was a Democrat in politics, and a Lutheran in religion, holding membership in the First Lutheran Church of Carlisle. He entered the Union service in 1861, becoming a member of Company I, 5th Regiment, and served five years in the army, being discharged at Carlisle barracks in 1866. During part of this time he was a member of the regimental band, and he took part in the fighting along the Potomac under McClellan.

Peter F. Spahr was first married, on March 4, 1862, to Miss Annie E. Ward, of Carlisle, who died in 1871, and on Dec. 19, 1872, he wedded Emma Swigert, of Perry county, Pa., who survives him. By the first union there were three children, namely: George, who is deceased; Cyrus Arnold; and Julia, Mrs. Theodore Stigleman, of Carlisle. Three children were also born to the second marriage: Mary, Mrs. Edward Dosh, of Carlisle; and Nellie and William, who are unmarried.

Cyrus Arnold Spahr was born April 27, 1866, at the United States barracks at Washington. D. C. In 1869, his father being transferred to Carlisle, the family home was established there, and here he grew to manhood. He began his education in the public schools under Miss Mary Humrick, and attended until he was about fourteen, his last teacher being the well known instructor, Mr. Rohrer. In 1883 he commenced to learn the molder’s trade in the establishment of F. Gardner & Sons, at Carlisle, where he spent the greater part of the next fifteen years, completing his apprenticeship in four years. For one year he was engaged as foreman of the molding department of the Carlisle Manufacturing Company, successors to F. Gardner & Sons.

Mr. Spahr has been active in local public affairs for several years, and in the spring of 1904 he was elected to his present position, that of chief of police of Carlisle, under Mayor H. G. Brown. At the time of his election to this incumbency he was serving as chief fire marshal of Carlisle, which position he had filled for two terms. It may be well to recount briefly a history of his connection with the fire department of Carlisle. He joined the Cumberland Fire Company in 1883, and in 1886 was elected secretary of that organization, serving as such for twelve consecutive years, a longer term of service than any other incumbent of the office has had. During this time, in addition to attending to the regular duties, he gathered a full and complete history of the company from its organization, Feb. 8, 1809, up to 1898. He also served two consecutive terms as president of the company. In 1904, toward the close of his services as chief marshal, Mr. Spahr had to contend with a greater number of fires than Carlisle had during any preceding year, and it is an acknowledged fact that he handled his men and equipment with effective skill. The worst and most dangerous fire, all things considered, that visited Carlisle during his career as fireman, was that which destroyed the Alexander Brewery on the night of April 26, 1895. There were high winds, and the town was in danger of being completely burned, many places being on fire at the same time. The firemen were on duty nearly five hours continuously. That was the year Carlisle elected its first chief fire marshal, Samuel Berntz. Mr. Spahr represented his company one year in the Cumberland Valley Fire Association. He is the present chairman of the executive committee of the convention. He is one of the most respected young men in Carlisle, holding an enviable place in the esteem of his fellow citizens generally. On Feb. 5, 1895, Mr. Spahr enlisted in Company G, 8th Regiment, P. N. G., and served for nine years in all, five years as corporal of the company; E. B. Watts, Esq., was his captain. He was called out for service during the Homestead trouble, in 1902, and was honorably discharged.

On Sept. 10, 1891, Mr. Spahr was married to Miss Berdilla Galbraith, who was born in Upper Dickinson township, Cumberland county, daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth (Kinkaid) Galbraith, her father a well known farmer of that section. Mr. and Mrs. Spahr have spent all their married life in the home on West Pomfret street, where they still reside. Two children have come to this union: Arnold Galbraith, born Dec. 10, 1892, and Esther May, Aug. 20, 1898. Socially, Mr. Spahr holds membership in the Royal Arcanum, and in religious connection he is a member of the First Lutheran Church.

* * * *

This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Biographical Annals of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania published in 1905 by The Genealogical Publishing Company. 

View additional Cumberland County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Cumberland County, Pennsylvania Biographies

View a historic 1911 map of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania

View family biographies for other states and counties

Use the links at the top right of this page to search or browse thousands of other family biographies.