Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 419] The gentleman named above has every claim for representation in this book, both from his birth and very long residence in New Castle, and also for his long public and semi-public service, in which he has ever been a prominent character in the history of the town. His age has already gone far beyond that allotted to the average man, and he is fast approaching the octogenarian mark, but still retains much of his youthful vigor, and full possession of his faculties. He was born in a log-cabin, situated on Pittsburg Street, New Castle, March 1, 1818, and is a son of John C. and Sarah (Squires) Tidball, the latter a daughter of James Squires, a native of the State of New Jersey, who came to the western part of the State about 1800, and followed agricultural pursuits. He was also a soldier of the Revolution.

The Tidball family is of Welsh origin, springing from four brothers, who came to America in 1716. Our subject's grandfather, David, was one of nine sons born to his parents, three of whom settled in Virginia, three in Ohio, one in Allegheny Co., Pa., and two, John and David, who came to New Castle. David Tidball married Isabella McGowan, who was of Scotch origin. He bought a firm in Lawrence County in 1806, and departed this life at the age of seventy-three. Our subject's father, John C. Tidball, was born in Allegheny Co., Pa., and followed the trade of a tanner, living to be about sixty years old.

David Tidball, the eldest of eleven children born to his parents, was reared in New Castle, and as it was before the time of free public instruction, his education was secured in schools that were supported by private subscriptions. The only text-books in use were the Testament, an English reader, an introductory arithmetic, the old blue spelling book, and a United States history, not a very complete collection of text-books viewed from the demands of to-day, but they sufficed to give the fundamental principles of an education to many a boy, who with the smattering of an education thus obtained made a mark for himself in the world, and made himself respected and admired by all who had the good fortune to become well-acquainted with him. When a young man, Mr. Tidball learned the tailor's trade, and later on was a clerk in Mr. Kissick's store. He was appointed postmaster by Van Buren near the end of that President's administration, and served some seven or eight months; he was again appointed by President Tyler, and served a similar period. From 1852 to 1856 he was postmaster under President Pierce. In August, 1867, he was again appointed to the position by President Johnson, and served fourteen consecutive years, under all the Presidents till Garfield. From 1860 to 1865, he served as justice of the peace. During all the years in which he held sway over the New Castle postoffice, Squire Tidball was uniformly courteous and obliging, performing many little acts of accommodation for the patrons of the office, and requiring his employees to do the same. The same traits of character, that went to make him so well-liked as postmaster, made him popular as a host, when in 1882 he purchased the Leslie House, and conducted it successfully for the following seven years. He was known far and wide as one of the most popular landlords in Western Pennsylvania.

David Tidball, Esq., was married in 1854 in New Castle to Miss Martha Dixon, daughter of Charles and Nancy (Graham) Dixon, and to him and his well-beloved wife have been given eight children as follows: Mary, deceased; Charles, deceased; Frank, who was city clerk of New Castle for a time, but who is at present an official under the present administration; Nevin D., who is in the office of the Valley Steel Co.; William deceased; David, a clerk in a leading hotel of Pittsburg; Ella, the wife of Joseph Hays; and Martha. Mrs. Tidball and daughters are members of the Presbyterian Church. Our subject is a stanch Republican, though previous to the war he was an old-line Democrat. He is a member of Lodge of the Craft, No. 433, F. & A. M. of New Castle. His portrait accompanies this notice of his life, and may be viewed on a preceding page.

Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897

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Updated: 25 Jun 2001