Benjamin N Freeland
Of Greene County; Honesty, integrity and business acumen, with the additional qualities of personality, unswerving devotion to a cause or interest and a remarkable capacity for work have been the factors in the successful career of one of Waynesburg's most notable citizens, Benjamin N. Freeland. This exceptionally gifted teacher, lawyer, statesman and financial light of Greene county was born at Mt. Morris, near the Greene county seat, March 18, 1858. His parents, William and Nancy Freeland, gave him a public school education in the village school of Mt. Morris. Like other country boys, he went to school in the winter months and helped on the farm in the summer. At the age of 15 he began teaching a little rural school in Greene county, but in vacations took special instructions in the Eastman Business college of Poughkeepsie, N. Y., from which place he was graduated in 1876, at the age of 18.
The farm, the school house and the business college all were contributing factors in the success of Mr. Freeland, who stored the knowledge learned in these places for reference which has since gained him many a battle in the legal and political world.
Until 1893 he taught school part of the year and continued his studies, reading law in the evening and during vacation. Recognition of his business abilities came first in 1893, when he received the appointment of United States storekeeper in Greene county, which position he held until 1896.
Mr. Freeland was next elected clerk of courts in Greene county and later re-elected to the position, serving the county until 1902. Then his political career in its larger possibilities began. He was a staunch Democratic leader in Greene county for years. In 1902 the people, realizing that a strong opponent was needed to defeat the Republican candidate, W. E. Crow, persuaded Mr. Freeland to take the nomination for state senator from the Fayette-Green district. This he did, defeating Mr. Crow, who has since become a leader in the state senate, by the largest vote ever polled in the county. Mr. Freeland's majority was 2,300 votes in a county which is normally 1,300 majority. While clerk of courts Mr. Freeland continued his law studies, and in 1901 was admitted to the county bar, and three years later to practice in the Superior and Supreme courts of Pennsylvania. He is a shrewd politician, honest and fearless in his fights for political preferment, a brilliant lawyer and one of the financial pillars of the farming county.
He is considered the foremost financier in the county, being identified with practically all the larger banking and business interests of that section of the State. He is a director of the People's National Bank of Waynesburg, the Waynesburg Home Gas Company and the Sheridan Oil and Gas Company. Mr. Freeland is a stockholder in the South Penn Telephone Company and a director of the company. He is a member of the East Waynesburg Board of Education.
See Book of Prominent Pennsylvanians for larger, clearer photo. He was still living in 1913.