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Below is a family biography included in the History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania published in 1889 by A. Warner & Co.   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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GEORGE BREED was born at Norwich, Conn., March 27, 1799, and was descended from Allen Breed, who came over in 1630, in the company with John Winthrop, governor of Massachusetts. Allen Breed settled at Lynn, Mass., and from him are descended the large family connection of the name in various localities of the United States today.

George Breed, the subject of this sketch, was in the fifth generation of descendants. He received the ordinary plain education of the times, and at fourteen years of age went from Norwich to Taunton, Mass., where he entered the store of a certain Capt. Ingalls as “boy” and clerk. He received a thorough training in method, accuracy and economy and cultivation of inherited qualities of honesty, thrift and application. In 1823 he came to Pittsburgh and established himself. In 1825 he returned to the east, and married, Sept. 25, 1825, Miss Anna Williams, of Providence, R. I. Shortly after this, in 1826, he gave up his business in Pittsburgh and went to Ravenna, Ohio, where he remained about two years, returning to Pittsburgh in 1828. He was from this time engaged in the dry-goods business and located on the north side of Market street, between the Diamond and Fifth avenue. He had two children. The eldest died July 21, 1828. His wife, Anna Williams, died Aug. 6, 1828, and the second child died Nov. 7, 1830.

Thus left alone, he continued his business, from 1830 to 1833 boarding with a Mrs. Armstrong, at the corner of Water and Ferry streets, and sleeping at his store. Oct. 8, 1833, he was married to Miss Rhoda Ogden Edwards, a great-granddaughter of Rev. Jonathan Edwards, the eminent divine, and president of Princeton. In 1835 Mr. Breed sold out his dry-goods business and engaged in queensware and glass business, being located on Wood street just south of Diamond alley and later at old No. 100, where he continued until his death.

Mr. Breed belonged to the “heroic age” of Pittsburgh’s development and enterprise, before the day even of the palatial canal boat, when the stagecoach and Conestoga wagon were the means of transit, and when weeks were consumed in passing from point to point, and a visit back to his New England home was an event of rare occurrence, and when even letters were sent by the hand of a traveling friend as more certain of delivery and safety than by mail. Mr. Breed was active in practical matters, though in no sense a public man. He was modest and unobtrusive, his interest in events manifest by quiet activity and solid results. He was deeply interested in the establishment and construction of the old Pennsylvania canal, and was a party to the idea of transporting canal-boats across the mountains in sections, over the inclined planes of the old Portage road.

He was the prime instrument in the establishment of Western Pennsylvania Hospital after numerous efforts to get a hospital enterprise started had failed; and when the charter was about to lapse by limitation he raised by individual effort a subscription which secured the grant, called a meeting of subscribers and organized a board, of which Thomas Bakewell was president. He was one of the original incorporators of the Third Presbyterian Church, of which he continued a member up to his death. In politics he was an old-line whig, and threw no obstacles on the track of the “underground railroad” before the war. In 1842 he was one of a party who purchased the ground and settled at Oakland, now part of the Fourteenth ward, at that time known as the Third Church colony.

Mr. Breed will be remembered by the older and also by the now middle-aged men of his time for his size and proportions. He was six feet four inches high, and weighed about 275 pounds, but perfectly erect, of symmetrical build, and active and graceful in his movements. He belonged to the old school of merchant and gentleman.

Of his marriage with Rhoda O. Edwards eight children were born, three of whom died in infancy and five survive: Richard E. (now in business in Chicago), Sarah M. (now the wife of Charles H. Zug, Esq., of Pittsburgh), Henry A. (in business in Pittsburgh), Emma B. (wife of T. F. Phillips, Esq., a merchant of Philadelphia), and Rev. David R. Breed, D. D. (pastor of the Church of the Covenant in Chicago). George Breed died April 30, 1863, of paralysis; his wife died April 11, 1867.

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This family biography is one of 2,156 biographies included in the History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania published in 1889 by A. Warner & Co.

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

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