Bethlehem Area Public Library

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Warren A. Wilbur

Member Executive Committee


No chronicle of South Bethlehem would be complete without due tribute to the man described by Mr. Schwab as "the town’s first citizen”, — a man whose manifold activities, extending beyond this community and section, have made him one of the leading citizens of Pennsylvania. In the large business and banking centers of the country the name of Warren A. Wilbur is known and respected. In a dozen other spheres his influence is strong and helpful. He stands forth, as a speaker at the citizens’ testimonial dinner to him in 1913 declared, “an acknowledged leader in progress and in all things that look to the good and uplift of his fellow men”.

Mr. Wilbur’s birth, training and associations reveal him as peculiarly a local product. Born in Bethlehem on May 1, 1859, a son of the late Elisha P. Wilbur and Mrs. Stella Abbott Wilbur, (residents here for many years), he spent his boyhood in the old Abbott homestead at Main and Church Streets, and attended the Moravian Parochial School. His schooling was finished at the Swarthmore Preparatory School and Mt. Pleasant Military Academy at Ossining, N.Y. Graduating from Mt. Pleasant in 1877 he returned to this section and entered the employ of the Bethlehem Iron Company, taking charge of the old Lucy Furnace at Glendon. He remained with the Furnace Company until 1882, becoming connected in the meantime (1880) with E. P. Wilbur & Company, Bankers.

To trace in detail Mr. Wilbur’s career in the years since would require many pages. The multiplicity of his interests and achievements is indicated in the following tabulation of his activities:

Financial — President, E. P. Wilbur Trust Company; President, First National Bank of Sayre; Trustee, Asa Packer Estate; member of various associations of bankers; Director, Lehigh Valley National Bank, Bethlehem.

Industrial — President and a Director of the following: Bethlehem Foundry & Machine Co., Sayre Land Co., Wilbur Coal & Coke Co., Valley Coal & Coke Co., Packer Coal Co., East Sugar Loaf Co., Union Iron Co., Connelsville & State Line Co.; Director in numerous corporations, among them the Lehigh Coke Co., Lehigh Valley Transit Co., Lehigh Foundry Co., Lehigh Car Wheel & Axle Co., and Western Maryland Railroad Co.

Civic — Treasurer of South Bethlehem since 1910, active in Chamber of Commerce and varied municipal enterprises.

Educational — Member Board of Trustees of Lehigh University for many years, Chairman of Executive Committee and member of Finance Committee of the University Trustees, donor of Wilbur Engineering Laboratory and extensions to the heat and light plant of the University.

Public Welfare — Treasurer and Trustee of St. Luke’s Hospital for many years; Treasurer, Free Library of the Bethlehems; Board Associated Charities; Board of Directors, and guarantor, Bach Festivals.

Religious — Member and Treasurer of the Incorporated Trustees of the Episcopal Church, Diocese of Bethlehem; member, Board of Missions of the Episcopal Church; Warden, Pro-Cathedral of the Nativity.

Engineering — An active member for many years of the American Institute of Mining Engineers, and now a member of the Institute’s Committee on National Defense.

Adherent of Athletics — Member of Lehigh University Athletic Committee, donor of largest concrete section in Taylor stadium, donor of championship cup to Blue Mountain Soccer League.


Adam Brinker

Treasurer General Committee


Adam Brinker, one of the oldest and most prominent residents of this town and a leading spirit in the community was born on February 3rd, 1846, in Forks Township, Northampton County.



Born and raised on the farm, his early life gave him the health and vigor which are his to-day, and when the North called for volunteers for the great Civil War, he enlisted in Company A, 153rd Regiment, Pennsylvania Infantry, at the age of sixteen. He was mustered in at Harrisburg in September, 1862, and was sent to join the Army of the Potomac. After seeing service for some time, he was taken sick, spent two months in the Army hospital, and was then sent to Washington and Philadelphia. In July, 1863, he was honorably discharged, after which he was employed in the Government harness shops at Washington, D. C., until 1864.

On April 5th, 1865, he was employed as harness-maker by Henry Long of Bethlehem.

In 1867 Mr. Brinker started in the harness business for himself, and located in South Bethlehem, on Second Street, near Elm, being one of the first dozen or so business men in the newly-incorporated Borough of about 2,000 population. Trade increased steadily, and after four years it was found necessary to move to larger quarters at No. 50 East Third Street (old number), the present site of Bowen’s Grocery Co. Here he remained 19 years. In 1891 the new building at 119 East Third Street was completed and occupied by Mr. Brinker where the retail and wholesale harness trade is still carried on under the firm name of Adam Brinker & Co.

As member of the Town Council, he served continuously from the year 1878, and was a member of the recent City Council.

Mr. Brinker was partner in the firm of Brinker & Wagner, dealers in building stone, etc., when their quarries were opened along the Lehigh River in 1882.

He acted in the capacity of Director in the old South Bethlehem Building & Loan Association, and the same capacity with the Equitable Building & Loan Association.

As one of the incorporators of the South Bethlehem National Bank in 1889, he was appointed a Director continuing in that office to date, and in January, 1901, was elected President of the institution, and has acted in that capacity ever since.

The Lehigh Valley Cold Storage Company was organized in 1893, Mr. Brinker being one of the incorporators and President since its organization. He has also been a Trustee of the South Bethlehem Moravian Church for 32 years; as Treasurer of the Chamber of Commerce; and sole owner of the Artificial Ice Co., which he organized in 1898.

Mr. Brinker is a member of Hobah Lodge, K. of P., and its Master of Exchequer since 1870; past officer of Waneka Tribe, I.O.R.M.; past officer of Packer Castle, K.G.E.; member of Robt. OIdham Post, G.A.R.; and a member of the Masonic bodies.


Hon. J. Davis Brodhead

Member Executive Committee


J. Davis Brodhead, now Judge of the Third Judicial District of Pennsylvania, comprising the County of Northampton, was born in Easton in that County on January 12, 1859. His father was Richard Brodhead, late United States Senator from Pennsylvania. After receiving a collegiate education, he studied law with the late Judge John B. Storm of Strousburg, Pa., and was admitted to the Bar in 1881, and has practiced law continuously since. He was married to Cecile Harvier of New York in 1883; elected District Attorney of Northampton County in 1889; was Delegate to the Democratic National Convention of 1892 and 1904; elected to the 60th Congress as a Democrat; Mr. Brodhead was a member of the Committee on the District of Columbia; he was appointed Judge of the Third Judicial District of Pennsylvania by Governor John K. Tener to fill the vacancy caused by the death of the late Judge Henry W. Scott. Four weeks after his appointment, having closed-up all other business affairs, he was sworn in the office as Judge on December 7th, 1914.


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