Saturday, October 22, 2016

Pennock Edwards Sharpless (1852-1935)

Pennock E. Sharpless, 1852-1935.

   A descendant of a family with roots in Delaware County, Pennsylvania extending back into the early 18th century, Pennock Edwards Sharpless was born in that county on May 15, 1852, the son of William and Sarah Ann (Yarnall) Sharpless. Young Pennock attended school in the county of his birth and studied at both the Maplewood Institute and the West Chester State Normal School. Following the completion of his schooling, Sharpless returned home to assist his father with the running of the family farm.
   After reaching his early twenties Pennock Sharpless went into business for himself, establishing a dairy that specialized in the manufacture of a "high-grade butter" for customers in Philadelphia. His success in this venture led him to establish a new creamery that would house the "Danish Western separator", a dairy implement mentioned in the History of Delaware County as being one of the "first imported separators known to have been used in the United States." 
   Pennock E. Sharpless married on Christmas Eve 1874 to Anna Phebe Bishop (1854-1938), to whom he was wed for over sixty years. The couple's lengthy union would see the births of five sons: Percival Yarnall (1875-1897), Albert Wayne (1877-1931), Casper Pennock (1878-1959), Edward D. (died in infancy in 1882) and Austin Edwards (1885-1948).
   In 1882 Pennock Sharpless removed his creamery operation to Concord, Pennsylvania and through the succeeding years built up an impressive business, one that would extend into several branch creameries located throughout Delaware and Chester County. The P.E. Sharpless Co., organized in 1902, is recorded by the History of Delaware County as specializing in a number of different products, including evaporated milk and "fancy soft cheese, one thousand three pound boxes being the daily output."
   One aspect of the life of Pennock Sharpless not highlighted in the 1914 History of Delaware County is his 1898 run for the U.S. House of Representatives on the Prohibition ticket. In May 1898 Sharpless received the Prohibition nomination for Congress at the party's state convention held in Harrisburg. In that year's congressional election Sharpless was one of several candidates vying for the seat and on election day in November 1898 received 47,543 votes, compared to Republican candidate Galusha Aaron Grow's winning total of 532, 898.
   Following his run for Congress Sharpless continued active involvement with his creameries and in 1912 served as a Presidential Elector on the Progressive Party or "Bull Moose" ticket. He was also affiliated with the Charter National Bank of Media, Pennsylvania, serving as its director. Sharpless died in Concord on July 22, 1935 at age 83. He was survived by his wife Anna, who, following her death three years later, was interred alongside him at the Cumberland Cemetery at Media, Pennsylvania. 

From the Philadelphia Inquirer, 1935.

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