JOHN SLATER, manufacturer and wholesale dealer in cigars, is a prosperous and prominent citizen of Washington. He is a native of the borough, born June 11, 1858, a son of Theodore Slater, who was born January 22, 1821, in the city of Treves (Trier), Rhenish Prussia, and who, in the year 1846, came, in company with his brother, Matthias, to America, located at Pittsburgh, Penn., and thence, some time later, proceeded to Louisville, Ky. On July 19, 1847, the war with Mexico being in progress, he enlisted, although not yet an American citizen, in Company K (Capt. Gardner), First U. S. Infantry, and served under Gen. Winfield Scott during the remainder of the campaign, including the capture of the City of Mexico. On July 23, 1848, he was honorably discharged, and returned to Pittsburgh, whence, after a short time, he moved to Greene county, and embarked, in partnership with two of his brothers-in-law, in the manufacture of shoes, carrying on also a grocery and provision store.
Theodore Slater revisited his old home by the Rhine in 1851, where he married Miss Apolonia, daughter of Matthias Weis. Her father died in Germany in 1884, at the age of eighty-four years. In May, 1851, Mr. Slater returned with his bride, and finally settled in Washington, this county, where they made their first home on the corner of Main and Maiden streets, now the site of Acheson's grocery store. He commenced in the boot and shoe business on his own account. Later they lived where now stands G. W. Roberts' drug store. In 1866 they were burned out losing everything, including their furniture and clothing. In the following year they moved to Main street, where Mr. Slater established a trade in tobacco and the manufacture of cigars, etc., and here passed the remainder of his days, dying May 14, 1879, at the age of fifty-eight years. He was an ardent Democrat, but not ambitious for office, though he was nominated by his party for commissioner, and also assistant burgess, to which latter position he was duly elected. He was a member of the Catholic Church, and a strong supporter of educational measures. His widow is still living at the old home in Washington, the mother of four children: John, who died in childhood; Mary L., known as Sister Mary Xavier, of the Order of The Visitation, in the convent at Mt. Chantel, near Wheeling, W. Va., of which she has been a member for some fourteen years; John, of whom special mention will be presently made; and Annie, who died at the age of nineteen years. Annie was an extensive reader, and possessed a fine intellect. Her power of memorizing was almost phenomenal. When in her eighteenth year, she participated in a prize literary contest in the East, the subject of her essay being: "What Catholics have done for America." She had the honor of carrying off the second prize, notwithstanding the fact that she had to contend against many older competitors; truly an honor of which the family feel justly proud.
John Slater received his rudimentary education at the common schools of Washington borough, which was supplemented by a two-year's course at St. Vincent College, Latrobe, Westmoreland county. Returning to his home, he worked at his trade of cigar making under his father, at whose death he succeeded to the business, and has since continued to carry it on. The industry includes the general manufacture of several brands of cigars, and jobbing in all kinds of plug and smoking tobacco. Under Mr. Slater's management the business has become the most extensive of the kind in the county. The factory, which is in size 100x22 feet, two and three stories in height, gives employment to a large number of hands. On August 25, 1886, Mr. Slater was married to Regina, daughter of Michael Stillwagen, of Claysville. This marriage was blessed by three children, viz.: John Joseph, Charles Francis and Edward Theodore. In politics Mr. Slater is an ardent Democrat, and in religion a consistent Catholic.
Text taken from page 881 of:
Beers, J. H. and Co., Commemorative Biographical Record of Washington County, Pennsylvania (Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co., 1893).
Transcribed March 1997 by Neil and Marilyn Morton of Oswego, IL as part of the Beers Project.
Published April 1997 on the Washington County, PA USGenWeb pages at http://www.chartiers.com/.
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