Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897
[p. 356] It is an interesting matter to note the progress and development of our present splendid system of public instruction, and to compare the numberless facilities of the school of to-day with its embryonic prototype, the school of pioneer times, rugged and simple in its various appointments, when a thorough knowledge of the three R'só'rithmetic, reading and 'ritingóinstilled with liberal applications of the birch, was considered sufficient for all the ordinary vocations of life. This interesting evolution is never at a standstill, but keeps pace with advances in science and the arts. The school of to-day, seemingly simple in many of its appointments, is yet of a very complex character, and still presents serious problems to the student in pedagogy. To be fitted for the requirements of the position the present-day school teacher undergoes a far more thorough preparation than was ever thought necessary in the best schools fifty years ago. The position of county superintendent of schools presents difficulties and problems, that can only be successfully solved by one who has had wide experience in teaching, and whose executive ability is of the best. Lawrence County has been particularly fortunate in many of the school superintendents, but in no one have so many excellencies united as in Thomas M. Stewart, the present incumbent, and the subject of this writing. His school experience covers a quarter of a century, and for all the time that he has been in the active ranks he has never taught outside of the county, and for this reason is all the more fitted to attend to his present duties. He was elected to his present position in 1896 by the board of directors elected for that purpose, and by his excellent work has won the esteem of all those interested in educational matters.
Mr. Stewart is a son of James and Martha (Taylor) Stewart, and grandson of Robert and Margaret (Davidson) Stewart. Robert Stewart was born in Ireland, and was a man of iron constitution, his life spanning ninety-two years at his death Aug. 18, 1854. His mother was a Miss Hamilton. He had the benefit of a fine education, was a man of able intellect, and taught school in Pennsylvania as late as 1836. His wife was born in Londonderry, Ireland, and was a daughter of James and Mary (Clendenning) Davidson. She also lived to an advanced age, being eighty-seven years old, when she went to her rest Sept. 24, 1857. Her mother, Mary (Clendenning) Davidson, was left a widow, and brought the family of seven children to America, where she died in 1790.
James Stewart, the father of Supt. Stewart, began his existence at McKeesport, Allegheny Co., Pa., Aug. 18, 1797. In 1815 he came with his parents to Lawrence County, settling on the farm where our subject lives, and where James died Aug. 18, 1870, aged exactly seventy-three years to a day. He was always a farmer. In politics, he was a Whig in the early days, and latterly followed the Republican standard. He was a member of the Reformed Presbyterian Church. He was thrice married. Isabella (Silliman) Stewart bore him four children. Martha (Taylor) Stewart was the mother of seven children, and Margaret (Fullerton) Stewart attained the age of eighty-three and died childless. Martha T. Stewart, the mother of Thomas M., was born in Beaver County in 1811, and was a daughter of William and Annie (Wilson) Taylor. William Taylor, who was a son of John and Mary (Mann) Taylor, was born at Gilgin Park, near Ballyman, County Antrim, Ireland, Dec. 21, 1776, and died Oct. 25, 1856. His wife, Annie Wilson, a daughter of Joseph and Mary (Speedy) Wilson, was born Jan. 23, 1780, and she departed this life Dec. 19, 1863. Of the family born to James and Martha (Taylor) StewartóWilliam died at the age of seven and Margaret at the age of four; Alvin H. lives near the home place; John Q. and Thomas M. were twins; Annie makes her home with Thomas M.; and Martha died in infancy. John Q. Stewart, our subject's twin-brother, lives at Harrisburg, Pa., where he is attending to his work as deputy State school superintendent of public instruction.
Thomas M. Stewart was born on the farm in Little Beaver township, where he makes his home, Sept. 23, 1844, and was reared to a noble manhood there. He attended the district schools until he was seventeen, and later became a pupil in the Hayesville Linnean Academy in Ohio, whence he went to Mt. Union College in Ohio, where he completed his school education. His life-work has been teaching, and he has a very remarkable record. He began when twenty-two years of age, and taught eleven years in Enon Valley, and four in Wampum, and the remaining seven in Little Beaver and Little Beaver [sic] townships, all within driving distance of his home. To his labors as County superintendent Mr. Stewart brings a high order of intelligence, which, with his excellent judgment and unswerving integrity, have made him a man of more than ordinary influence in the community. On Sept. 3, 1884, Mr. Stewart was allied in wedlock with Emma Miller, daughter of John J. and Sarah (Myers) Miller, and they are the parents of four charming children, John Q., Mary E., Martha, and Grace Corinne. Mr. Stewart is faithful to the Republican party, although he does not carry politics into his school work, nor let his duties be interfered with in the least. He is a member of the Reformed Presbyterian Church.
Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897
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Updated: 27 May 2001