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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company; Elwood Roberts, Editor.  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.

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JOHN H. TWADDELL, the popular hotel-keeper of Royersford, claims descent from some of the royal families of Europe. He was born in West Philadelphia, December 19, 1858, and was reared in the fashion of city boys at that time, attending the public schools and a business college. He is the son of Charles and Mary (Hassom) Twaddell, both of Philadelphia, the father the son of James S. and Mary (Steel) Twaddell.

Three Twaddell brothers came to America during colonial times, landing at Marcus Hook, in Delaware county, and all three settling in Pennsylvania. The family was granted a coat-of-arms, of which John H. Twaddell has a facsimile. In Europe the family were prominently identified with the ruling class in church and state.

James S. Twaddell (grandfather) established a powder mill in Philadelphia and became an extensive manufacturer of that material, being a competitor with the Duponts, for more than a century located on the Brandywine, at Wilmington, Delaware. Mr. Twaddell accumulated a large estate, owning several blocks of houses in that city. In politics he was a Whig, but never aspired to political honors. His children: James, a merchant-miller; Sallie (Mrs Crabb), whose husband was a member of the Pennsylvania legislature; Abigail (Mrs. Banks); Deborah (Mrs. Dr. William Crabb); Charles (father); John P., died unmarried; Susan, died unmarried. The family were Presbyterians.

Charles (father) grew to manhood in Philadelphia, where he married and lived all his life. He was in the powder mill with his father, continuing in that business for some time after his parent’s death, but later selling the mill. He was a Democrat in politics but never held office. He died July 3, 1873. His wife survived him, dying September 12, 1898. She was the daughter of John and Mary Hasson, both of Philadelphia, the father being a prominent contractor and builder of that city. Their children: John, Benjamin, Mary (mother); Peter, George, Alfred, James and Margaret, unmarried.

The children of Charles and Mary (Hassom) Twaddell: James, died at the age of fifteen years; Sarah (Mrs. L. G. Dutton), who died leaving no children; John H., subject of this sketch; Mary E., (Mrs. J. A. Passmore); Charles P., of West Philadelphia; Esther (Mrs. A. P. Hill); William H., unmarried; Emily (Mrs. R. C. Schaeffer).

John H. Twaddell remained under the parental roof until he was married, being previously engaged for some time in the flour, feed and coal business in Philadelphia. After his marriage he bought a farm which he managed for two years, and then took a position as clerk in the Philadelphia post-office. Later he went to Chadd’s Ford, in Chester county, and engaged in the hotel business, later purchasing the hotel and remaining there seven years, then going to Kennett Square, where he bought another hotel. He was there three years, when he bought the Mansion House at West Chester, and was there fourteen months, and selling the establishment, as well as one at Kennett Square, and all his other hotel properties. From West Chester he went to Atlantic City, and rented a hotel one year, and then returned to Chadd’s Ford, where he remained a year. In April, 1901, he bought the American House at Royersford, where he yet remains. He has wonderfully improved his place of business, remodeling, refitting and refurnishing it. He now has a commodious hotel opposite the railroad station, four stories high, of stone, containing in all twenty-seven rooms, with hot and cold water, gas, electric lights and all modern appointments. Mr. Twaddell has been successful financially and otherwise, being a courteous and accommodating landlord, whose patrons never find anything lacking that he can supply.

On May 27, 1879, he married Mary P. Osterholdt, a native of Philadelphia, where she was born Sept. 1, 1860. She is the daughter of William and Catharine (Plunkett) Osterholdt, both of Philadelphia, he the son of Frederick and Matilda (Barr) Osterholdt. Frederick Osterholdt was the son of Frederick, Sr., of Heidelberg, Germany, who came to America with John Jacob Astor. He was a butcher by trade, and his descendants carried on the business which he established. He left Germany in order to avoid enforced military service and to escape from under the domination of monarchical tyranny. He left home without the consent of his family or their knowledge, selling his time to the captain of the vessel to pay his passage. He landed in New York, but soon came to Philadelphia, where he amassed an immense fortune. His children: Frederick, Jr., Peter, Catharine (Mrs. William Myers), Dorothy (Mrs. Diehl), Henry, George, Eliza (Mrs. J. Haines), who is now above ninety years of age. The family are Lutherans.

Frederick Osterholdt, Jr., grandfather of Mrs. Twaddell, was born in Philadelphia and reared in the butchering business which he conducted on an extensive scale and which his sons carried on after his retirement. He built a homestead in which he lived over fifty years. He died at the age of seventy-nine years. His children: Frederick, yet living at the age of seventy; William, now of Royersford; Mary (Mrs. Keithline); Edward, at the old homestead; Elizabeth (Mrs. William Cook); Henry, residing in Philadelphia; Matilda (Mrs. C. Wolf). The children of William and Catharine Osterholdt: Mary, wife of Mr. Twaddell; George B. McClellan, of Philadelphia; Matilda G. (Mrs. Joseph R. Wilson); William, of Cleveland, Ohio; Joseph, died at the age of thirty-four years, leaving no children; Catharine H. (Mrs. Henry C. Bonsall); John T., at Royersford; Charles J., of Philadelphia, unmarried; Walter, also of Philadelphia.

Mr. and Mrs. Twaddell have five children, as follows: Gertrude, born February 27, 1881, wife of M. C. Eppihimer, of Royersford; Charles W., born December 16, 1883; J. Logan, born December 30, 1886; William B., born February 2, 1891; Irma, born April 28, 1894. Mr. Twaddell and his wife are Presbyterians in religious faith. He is a Knight Templar, of Masonic Lodge, No. 475, of Kennett Square. He is also a member of Chapter 275, Royal Arch Masons, of Kennett Square, and a member of Upper Birmingham Lodge, No. 940, Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He is also connected with the lodge of Heptasophs at Kennett Square, with the Knights of the Royal Arch, and with the Improved Order of Red Men, Winona Tribe. In politics he is a Republican.

Frederick Osterholdt, born at Heidelberg, Germany, who came to America young, died in 1844 at the age of fifty-three years, and was buried in an old Philadelphia cemetery. Twelve years later the bodies had to be removed, and his was found to be petrified and very heavy. He was identified in his lifetime with the militia of his state. His son Frederick married Matilda Barr, daughter of William Barr, who served through the Revolutionary war with distinction, being killed in battle. A son, William Barr, served in the war of 1812.

William Osterholdt, father of Mrs. Twaddell, was reared in Philadelphia, being also engaged in the butchering business from which he retired in 1895. He is still living in Philadelphia. He was a leading Republican, and an active party worker when younger. He was born October 24, 1837. Catharine (Plunkett) Osterholdt was born in Philadelphia, December 15, 1837. Her parents were John and Mary (McKay) Plunkett, both natives of Ireland. They were married in America, and settled in Philadelphia, where he was a maker of fine boots and shoes. Later he went to New Orleans, where he died of yellow fever, his wife dying some years afterwards in 1855, at the age of fifty-three years. They were both members of the Catholic church. After her husband’s death, Mrs. Plunkett reared her sons with great care. She was a strong advocate of temperance, and reared her sons with her convictions, from which they never departed. The children were: John, murdered during the rebellion; Thomas, followed canal boating on the Reading canal; Maria, married H. G. Watson, a merchant at Chambersburg; Elizabeth, married J. Kernan; Margaret (Mrs. I. N. Sage); Catharine (Mrs. William Osterholdt).

The maternal grandparents of John H. Twaddell were John and Sarah (Woodman) Hassom, he is a native of Delaware, and she of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He was the son of John and Mary Hassom, of Delaware, whose family for generations had been members of the Society of Friends. The children of John and Mary Hassom were: Peter, William, Mary (Mrs. John Snell), Betsey (Mrs. N. Cornish), and John, Jr.

John Hassom, Jr., the maternal grandfather of Mr. Twaddell, was married in Philadelphia, and settled in that city as a contractor and builder, remaining there during his lifetime. He was always a member of the Society of Friends, and died 9 mo. 5, 1880. His mother was Rachel Springer, daughter of Peter and Mary Springer.

Peter Springer was the son of Carl Christopher Springer, a minister in the Old Swedes’ church, at Wilmington, who was a native of Sweden. He owned large tracts of land which he leased for ninety-nine years and his descendants have not yet acquired their title.

The children of John Hassom, Jr.: Margaret, died in infancy; William, died unmarried at the age of seventy years; John, died in 1903 leaving four children; George, died leaving four children; Peter, of Passellville, Pennsylvania; Mary E., mother of Mr. Twaddell; Benjamin, of Huntingdon; Alfred D., of Philadelphia; James H., of Philadelphia, and Margaret, also of Philadelphia, still unmarried.

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This family biography is one of more than 1,000 biographies included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company.  For the complete description, click here: Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

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

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