Family:Whitney, Asa (1791-1874)

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Asa Whitney
Clarinda (Williams) Whitney

Asa7 Whitney (Asa6, Levi5, Daniel4, Jonathan3, Jonathan2, John1), son of Asa6 and Mary (Wallis) Whitney, was born 1 Dec 1791, Townsend, MA, and died 4 Jun 1874, Philadelphia, PA. (Find A Grave Memorial# 11365599).

He married, 22 Aug 1816, Watertown, NY, Clarinda Williams, dau. of Ralph Williams, of Groton, CT. She was born 27 Apr 1788, and died 6 Jul 1879, Philadelphia, PA, aged 91 years of congestion fever.[1]

Asa Whitney, manufacturer, born in Townsend, MA, 1 Dec 1791; died in Philadelphia, 4 Jun 1874. His opportunities for education were meager, and after spending several years in his father's blacksmith shop, he went, in 1812, to New Hampshire, and soon became so capable as a machinist that his employer sent him to Brownsville, NY, to superintend the erection of machinery in a cotton factory. Here he remained till 1830, carrying on a business in machine and forge-works, when he was appointed assistant superintendent of the Mohawk & Hudson railroad, and became superintendent the following year. Resigning this post in 1839, he was elected canal commissioner of New York state, and for two years superintended the enlargement and management of the Erie canal and its branches. In 1842 he removed to Philadelphia and entered into the manufacture of locomotives with Matthew W. Baldwin, but withdrew from the partnership in two years. Soon afterwards he became president of the Morris Canal Company, for which he applied special machinery to a series of inclined planes by steam, by which means its boats could pass elevations. He took out patents on 22 May 1847, for the corrugated platewheel and began their manufacture with his son George as partner. On 25 Apri 1848, he patented his process for annealing car wheels. It consisted in placing the wheels soon after they were cast in a heated furnace, where they were subjected to a further gradual increase of temperature, and were then cooled slowly for three days. The discovery of this process of annealing, as applied to chilled cast-iron wheels marked an era in the history of railroads. It enabled them with safety to increase both loads and speed. Previous to this discovery it was impossible to cast wheels with solid hubs, and therefore impossible to secure them rigidly to the axle. Now the whole wheel was easily cast in one piece, and capable of being forced securely upon the axle at a pressure of forty tons. Over ten million car wheels are now in use in this country, and this principle of annealing is applied in some form to every wheel that is made of chilled cast iron. On 19 Mar 1850, he patented the tapered and ribbed corrugated wheel. For many years he made from 50,000 to 75,000 car wheels per annum. The business is still carried on by the firm of A. Whitney & Sons. In 1860, Mr. Whitney was made president of the Reading railroad, but he resigned in a year from failing health, after contributing largely to the success of the road. He gave liberally during his life and among other public bequests he gave $50,000 to found a professorship of dynamical engineering in the University of Pennsylvania, $12,500 to the Franklin Institute, and $20,000 to the Old men's Home in Philadelphia. He left a princely fortune to his family, and was probably the only millionaire among the sons of Townsend. He died 4 Jun 1874; resided Brownsville, NY, and Philadelphia, PA.

For more information see Archives.

Children of Asa7 and Clarinda (Williams) Whitney:

i. William Wallis8 Whitney, b. 1 Sep 1817; d. unmarried 17 Nov 1847, Cuba; unmarried; civil engineer.
ii. George Whitney, b. 17 Oct 1819; m. Mary J. Ely.
iii. Mary Jane Whitney, b. 8 Nov 1821; m. 16 Aug 1843, John H. Redfield, b. 10 Jul 1815; resided 216 W. Logan Square, Philadelphia, PA. Children:
a. William Wallace Redfield, b. 7 Jul 1844; m. 31 Oct 1872, Emma Stoddard; resided Minneapolis, MN.
b. Clarinda Redfield, b. 30 Jul 1846; d. 4 Aug 1891 unmarried.
c. Robert Stuart Redfield, b. 2 May 1849; m. 30 Oct 1877, Mary T. Guillon; resided 3766 Walnut St., Philadelphia, PA.
d. Eliza Whitney Redfield, b. 13 Dec 1851; resided 216 W. Logan Squ., Philadelphia, PA.
iv. Daniel Lyman Whitney, b. Feb 1824; d. 24 May 1825 in infancy.
v. Eliza Whitney, b. 25 Jan 1826; m. 9 Jun 1857, Rev. M. A. DeWolfe Howe, D. D., b. 5 Apr 1808; resided Reading, PA.
Howe, Mark Anthony DeWolfe, P. E. bishop, b. 5 Apr 1808, Bristol RI. He was graduated at Brown in 1828; ordained deacon in 1832, and priest in 1833. In October of the latter year he became rector of St. James church, Roxbury, MA, where he remained three years, and then removing to Cambridge, was rector of Christ church, and editor of the Christian Witness. Returning to Roxbury in 1836 he remained there ten years, and then became rector of St. Luke's church, Philadelphia, where he officiated till 1865, when he was consecrated bishop of central Pennsylvania. From 1850 till 1862 he was secretary of the house of clerical and lay deputies, and he was a deputy to the general convention from that date till 1872. In 1865 he was elected missionary bishop of Nevada, but declined. He received the degree of D. D. from Brown in 1848, and from the University of Pennsylvania in 1876. He has published besides sermons, essays and addresses, "A Review of the Report of the Boston Public Schools" (Boston, 1845); "Oration before the Phi Beta Kappa Society" (Hartford, 1852); "Domestic Slavery, a Reply to Bishop Hopkins" (Philadelphia, 1864); "Life of Bishop Alonzo Porter" (1871); "Poem Read at the Bi-Centenary of Bristol, R. I." (Providence, Rhode Island, 1882); and "Charge to the Clergy of the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania" (Reading, 1886). Children:
a. Anna Barnard Howe, b. 8 May 1858; dec'd.
b. Arthur Whitney Howe; b. 15 May 1859; m. 4 Apr 1888, Mary Williamson Denckla; res. DeLancey place, Philaadelphia, PA.
c. Mark A. DeWolfe Howe, b. 28 Aug 1864; address, 41 Temple place, Boston, MA.
d. Antoinette DeWolfe Howe, b. 13 Jan 1861; dec'd.
e. Wallis Eastburn Howe, b. 12 Sep 1868; address, 91 Mt. Vernon St., Boston, MA.
vi. John Randall Whitney, b. 21 Oct 1828; m.(1) Susan Caldwell Butler; m.(2) Mary Graham Young.
vii. James Shields Whitney, b. 2 Dec 1830; m. Elizabeth Field Knap.


1148 1272 Asa Whitney 38 M - Iron Founder New York Clarinda Whitney 62 F - " Eliza Whitney 24 F - " John Whitney 22 M - " " James Whitney 20 M - " " Humility Cidester 88 F - Connecticut Sally Williams 58 F - New York Margaret Rodgers 28 F - Domestic Ireland Illiterate

776 808 Asa Whitney 68 M - Car Wheel Manufacturer $175000 $244000 Massachusetts Clarinda Whitney 71 F - Connecticut James S. Whitney 29 M - Car Wheel Manufacturer $23000 New York Sally Williams 68 F - Gentlewoman do Catharine Walsh 39 F - Servant Ireland Illiterate Margt. Gallagher 16 F - do do

149 119 Whitney, Asa 79 M W Iron Foundry $78000 $62000 Mass. Male citizen over 21 -----, Clarinda 82 F W Keeping House Conn. Williams, Sallie 70 F W House Keeper Conn. Welsh, Catherine 50 F W Servant Ireland Parents foreign born, Illiterate Ferry, Minie 29 F W Servant Ireland Parents foreign born


1.^  1880 Mortality Schedule.

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