The Workizer and Thropp Families


Colonel Christian Workizer

The following is taken largely from an October 2, 1902 newspaper article, origin unknown (but probably the Valley Forge area), and from a few other related sources in the possession of Bob Porter Nisbet.

Col. Christian Workizer was a highly educated German gentleman, who entered the English army as a lieutenant, at Ashaffenburg, in 1743, when George II was fighting in Germany. He subsequently rose to the rank of Colonel, and came to Canada with General Wolfe in 1758. He was one of three who bore his brave commander to the rear when he was mortally wounded on the Heights of Abraham. After the capture of Quebec, Col. Workizer retired from the British army and married Margaretta Girardin, daughter of Jacob Shirardin, later shortened to Sheridan (there are various spellings for the last name).

Jacob, Christian, and their family came with some French and German reformers from Canada to Tredyffrin township, Chester county, Pa. and settled there, particularly interested in religious freedom. Jacob purchased one hundred and fifty acres near Strafford station, Penna Railroad, March 16th, 1765, and on this tract which he sold to Christian, is located the Old Eagle School House property. This is near the village of Howellville. Records accompanying deeds of these transactions show that Christian Workizer was a shop keeper.

Col. Christian Workizer remained strictly neutral during the revolutionary war. He married Miss Barbara Snyder, at Pikeland (a handwritten letter is not conclusive of this). They had four daughters--Mary, Margaretta, Elizabeth, and Prescilla, and two sons, John and Jacob, all born at or near Howellville. The hotel at that village was the second homestead of the Workizer family. Jacob Workizer, a fine Latin and German scholar, wrote for the Philadelphia press and died young. General George Washington supposedly noticed the Workizer boys when he encountered them, and John loved to recall the General as he remembered him.

John Workizer
(1768 - 1838)

John Workizer, son of Col. Christian Workizer, married Miss Mary Turner, the daughter of a prosperous farmer, April 20th, 1800. The roomy old home of the Turner family is still standing near Spring City, Pa. John inherited Howellville from his father, but after a short residence there, he moved to Valley Forge, purchasing considerable land in and around the village, as much as one third of Valley Forge. The house that he occupied is now the Valley Forge Inn. They had four daughters--Eloisa, Matilda, Rebecca, and Anna Virginia. Mrs.Mary Workizer died February 10th, 1811, aged thirty years.  John remarried Sarah Rooke, by whom he had two children John Shirardin and Tamson Amelia.

John Workizer was a cultivated musician and had a lovely voice. He kept a singing school at his house for the benefit of the young people of the neighborhood and taught them all gratuitously. Records accompanying land deeds listed him as a school teacher. He died suddenly June 29, 1838. John left the bulk of his property to his two children by his second wife.


Uriah Galusha Pennypacker

Tamson Workizer, the daughter of John Workizer and Sarah Rooke, married Joseph Pennypacker. Tamson died young leaving one child, Uriah Galusha Pennypacker. Joseph sold his Valley Forge property and moved to California, leaving his son Uriah with relatives. Uriah Galusha became a printer by trade.

Uriah Galusha joined the Pennsylvania volunteers in April, 1861 during the Civil War. He quickly rose in the ranks to major by October. As a major he commanded the 97th Pennsylvania volunteers in 1863. Civil War records refer to him as Galusha. In February, 1864 Galusha led the 290 men of the 97th volunteers on raids on Camp Cooper, Woodstock, and King Ferry Mills, Florida. They destroyed clothing, shanties, and took lumber to keep it out of confederate hands.

By August, 1864 Galusha had become a Colonel. He became a brigade commander of units consisting of the New York 47th and 48th regiments, and Pennsylvania 76th, 97th, and 203rd regiments, totaling around 1200 men. They were involved in action around Petersburg and Richmond, Virginia from August until December, 1864.

In late December, 1864 Galusha and his brigade were transported by ship for the assault of Fort Fisher, North Carolina, south of Wilmington. On January 15, 1865 the attack against the Fort was launched by three brigades of men. Galusha commanded the second brigade to attack, and "was severely wounded while planting his colors on the third traverse of the work". Another description says he was wounded "while carrying the standard of one of his regiments, the first man in a charge over a traverse". For his bravery he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Later in his military service he was promoted to Brevet Major-General.

Anna Virginia Workizer

Anna Virginia Workizer (1807-1869) was the youngest daughter of John Workizer and Mary Turner. Anna was a young lady of remarkable beauty and intelligence. Her father educated her to be an assistant in his business, and there are many deeds, contracts, and other documents still extant written not only for her father, but gratuitously for the neighboring farmers, in the clear beautiful penmanship of this superior woman. Anna married Isaiah Thropp.

John Thropp and Sarah Wood Family

John Thropp (1748-1816) was a linen draper in Wednesbury, England in the eighteenth century. He came from an old Wednesbury family, as the parish registers there disclose. In the old registers the Thropp name is variously spelled Thrapp, Thropp or even Thorp.

John married Sarah Wood, daughter of James Wood. The Wood family was wealthy, and operated the iron works at Staffordshire. Sarah's marriage with a linen draper gave great offence to her family. They had fourteen children all born in Wednesbury, and several of which died young. They included Thomas, Elizabeth, John (died as infant), Joseph (died as infant?), Charles, another John (died as infant?), John (who lived a while!), Samuel, Ann, another Joseph (died age six), James, William (died less than one year old), another Joseph, and Isaiah, who is said to have been the youngest.  Later in life Sarah ran a select school for young ladies.

Isaiah Thropp
(1794 - 1871)

The following was originally taken from several newspaper articles, letters, and a Thropp/Workizer biography booklet, all dating from around 1902.  In 1998 Donna Thropp Freeman found my genealogy materials on the Internet, and sent me extensive materials on the Thropp family.  This summary includes the information from her detailed research.

Mr. Isaiah Thropp was an Englishman, having been born at Wednesbury, a suburb of Birmingham, England, July 6th, 1794. He was the youngest son of John Thropp, and Sarah, sister of Sir William Wood.  At the age of twenty-two in 1816 he came to America and settled in South Carolina.  After some time journeyed north and stopped in Philadelphia.  He visited a friend, Mr. Brooke Evans in Valley Forge, Chester County, Pa.  The evening of his arrival a party was held and he met his later bride to be Miss Anna Virginia Workizer, youngest daughter of John Workizer by his first wife.   After a short courtship he and married Anna Virginia Workizer circa 1822.

Isaiah entered the mercantile business (dry goods and groceries)  in a store belonging to his father-in-law, which he purchased, and continued in business for fifty years in one building. During the whole of this time he was honored and respected by all who knew him for his fair dealing, sincerity, and great conscientiousness.  Isaiah bought and sold a great deal of land in the Valley Forge area.  In 1842 Isaiah was indicted for running a tavern without a license (tippling).  He was found guilty and in 1843 his application for a tavern license was denied.

Mr. and Mrs. Thropp and their children were devoted to the interests of Valley Forge, sparing neither time nor money for the advancement of the place. Church charity appears to have been one of the characteristics of the Workizer and Thropp families. Colonel Christian Workizer and his wife, Margaretta, gave the ground for the Old Eagle School House, near Strafford Station, Pa. Mr. Isaiah Thropp gave the ground for the Methodist church at Valley Forge and gave generously towards the construction of the building.

Isaiah prized items made in England Vs those made in the United States. He had local Valley Forge clay sent to England where his china was made for him. Virginia Bull still has some while Thropp china with a pineapple pattern around the edge, as well as the sewing box of Isaiah's daughter Mary E. Virginia Bull remembers a Thropp Steel building outside of Baltimore, a business most likely run by one of Isaiah's sons.

Isaiah and Anna had eleven children, from 1823 to around 1850.   They included John Wellington, Mary E., Sarah Ann, Isaiah Jr., Anna Virginia, Amelia, Jennie M., Charles Alton, Eldon L., Katherine Rose, and Joseph Earlston.  All of the children were born at Valley Forge, Chester County, Pa.  Isaiah Thropp Sr. died Nov. 2nd, 1871 and was buried in the Morris Cemetery at Phoenixville.  The contents of his store were sold and the property rented out.  The old Thropp mansion at Valley Forge, which had been in the Workizer or Thropp families for 121 years, was sold in April 1881.

John Wellington Thropp

John Wellington Thropp was the eldest son of Isaiah Thropp and Anna V. Workizer. John was born in 1823,  died early in manhood on Sept. 20, 1856. . He was proficient in mathematics and botany, but injured his health at college by excessive study.

Mary Eloise Thropp

Mary E. Thropp, eldest daughter of Isaiah Thropp and Anna V. Workizer, was born in 1826.  She commenced her career early as a writer. She had published poems and in 1860 she opened a select school in Philadelphia for young ladies. During the Civil War in 1865 she worked for the United States Sanitary Commission with three other ladies to distribute surplus supplies to the sick and wounded soldiers at Richmond, Virginia. On October 1, 1868 she married Andrew Cone, the owner and publisher of the Oil City Times.   Andrew had moved to Oil City in 1862.  Mary was the third wife of Andrew Cone.    Andrew previously married Mary Hibbard in 1844, and Belinda S. Morse in 1859, and was widowed by both.

Mr. Cone was appointed to represent the state of Pennsylvania at a Universal Exposition in Vienna, Austria in 1873.  Mary accompanied her husband to Vienna, and they later traveled extensively around Europe.  Mary wrote many articles about her foreign travels for the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Oil City Derrick. From 1876-1880 Mary accompanied her husband Andrew when he twice became Consul of the United States, first at Para, afterwards at Pernambuco, Brazil.   Upon their return from Brazil the change of climate affected Andrew's health and after a short illness he passed away on November 7, 1880 in Philadelphia.

It was through Mary and Andrew Cone that Kate Rose Thropp met George Porter. Andrew Cone knew George Porter, and invited him to dinner where he met Mary's sister Kate Rose Thropp. In 1878 Mary wrote her celebrated poem for the Centennial at Valley Forge. She wrote for the paper in Oil City in later years.  She and her sister Amelia were the originators of the Valley Forge Monument Association in July 1882.  They continued their efforts to preserve the revolutionary war campground for many years.  Mary died in 1907 from complications of diabetes.  For more on Mary E. Thropp and Andrew Cone read The Workizer, Thropp & Cone Families by Edward Payson Cone, privately printed, New York, 1905.

Sarah Ann Thropp

The third child of Isaiah Thropp and Anna V. Workizer, Sarah Ann Thropp died in infancy and was buried at the Old Eagle School graveyard.

Isaiah Thropp Jr.

The second son of Isaiah Thropp and Anna V. Workizer, Isaiah Thropp Jr., was born in 1832.  He served his country as one of the courageous  33rd Pennsylvania Reserve Infantry, Company K, 4th reserve, in the War for the Union for three years.  Part of this time he was detailed for special service on the staff of General McCall. He married Emma Louise La Crosse (1844-1931) in 1865 shortly after returning from his Civil War service..  He later moved to Linconia, Virginia.  Isaiah Jr. and Emma had five children including Florence E. (1867-1949), Annie (b. 1869-1870),  Clara Louise (1871-1960), Frank R. (1873-?), and Charles E. (1876-?).  Emma left her husband but never divorced him.  To make money she put her kids on stage.  Isaiah Jr. died in 1921 on Long Island, NY, and Emma in 1931.

Clara became a famous actress performing in New York, San Francisco and London..   She made her stage debut at the age of eight (1879) as Meenie in "Rip Van Winkle" at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C.  She appeared in many productions from the late 1800's through 1930's, including The Country Fair and A Doll's House.   Later she appeared at summer theaters at Hershey, Pa. and Pawling, N.Y.  Clara could sing and dance, and was also an author of  "A Few Little Lives", several poems, and one or two plays.  Clara was married to Robert Folsom, and later divorced him.  Clara is listed in Notable Names in the American Theater, 1976.   Donna Thropp Freeman has many photographs and notes about Clara.

Anna Virginia Thropp

Anna Virginia (1833-1910), was the fifth child of Isaiah Thropp and Anna V. Workizer.   Anna V. married Lewis Schrack Wells (1830-1912), Attorney, of Norristown, Pa.   They later moved to Washington, D.C. The couple had four children including Isaiah Thropp Wells (1857-1878), a boy, Anna Virginia Wells (1864-1897), and Lewis S. Wells Jr. (1867-1941).  The oldest son, Isaiah Thropp Wells,  died in a sailing accident on the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. while only twenty years old.

Amelia Thropp

Amelia Thropp was the sixth child of Isaiah Thropp and Anna V. Workizer.  She was born circa 1839 and was educated in Philadelphia.  She began to write in childhood. She wrote prose for Philadelphia, Boston, New York and Southern periodicals.  She traveled extensively in Europe and South America. She  lived in Oil City with her sister Mrs. Mary E. Thropp Cone.  She died in 1914 in the house of her brother-in-law, George Porter from complications of diabetes.

Jennie M. Thropp

Jennie M.Thropp was the seventh child of Isaiah Thropp and Anna V. Workizer.  She was born in 1842.  She married Mr. Gersham Charles Rogers, a prominent merchant of Atlanta, Ga. on February 18, 1867.  They had four children including Birdie (b. 1868), George Charles (b. 1870), Amelia Virginia (b. ?), and Jennie R. (b. 1871)..    He died December 6, 1879, and Mrs. Rogers continued to live in Atlanta.   Her date of death is not known.

Charles Alton Thropp

Charles Alton Thropp was born in 1844.  He was a well known oil producer, near Bradford, McKean county, Pa., working with his brother in law, George Porter.  He married at age 56 (1900), to Sophie Lippert, who was twenty years old at the time.   Together they had one son, Charles Eldon Thropp (1901-1966).  Charles A. died shortly after his son's birth on  May 2, 1902 of apoplexy.

Eldon L. Thropp

Eldon L. Thropp was the ninth child of Isaiah Thropp and Anna V. Workizer.  He was born in 1845.  He was associated with his brother Charles in the oil business, and died March 31, 1895 at Fullerton, McKean County, Pa.

Katherine (Kate) Rose Thropp

Katherine (Kate) Rose Thropp was the tenth child of Isaiah Thropp and Anna V. Workizer.   She was born circa 1846.  She married Mr. George Porter on October 1, 1868, at the same ceremony as her sister Mary E. was married to Andrew Cone.  Her short biography is included next to her husband's in the Porter biographies.

Joseph Earlston Thropp

Joseph E. Thropp was born in 1848, the eleventh child of Isaiah Thropp and Anna V. Workizer.   For a time he worked for the firm of J.B. Moorhead and Co., Conshohocken, Pa.  He married Caroline (Carrie) F. Moorehead, a twin daughter of J.B. Moorhead, Esq. April 30, 1873.   He later re-married to Miriam Douglas Scott, the eldest daughter of Colonel Thomas A Scott.  Joseph had at least two sons, Douglas and Scott.  He owner of Everett Iron Furnace at Everett, Bedford County, Pa.    In 1898 he was elected representative to the 56th Congress from the Twentieth Pennsylvania District.