History of Bucks County, Pa Volume 3 by William H. Davis
Names and Page # Index


ROBERT SHOEMAKER DANA, M. D., whose postoffice address is now Morrisville, Bucks county, Pennsylvania, was born in Circleville, Pickaway county, Ohio, November 10, 1833, is the son of Sylvester DANA, A. M., and his wife, Elizabeth BROWN.  On his paternal side he is of Huguenot descent, the family having left France on the revocation of the Edict of Nantes.

            Richard DANA was the first of the family in America.  He was born in France about 1612, whence with his parents and others he fled to England in 1629, and emigrated from there to America in 1640 landing in the Plymouth colony.  Afterwards he removed to West Cambridge now (in 1830) called Brighton, near Boston.  His place was called also the Hannewell farm, which he once owned and sold to Edward JACKSON in 1656.  He died at West Cambridge or (Brighton) April 2, 1690.  He was the father of Jacob, whose son Jacob was the father of Anderson DANA, Sr., who was born at Pomfret, Connecticut, October 26, 1735.  He resided at Ashford, Connecticut, until 1772, when with his family he moved to Wyoming Valley, then called West Moreland, now in Luzerne county, Pennsylvania; there he located an original section of land about one mile below the centre of the town, the section being laid out long, and reaching from the lower flat lands to and including a portion of the mountain, giving each settler a variety of flats, hill land and mountain.  He was a lawyer, and at one time clerk of the council.  In 1774 he was chosen a surveyor of highways and “lister,” also a member of the school committee, and in May, 1778, was chosen as representative of Westmoreland to the Connecticut assembly, from which he had returned to Wyoming in time to participate in the battle which took place there July 3, 1778, between the settlers and the British, Tories, and their Indian allies.  In that engagement he acted as aide to Colonel Zebulon BUTLER, was wounded in the thigh and unhorsed.  One of the men escaping from the Indians when the battle was lost, Rufus BENNETT, reported that he saw his son-in-law, Stephen WHITON, trying to help him on his horse.  That was the last seen of either of them, and undoubtedly they were immediately killed, as the Indians were close upon them.

            His son, Anderson DANA, Jr., the grandfather of Dr. Robert S. DANA, was born August 11, 1765, at Ashford, Connecticut, and went with his father to Wyoming Valley in 1772.  He was nearly thirteen years old at the time of the massacre, and in company with many others, among whom he was the oldest male, he with his mother and other children fled back to Connecticut through the wilderness east of the Valley, which was long known as the “Wilderness and Shades of Death.” On account of the number of the fugitives from the Valley who died there from hunger and privations.  His mother, knowing that her husband’s papers were of great value, took them in a pillow case along with her to Connecticut.  When ANDERSON became of more mature age he, with a younger brother, returned to Wyoming Valley, taking with them a cow and a horse.  They built a log house on the land their father had located, put in some crops, and when the crops had well grown they sent for their mother and the other children, who came on with other persons coming to the Valley from Connecticut.  He married Sarah STEVENS, of Wilkes-Barre (so named after the Declaration of the Independence of the United States of America, in honor of John WILKES, and Colonel BARRE, men of influence in England, who used their influence in favor of the freedom of the colonies), the county town of Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, and located in the valley of Wyoming, about the centre of it.  He carried on farming.  While in Connecticut and a minor, he had learned the trade of cooper, and made his own barrels, milk pails, tubs, etc.  He was associate judge for some time in the Wilkes-Barre county court, councilman, road supervisor, collector of taxes, and Lieutenant of the State Militia.  He held other positions of trust, and was highly esteemed as a citizen and a neighbor.  He had eleven children who mostly settled in and around Wilkes-Barre.  He died at his homestead in Wilkes-Barre in 1851, aged about eighty-six years.  The children were: Amelia, born July 23, 1791; Laura, born May 28, 1793, died August 16, 1794; Asa Stevens, born December 17, 1794, married Hannah PRUNER, and after her death he married her sister, Nancy PRUNER; Sarah, wife of Rowland METCALF, born September 16, 1796; Francis, born May 23, 1798, married Sophia WHITCOMB; Louisa Huntington, born March 19, 1800, died 1842; Anderson, born February 26, 1802, married Ann JAMESON, and afterward Mary HAMMER; Eleazer, born April 23, 1804; Sylvester, born May 28, 1806, married Elizabeth BROWN, of Worthington, Ohio; Mary, born June 16, 1808, married Lyman C. KIDDER; and Charles, born August 6, 1811.

            Sylvester DANA, son of the above Anderson DANA, was a gentleman of great worth as a lawyer and educator.  He was born May 28, 1806, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where he was reared on his father’s farm.  He was educated at the Wilkes-Barre Academy, then conducted by the Hon. Joel JONES, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  From thence he went to Yale College, in New Haven, Connecticut.  Having passed through the usual course he graduated from there in 1826 with the degree of Master of Arts.  He then returned to Wilkes-Barre and entered upon the study of law with Judge Garrick MALLORY, and, when admitted to the bar, went of Ohio, where he had charge of the Worthington seminary as principal for three years.  He married Elizabeth BROWN, one of the assistant teachers in the seminary.  He then practiced law, associated with Judge OLDS, having moved to Circleville.  He there also published the “Olive Branch,” a weekly paper.  His health proving delicate, his physician advised a change of climate, and he arranged to take charge of a seminary at Charleston, South Carolina, but before moving the directors sent word that a former applicant, whom they had thought would not come, had arrived.  The academy of Wilkes-Barre having then no principal, he accepted a call to this old school of his boyhood days and moved to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.  In 1839 he built a fine academy of his own for young men, especially those fitting themselves for college, known as DANAS Academy, at the corner of Franklin and Academy streets, the latter so called from his institution.  In 1855 he was called as principal to the academy at Jersey Shore, Lycoming county, near Williamsport, on the west branch of the Susquehanna river, where he served for two years, having rented to another party his school at Wilkes-Barre.  Then being called to the Saltsbury academy, in Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburg, he conducted that two years, when his school at Wilkes-Barre being vacant he returned to Wilkes-Barre, and resumed his academy there, which bore his name.  During his teaching at his academy in Wilkes-Barre, most of the rising young men of the place, and many from Baltimore and other places at great distances around, were prepared for their entrance into colleges.  October 1, 1866, he moved to the place near Morrisville where he resided until his death, June 19, 1882.  Politically he was a Whig, and later a Republican.  He was a member of the Presbyterian church, in which he was deacon most of his lie.  He was married to Elizabeth BROWN in Ohio, March 26, 1832, and had five children; Robert Shoemaker DANA, subject of this history; Eunice A., born September 9, 1837; Elizabeth, born March 4, 1840; Louisa Amelia, born February 3, 1842; and Ellen, born September 16, 1850.  The daughters are now living at No. 24 South Clinton Avenue, Trenton, New Jersey, except Elizabeth, who died of pneumonia, December 20, 1901.  After moving to Morrisville, Pennsylvania, he was a member of the Fourth Presbyterian church in Trenton, New Jersey; also one of the original founders of the Morrisville Rubber Company, chartered in 1872, and located in the old Morris (Robert) and General Victor MOREAU brick stable building in Morrisville.  He was also one of the original members who organized the Standard Insurance Company, now (as then) located in State street. Trenton, and one of the original stockholders and founders of Greenwood cemetery, outside of Trenton, where the family have a lot and where he and his wife and daughter Elizabeth lie buried.  His wife died February 6, 1878.  She was born in Bloomfield, Connecticut, November 1, 1814, and was of a family that sent many of its members into the Revolutionary service.  One, John BROWN, and Amariah DANA, were with Ethan Allen in taking Ticonderoga.

            Robert S. DANA was a little over three years old when his parents left Ohio.  He obtained his intellectual training under the direction of his father until about fitted to enter the Yale sophomore class, but at that time he was induced to abandon the course at Yale and take up the study of medicine in Philadelphia, with Dr. George CHAMBERLAIN, at his request, December, 1852.  This offer afforded excellent opportunities in connection with his preceptor’s drug business and practice, as well as attendance at clinics in the Pennsylvania Hospital and the Philadelphia Almshouse.  He matriculated at the Jefferson Medical College and took his degree of M. D. there from March 7, 1857.  In October following he commenced practice at Nanticoke, in Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, being the only settled physician there at that time.  The practice was not very lucrative, but very extensive, reaching to nine or ten miles in every direction from Nanticoke. After a little over a year’s practice, another physician settled there, and he, having come into possession of a drug store on the public square in Wilkes-Barre, moved his office there, still retaining many of his old patrons living between there and Nanticoke.  After about a year (the drug store not paying) the building was rented to a milliner, and the office transferred to his father’s house on Academy street.  The German Yeager rifle company’s band having lost a member (the B flat cornetist) he was prevailed upon to take the vacant horn, and became a member of the band, meeting once a week to practice in the evening.  He also was a member and treasurer of the Wilkes-Barre Musical Association, which gave a series of concerts every winter, which were conducted by Lowell MASON, William B. BRADBURY and other celebrated composers of that time.

            The civil war coming to a certainty in 1861, Dr. DANA, at the instance of several companies raised in that neighborhood, went to Harrisburg and applied for a position as surgeon. Governor CURTIN gave him to understand that he had left all of these matters to the Colonels of the Regiments, as he had more than he could attend to without surgical appointments, his private clerk, having a short time before (despairing of obtaining permission) jumped out of the window and gone off with a regiment starting for the front.  Dr. DANA therefore applied to the officer in the regiment who was supposed likely to be the colonel when fully organized.  This officer gave every assurance of the appointment being made, and requested that he should look after a number of the sick in the regiment.  This was done for some days, when the regiment was ordered to move, the colonel elected, a personal friend appeared as surgeon, another as assistant.  The regiment moved for the seat of war; and Dr. DANA returned home, having assured the band that he would go with them if he did not get a position first.  He bided his time for something to happen.  The war was not over in three months, regiments for enlistments of three years were wanted.  The band was called to enter the service with the Lochiel cavalry regiment, and recruited their numbers to twenty-four under their leader (Louie PRACTORIOUS) of Wilkes-Barre.  The transportation, and order to report having arrived October 1, the band proceeded by rail to Harrisburg, and found their regiment, the Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry (Lochiel Cavalry, Senator CAMERON’S regiment) at Camp Cameron.  They were mustered into the United States service October 6, 1861.  About November 1, 1861, the regiment let Harrisburg by rail with their horses, saddles and etc., but no arms.  At Pittsburg they were put into seven steamers for transportation to Louisville, Kentucky.  The headquarters Boat was the side wheeler “Westmoreland.” the others were stern wheelers, the “Arago,” “Clara Poe,” “Haileman.” “Dacotah,” “Idema” and “Anglo-Saxon.”  The Ohio river was somewhat short of water, and the boats had frequently to swell each other off of the bars by backing down, suddenly reversing the paddles and throwing a swell against the boat in trouble.  The “Arago” broke some paddles on a gravel bar, but extra floats were always carried along, and a couple or (sic) hours repaired damages.  At various towns along the route they fired salutes from cannon arranged on the bluffs.  At Wheeling the bridge was filled with people and the shores as well.   Salutes were fired, and to answer there was on the “Westmoreland” a cannon arranged on a common two wheel truck, lashed fast with strong cables; the handles of the truck, to make the cannon level, were placed upon the combing of the open forward hatch.  The first discharge, with its recoil, sent the cannon and all down through the hatch into the hold.  It was soon hauled out and better secured.  In time the regiment arrived at Louisville, and the enemy being in force only a few miles away, it was put into camp at Jeffersonville, on the Indiana side, on Senator Jesse BRIGHTS farm.  About New Years, the Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry left camp, and advanced with the rest of the western forces to Bardstown, thence to Mumfordsville, on the Green river. General THOMAS having defeated ZOLLICOFFER at Spring Mill, near the Cumberland Gap, all of the center forces were gathered at Mumfordsville for a general advance.  General GRANT with Commodore FOOTES flotilla was on the river west.  When the army moved southward, the Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry was assigned to the duty of protecting the lines in the rear from guerillas and General John MORGANS raids, which they pretty effectually did, driving him out of Kentucky several times, once having a severe fight with him at Paris, Kentucky, in July, 1862, and driving him through Winchester and Crab Orchard to and beyond Somerset, where, his band, having dispersed, the regiment returned to Danville, Kentucky, and thence to Lebanon, where it went into camp.  Here the band was discharged from the United States service in compliance with an act of congress discharging all regimental bands, and allowing only one band to a brgade. (sic)  The leader having accepted a position as lieutenant of a company, Dr. DANA took the band to Louisville and made out their discharge and pay rolls to August 18, 1862, secured their pay, and all returned home to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.  Most of the band enlisted into regiments that found their way into the army of the Potomac.  After having been at home for six days, their (sic) was a call for surgeons to fill vacancies in Pennsylvania regiments.  Mr. Dana answered the call, went to Harrisburg, was examined, and, answering to an emergency call for fifty surgeons to go at once to the field, he was assigned as assistant surgeon, September 12, 1862 to the One Hundred and Seventh Regiment, Pennsylvania Infantry, already at the front.  Taking the first train to Baltimore that got through to that coity (sic) after the enemy had destroyed several bridges on the line, he joined his regiment on the field about noon during the battle on Antietam.  From that time he was with the One Hundred and Seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers, First Brigade, Second Division, First Army Corps, on the field, in every engagement, including Gettysburg, where his horse was killed by the enemy the afternoon of the first day’s fight, while attempting to reach Cemetery Hill through the town.  He then being surrounded by the enemy, reported for duty to the Division Hospital in the Lutheran church which was close by.  Here all hands were regarded as prisoners, and their names taken, and without any questions there were considered paroled.  The enemy having failed early July 4 left the town, also the surgeons, who soon reported to their respective places.  The engagements are a matter of general history and need not be repeated here.  March 4, 1864, the One Hundred and Seventh re-enlisted while at MICHELL’S station, below Culpeper, Virginia, and in April was sent home on veteran furlough of thirty days. Thereby escaping the second Wilderness fight under General GRANT, but returned just in time for the Spottsylvania affair.  The First Army corps being now consolidated with the Fifth Corps, the regiment followed its fortunes to Cold Harbor, White Oak Swamp, etc., to below Petersburg, where the regiment aided in building Fort Warren, on the Jerusalem Plankroad, the capture of the Weldon railroad and built on it Fort Wadsworth; helped destroy the same railroad to Bellefield, near the North Carolina line: were at the battle of Five Forks with SHERIDAN’S command; and aided in the final wind up at Appomattox.  About this time Dr. DANA was promoted to surgeon, April 27, 1865, with the rank of Major by the request of the Colonel of the One Hundred and Seventh Pennsylvania Regiment (Colonel MCCOY). JOHNSON having surrendered to SHERMAN in North Carolina, the regiment was marched via Petersburg and Richmond, to Ball’s cross roads, opposite Washington; participated in the grand review; was transported to Harrisburg by rail, paid off, disbanded, and sent home.

            Dr. DANA, having reached home, went to the Jefferson College again, attending the lectures for three months.  Then, his father having purchased the place near Morrisville where he now lives he settled in Morrisville, June 1, 1866, purchasing the store now owned by E. D. TITUS, and the house now owned by Isha V. SMITH, in March, 1867, and practiced extensively throughout the surrounding country, both in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  He was one of the original founders of the Mercer County Medical Society in New Jersey, in 1868, one of the original founders of the Morrisville Rubber Company, incorporated in 1872, and treasurer of the company seven years, until the factory was rented.  The last year before renting it he was also its general superintendent, making all of the formulas for the compounding of the material, etc., and looking after the business in all of its branches.  He was one of the trustees and also treasurer of the Morrisville Presbyterian church from 1867 to 1878: member of Morrisville council, 1868-1873; member of the school board and president of the board 1868 to 1875; medical examiner for three insurance companies, 1872 to 1875; member of the Jefferson Medical College Alumni Association; the society of the Army of the Potomac; the Grand Army of the Republic, and the Bucks County Historical Society (Pennsylvania),  He was chairman of the executive committee and Marshal of the day at the Centennial anniversary of incorporation of the borough of Morrisville, which was celebrated May 24, 1904; surgeon of Post 23, G. A. R. of Trenton, New Jersey; special aide on the staff of the Commander-in-chief, G. A. R., in charge of military and patriotic instructions in the public schools of New Jersey.  He is something of a mechanical genius, having constructed a plumb level; a churn which he has had in use for eight or ten years, of peculiar construction: and a combination surveyor’s instrument, besides other articles.  His literary productions include several historical papers of local interest, one of which was read at the meeting of the Bucks County Historical Society, held May 24, 1903, in Morrisville, Pennsylvania.  He is also a member and one of the stockholders of the Fallsington Library Company of Fallsington, Bucks county, Pennsylvania, was also chairman of the committee appointed to arrange for a centennial celebration of its corporated existence, and prepared and read a history of the library at the meeting, also arranged a condensed history of the institution which was published with various illustrations as a souvenir of the occasion, (sic) and conducted the exercises during the day and evening, June 14, 1902.

            Dr. DANA married, June 3, 1872, Fanny PAWLING of an old Norristown (Pennsylvania) family related to the MUHLENBERGHS, HEISTERS, the BIDDLES, and others of prominence in early Pennsylvania and New Jersey history.  Dr. and Mrs. DANA have one son, Sylvester.

Test taken from page 521 to 525 of: 

Davis, William W. H., A.M., History of Bucks County, Pennsylvania [New York-Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1905] Volume III

Transcribed August 2005 by Joan Lollis as part of the Bucks Co., Pa., Early Family Project, www.rootsweb.com/~pabucks/bucksindex.html

Published August 2005 on the Bucks County, Pa., USGenWeb pages at www.rootsweb.com/~pabucks/

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