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SANKEY, James W., wholesale saddler, hardware and business dealer, Harrisburg, Pa., was born in Millheim, Centre county, Pa., April 13, 1833. He is a son of the late John and Catherine (Kryder) Sankey. The Sankey family is of Scotch-Irish ancestry. John Sankey, father of James W., was born in Scotland in 1793, and came to America when he was eight years old. His parents died and he was bound out by one of his uncles as a tanner's apprentice, at Millheim. According to the articles of agreement, he was to serve until he was twenty-one. When nearing the end of his apprenticeship, he was offered a paying position with another tanner in the same town. But his employer refused to let him leave his service, and as an inducement to him to remain and complete his time, agreed to admit him to partnership as soon as he became of age. This promise was fulfilled, and became a partner in the business. The partnership continued until the former employer retired from business on account of advancing age. Mr. Sankey carried on the business until his own retirement in 1861. He died in 1865, after an active, useful and successful life, aged seventy-five years. He was succeeded in business by his son Cyrus K.

The mother of James W. Sankey was born in Centre county, Pa., about two miles from Millheim. She was a daughter of Jacob Kryder, for many years associate judge of Centre county, and a personal friend of Gen. Andrew Jackson. She died at Millheim in 1854. The parents were married in Centre county. They had twelve children, four of whom are living: Jacob, a retired tanner, living in Philadelphia; John, a retired tanner, in Mifflin, Pa.; Mary Ann, wife of Aaron Wolf, a banker of Iowa and Nebraska, residing at Freeport, Ill,; and James W.

Jaames W. Sankey spent his boyhood on the home farm and received his education in the public schools of his native town. He learned the trade of tanner with his father, and followed it until 1879, doing business in Light Street, Columbia county, Pa., twenty-seven years after which he retired from business. In 1879 he made a trip of nearly eight thousand miles through the western part of the United States and into Mexico, traveling most of the distance in a wagon, and occupying eleven months in the trip. In 1880 he returned to Harrisburg, the point from which he had started the year before. Here he engaged in business at 323 Broad street, and has conducted it with energy and success. He ranks among the most substantial and enterprising business men of the city. His career is an object lesson to young men. From his example they can discern that personal qualities have more to do with success in life than favorable beginnings and fortunate circumstances.

Mr. Sankey was married at Light Street, Pa., November 29, 1857, to Harriet, daughter of John and Martha Melick, of Light Street. They have one child, Emma C., who resides with them.

Mr. Sankey is a good straight Republican. He is not an office seeker, but prefers to devote his time and attention to his business. He is an active ember of Perseverance Lodge, No. 21, F. & A. M.; Perseverance Chapter, No. 21, and Knights Templar, of Harrisburg. He and his family are members of Grace Methodist Episcopal church.

Transcribed by

Charles E. Fies for the Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Transcription Project -

Date of Transcription: 25 Nov. 2000

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