My Genealogy Hound

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.

* * * *

HARRY O. DUERR, who is General Manager of the Lehigh Valley Construction Company, is a successful contractor and has excellent business ability. He has contracted for and built many of the important enterprises in the Lehigh Valley, and in 1893 organized the Lehigh Valley Construction Company, of which he is manager. The place of our subject’s nativity was Cleveland, Ohio, and the date of his birth May 11, 1866.

J. W. C. Duerr, our subject’s father, was born in Baden Baden, Germany, and came to America at the age of twenty-two years. He was educated in Berne, Switzerland, and after his arrival in the United States attended the Episcopal Seminary at Gambier, Ohio, under Bishop Chase. On his graduation he was ordained a minister in the Episcopal Church, and after graduating located in Cleveland, where for twenty-one years he was pastor of Christ’s Episcopal Church. At the end of that time, on account of poor health, he was obliged to retire from the ministry. His home is now near Mansfield, Ohio, where he occasionally preaches. In his early manhood he was for a year and a-half a missionary to Cape Palmas, Africa, and has traveled extensively, having made several trips to Europe. He has known many notable persons, and was a personal friend of Senator John Sherman. His wife, Emily, was born in Pittsburg, Pa., and is a daughter of Henry Princehorn, who was born in the Fatherland, and became one of the early manufacturers of carriages and coffins in Ohio. His death occurred in 1874, at Massillon. Mr. and Mrs. Duerr became the parents of five children, of whom Harry is the eldest.

The boyhood of our subject was passed in the Forest City, where he gained a superior education, afterward becoming enrolled as a student in Harcourt Place Academy, and Kenyon Military Academy in Gambier, Ohio. He was graduated from that institution in 1886, and then entered Lehigh University, where he took a special course in chemistry for one year. He afterward entered the employ of the Lehigh Valley Railroad, in the topographical department, laying out the line near Wilkes Barre and the new road to Buffalo, and was thus occupied for nearly a year. Later he was employed by the King Bridge Company, of Cleveland, as draftsman in the shops. He was then in the estimating and designing department of the Edgemoor Bridge Works, of Edgemoor, Del., as draftsman and engineer for a period of two years. His next position was with the firm of Cofrode & Sailor at Pottstown, where he was engineer in charge of the designing, and after leaving them he went to Toledo. In Toledo he helped to organize the Toledo Bridge Company, incorporated, which bought out the old Smith Bridge Company. The company continued the business, enlarging it extensively, until it had a capital stock of $100,000. Of this large concern Mr. Duerr was the engineer for about one year. In July, 1892, he went to Philadelphia, where he engaged in contracting until the spring of the following year, when he located in Bethlehem, and has since been engaged in general contracting and building in the Lehigh Valley, his work being mainly for the Lehigh Valley and the New Jersey Central Railroads.

Among other contracts that Mr. Duerr has taken and executed is the Hokendauqua Bridge, built in 1893 over the Lehigh River, and which is nine hundred feet long and thirty feet wide. He also took the contract for the Gettysburg Electric Railroad at Gettysburg, Pa., the chain dam, and other lines of the Easton Transit Company; the bridge over the Central Railroad tracks, Main Street, Phillipsburg; the boiler house for the Thomas Iron Company, and a large iron building for the zinc works, as well as a large amount of miscellaneous work.

In 1889 Mr. Duerr was married in Bethlehem to Miss Stella Merit Abbott, who was born in Summit Hill and is a lady of fine intellectual attainments. She is a daughter of Merit Erskine and Marion (Bartlett) Abbott, the former one of the leading business men of South Bethlehem, and widely and extensively known throughout the state. Mr. and Mrs. Duerr are the parents of a little daughter, Helen Merit, who is the light of their home. The parents are members of the Episcopal Church of the Nativity and number many warm friends in this city, where they are most favorably known. Politically Mr. Duerr deposits his ballot in favor of the nominees of the Republican party, and ever has the public good deeply at heart. He is connected with the Masonic fraternity, and in the line of his business was formerly a member of the Philadelphia Engineers’ Club, to which he still nominally belongs.

* * * *

This family biography is one of 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

View a historic 1911 map of Northampton 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.