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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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HENRY ERWIN. This prominent resident of Northampton County is the proprietor of the Blue Mountain Paint Works, and is the largest manufacturer of that article in the Lehigh Valley. He is thoroughly versed in the chemistry of minerals, geology, etc., and is a most shrewd and successful business man.

The subject of this sketch was born in County Derry, Ireland, in 1842, and is a son of John Erwin, also a native of the Emerald Isle, and of Scotch descent. The latter was a laborer in the Old Country, and the year after our subject’s birth emigrated with his family to America and located at once at Summit Hill, Carbon County, this state, where he found employment in the mines. Later, however, he purchased a farm near Lehighton, the above county, and was engaged in its cultivation until his decease, at the age of sixty-two years. His wife, Nancy, was the daughter of William and Margaret (Davis) Daugherty, also natives of Ireland. She preceded her husband to the better land, leaving at her death seven children, six of whom are now living.

During the late war Henry Erwin enlisted in the Twenty-eighth Pennsylvania Infantry, under Colonel Burnham, by whom he was given a pass to join his regiment in the front. The conductor on the train, however, refused to honor the paper, and, having no money, he was obliged to return home. His parents then pleaded so earnestly with him to remain that he decided to do so, and made no further effort to join the army. His brother, Thomas, was a member of the Twelfth Pennsylvania Infantry, and was severely wounded at the battle of Antietam, from the effects of which he has never recovered. John, next to the youngest son, served as a Union soldier in the Fourth Pennsylvania Cavalry, and after his return was killed in the coal mines. Mathew Erwin manages the old home farm in Carbon County; William is living in California; Annie is in Europe; and Mary lives in the West.

Our subject received his education in the Summit Hill schools, and remained on the home farm until reaching his eighteenth year, when he was apprenticed to learn the trade of a blacksmith in Mauch Chunk. After remaining there for some time he went to Janesville, and became a machinist and boiler-maker in the Janesville Locomotive Shops. There he remained until 1864, when he accepted a position with a coal company, having charge of the mining machinery at Yorktown.

After being variously employed for some time, Mr. Erwin located, in 1866, in Lehighton, where he opened a blacksmith shop and engaged in business for himself. The following year we find him in Bethlehem, where he engaged in mining iron ore, leasing ground near Bath. He has changed his place of operations from time to time as he could benefit himself, and is now the proprietor of a metallic paint and iron ore mine near the Gap, in Carbon County. He manufactures from twenty-eight to thirty different shades of paint, and for this purpose uses about fifteen kinds of minerals, some of which he imports. He is also the proprietor of mines in other parts of this state, New Jersey and Virginia.

Mr. Erwin is President and Manager of the Bermuda Ochre Company, which was incorporated with a capital of $32,000. The works are located between Petersburg and City Point, on the Appomattox River. The company owns about nine hundred acres of land, and is doing a thriving business in this branch of mining. Our subject is the possessor of considerable real estate in West Bethlehem, and by the admirable manner in which he has conducted his various enterprises has become wealthy.

In 1866 Mr. Erwin and Miss Jennie Gormly were united in marriage. To them were born the following-named seven children: William, Minnie, Jennie (deceased), Harry, John, Joseph and Maggie. They also lost one child by death in infancy. Socially our subject is a member of the Union League, of which he has been Vice-President. He has always been a stanch Republican in politics, and occupies a high place in the regard of the community where he has resided for so many years.

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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

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