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Below is a family biography included in the book,  Portrait and biographical record of Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties, Pennsylvania published in 1894 by Chapman 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.

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CHARLES J. FITZGERALD, a prominent business man of Pen Argyl, and senior member of the firm of Fitzgerald, Speer & Buzzard, is a native of Pennsylvania, and was born in Benton, Lackawanna County, April 2, 1847, being a son of John and Gratia (Finn) Fitzgerald. His paternal ancestors were of Irish and English descent, and those of his mother were French and English. His grandfather, William Fitzgerald, was a native of Dublin, Ireland, and coming to the United States when twelve years of age, settled in Greene County, N. Y. He was a wheelwright by occupation, and died in New York City.

John Fitzgerald, the father of our subject, was born in Greene County, N. Y., August 27, 1803, and moved to New York City with his parents when eleven years of age. He first learned the trade of a carpenter and joiner, and afterward that of ship-building, at which occupation he worked until the Mexican War, when he enlisted as a private. He did not go to the war, however, as, the Government being apprised of the fact that he was a ship carpenter, he was instead assigned to the ship “John Adams” in that capacity. He remained thus engaged for four years, during which time he was sent to the Sandwich Islands, and to the Island of Sumatra to avenge the death of a former captain and cabin-boy of an American trading-vessel that had been plundered privately at that port while taking on fuel and water.

The “John Adams” had the co-operation of the “Cutter,” an American vessel, and each carried four hundred and fifty marines. After reducing the pirates, they demanded that the perpetrators of the former outrage be delivered up, or the villages would be burned and destroyed. The overtures were made in the morning and were to be met by noon of the same day, but upon refusal the villages were all destroyed. After this incident the “John Adams” made a complete tour of the globe, visiting many points of interest, among which were the ruins of Herculaneum and Pompeii, and finally landed in New York City after four years on the high seas.

Some time after his return to the United States John Fitzgerald went on two cruises to the northern seas, on a whaling-vessel, which occupied four years more, making in all eight years that he spent on the ocean. At the expiration of that time he began to work again at the carpenter’s and joiner’s trade, in New York City, where he remained two years. His marriage occurred in New York, October 2, 1844, to Miss Gratia, daughter of Solomon and Irene (Scoville) Finn. In 1846 he removed to Benton, Lackawanna County, where he engaged in contracting and building for a number of years. During the latter part of his life, however, he was practically retired. He died in Benton, November 27, 1873, and was buried there. Politically he was a Democrat, and took a deep interest in the success of his party. In his religious belief he was a Baptist, and an earnest worker in the church. He was the father of four children: Thomas, Charles J., S. B. and Mary E.

The subject of this sketch was born and reared in Benton Township, Lackawanna County, and received his education in the public schools of that locality. In his youth he learned the trade of carpenter and joiner, at which he continued until 1887. He then came to Pen Argyl and formed a partnership with his brother, S. B., in the planning-mill, lumber and contracting business. At the end of four years this partnership was dissolved, and a new one was formed, under the firm name of Fitzgerald, Speer & Buzzard, and the business is at present conducted under that name.

February 20, 1870, Mr. Fitzgerald was united in marriage with Miss Emma, a daughter of Charles Hayden, of Scranton, Pa. This union has been blessed by the birth of two children: Bertha, the wife of Clifford Palmer, of Pen Argyl; and Orella, who is attending school. In politics our subject is a Democrat, and takes an active interest in the success of his party. He has served as Burgess of Pen Argyl, and also as Committeeman from his district. While in Lackawanna County he was a member of the School Board for nine years. Socially he is identified with Pen Argyl Lodge No. 554, F. & A. M., and was formerly a member of the Knights of the Golden Eagle and the Improved Order of Red Men.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the book, Portrait and biographical record of Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties, Pennsylvania published in 1894 by Chapman Publishing Company. 

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

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