Biography of James L. Sommerville
Clearfield County, PA Biographies





JAMES LANG SOMMERVILLE; president of the Bituminous National Bank and a very prominent business man of Winburne, Pa., was born in Scotland, August 16, 1837, and is a son of John S. and Elizabeth L. (Lang) Sommerville.

In 1846 John S. Sommerville, after the death of his first wife, came to America with his son, James L., and settled at Snow Shoe. in Center county, Pa. He was a coal miner and had a contract on the coal fields of that section. His death occurred at the age of sixty seven years. His second marriage was to Sarah Fulmer, who lived but a short time and he was married a third time to a Miss Richards.

James Lang Sommerville is the only one of his father's children who survived to maturity. He attended Bellefonte Academy and later Lock Haven Academy, both of these being considered excellent schools, and then went into civil engineering. He was assistant engineer on the construction of the Snow Shoe Railroad and other lines and was associated with his father in coal mining at Snow Shoe and also with the Bellefonte and Snow Shoe Railroad as engineer, until it was sold to the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. Subsequently he engaged in mining on his own account. After the building of the Beech Creek Railroad he came to Winburne and leased coal for the firm of Weaver & Betts, operating under the firm name of Sommerville & Buchanan, until the same was merged into the Beech Creek Coal Company. The country was nothing but a wilderness in this section at that time and no other coal operating had yet been done.

Mr. Sommerville came to Winbume in 1888, soon after the railroad had been completed and has been identified ever since with the borough's leading business interests. He was one of the organizers and has been the only president of the Bituminous National Bank here. He was one of the first to be interested at this point and gave the name to the place, "Win" coming from Winn's Run, a local stream, the last name being the Scotch designation of "burn," the combination making the pleasant sounding name of Winburne. He has been interested in the promotion of all the utilities of the place and is president of the Winburne Water Company, water being piped from Center county, a distance of four miles. This company was organized July 30, 1903, Mr. Sommerville's engineering knowledge making him valuable as an advisor as to this improvement. He also laid out and built the town of Carnworth, in Knox township, Clearfield county. In 1910 he opened a new coal mine where he employs ioo men. He is a wide awake, intelligent, progressive man and his efforts not only benefit himself but add to the general welfare.

Mr. Sommerville was married in October, 1860, to Miss Jane Harris, a daughter of James D. and Mary M. Harris, of Bellefonte, where she was reared. These children have been born to them, namely: Bond V., who is chief assistant engineer of the southwest system of the Pennsylvania Railroad, residing at Crafton; Bessie L., who resides at home; John S., who is superintendent of the Rock Hill Coal and Iron Company's mines at Robertsdale, Huntingdon county, Pa.; Mary H., who lives at home; James H., who was a civil engineer with the West Shore Railroad, and was accidentally killed; Robert H. and Allen O., twins, the former of whom has charge of the Sommerville mercantile interests at Winburne, and the latter of whom resides with his family at Arcadia and is superintendent of mines of the Arcadia and Winburne district; D. L., who is now assistant superintendent on the Pennsylvania division of the New York Central Railroad, being stationed at Jersey Shore, Pa.; and two who died in infancy. Robert H. Sommerville is also secretary and treasurer of the Carnworth Coal Company, on Potts Run, in Knox township, of which his father is president.

Mr. Sommerville is a member of the Winburne Presbyterian church, in which he is an elder, and was instrumental in the establishment of this church and active in its construction. He is a member of St. Andrew's Society of Philadelphia, and the Pennsylvania Society of New York. Winburne owes much to his enterprise and foresight and he is justly considered one of the most prominent citizens of the place.


Note - Sketches unrevised by subscribers are distinguished by a small astrict (*).

From:
Twentieth Century History of
Clearfield County, Pennsylvania
and Representative Citizens.
BY: Roland D. Swoope, Jr.
Richmond-Arnold Publishing Co,
Chicago, Ill. 1911

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