HON. THOMAS CHALFANT, the present popular postmaster of Danville, Pa., and one of the honored and influential citizens of Montour County, whose portrait is shown on the opposite page, was born in the city of Philadelphia in 1819. Our subject traces his ancestral history back to Robert Chalfant, a member of the Society of Friends, who, with William Penn, emigrated from Stoke Pogis, England, to America and settled on land at Doe Run, Chester County, Pa., which is still in the family name. He is also a descendant of John Peden on the maternal side, a Scotch-Irish Covenanter, who immigrated to the American Continent and settled in Pennsylvania in 1732. He was one of the founders of the Covenanters Church in Philadelphia, which is located on Spruce street.
Hon. Thomas Chalfant was reared and educated in the city of Philadelphia, and when a young man he learned the trade of a carpenter and patternmaker, which occupation he followed in his native city until 1840. He then moved to Danville, Pa., and in 1847 went South and located in the state of Georgia, where he assisted in the erection of a number of sugar and cotton mills. Returning to his native state he became a resident of Danville, where, in partnership with his brother-in-law, Dr. Isaac Hughes, he opened and conducted a drug-store for many years, meeting with the greatest of success. On October 1, 1853, our subject was commissioned postmaster of Danville and held that position until July 15, 1861, when he took charge of the Danville Intelligencer, one of the leading papers of Montour County. June 28, 1863, he enlisted in the Union Army for a term of three months and was commissioned as captain of Co. D, 53rd Reg., Pa. Vol. Inf., October 6, 1866. Mr. Chalfant was elected a member of the State Legislature as a representative of Columbia and Montour Counties, and was re-elected to the same office in the following year. During his latter term he was largely instrumental in passing the bill appointing commissioners to select a site for the erection of a state hospital for the insane, and the selection of a site in Danville was also due to the efforts of our subject. In 1872 Mr. Chalfant was again honored with a seat in the State Senate, representing Columbia, Montour, Lycoming and Sullivan Counties. In 1883 he was appointed one of the trustees of the Danville State Hospital, which position he still retains. Mr. Chalfant was elected president of the Pennsylvania State Editorial Association in 1881; and in 1885 he was appointed postmaster of Danville under Cleveland's administration, and has held that position to the present time, filling it with great credit to himself and entire satisfaction of the citizens of Danville. In 1842 Mr. Chalfant married Eliza Hughes, a daughter of Ellis Hughes of Danville, and two sons and two daughters blessed this union, of whom none survive but Charles, ex-publisher of the Danville Daily Sun, and now a prominent attorney of Danville. In politics our subject is strongly Democratic and endorses the views of his party conscientiously. Mr. Chalfant is one of the representative men in this section of the state and his opinions are sought and valued as those of a man of deliberate and temperate judgment and intelligent thought.