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Male, born 1863-09-10, died 1940-02-22

Associated with the firms network

Bird and Dornbach, Architects; Woodall and Dornbach, Architects


Professional History

Résumé

George Dornbach had many professions, from architecture to engineering to high school administration to auto repair, suggesting an adaptable mind and mechanical skills.

Principal, Gilbert Polytechnic Institute, Gilbert, PA, 1887-c. 1888. (See “Geo. W. Dornbach Speaks at Jubilee,” Shamokin News-Dispatch, 09/21/1936, p. 7.) Dornbach, freshly graduated from Franklin and Marshall College, became the first Principal of the Gilbert Polytechnic Institute, a school that lasted until 1922.

Partner, Bird and Dornbach, Architects, Seattle, WA, 1888-1889.

Partner, [Samuel C.] Woodall and Dornbach, Architects, Seattle, WA, 1890. Woodall and Dornbach occupied Room #2 of the Scheuerman Building. (See Polk's Seattle Directory Company's Seattle City Directory, 1890, p. 748.)

Principal, George W. Dornbach, Architect, Seattle, WA, 1891. He left architecture in Seattle after his house burned, and he moved to a farm in the Duwamish River Valley, where he remained for about two years, 1891 until 1893.

Engineer, Honolulu, HI, c. 1893-1894.

Principal, Geneva High School, Geneva, NE, c. 1895.

Prospector, Texas, c. 1896-1897.

Engineer, Salt Lake City, UT, c. 1898-1899.

Superintendent, American Car and Foundry Company, Milton, PA, c. 1900-1904.

Carpenter, Coal Township, PA, c. 1905-1920. The 1910 US Census, indicated that he worked as a carpenter for a lumber company. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1910; Census Place: Coal, Northumberland, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1383; Page: 15A; Enumeration District: 0055; FHL microfilm: 1375396, accessed 01/08/2021.) In 1920, he continued to work as a carpenter at a colliery, likely that of the Susquehanna Coal Company. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1920; Census Place: Coal, Northumberland, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1610; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 66, accessed 01/08/2021.) His obituary summarized his building activities c. 1905-1920: "Included among his building activities here was supervision of construction of the Scott Colliery breaker, Susquehanna Collieries Company operation at Kulpmont. He continued in the construction work for some years, and in 1918 with the growth of the automobile business, engaged in a general garage and automobile repairing enterprise on West Water Street, which plant is now operated by his sons."

Garage mechanic, Shamokin, PA, 1919-07/1935. He owned the Dornbach Auto Shop in Shamokin, PA, in 1926. He operated this with his sons, Edward and Vernon. (See Boyd's Shamokin, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1926, p. 106.)

Superintendent, State of PA Highway Department, Northumberland County, c. 1935-1940.

Education

College

B.A., Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, PA, 1884-1887. (See Catalogue of Officers and Students 1787-1903, [Lancaster, PA: Franklin and Marshall College Alumni Association Publications, 1903], p. 65.) Dornbach was one of seventeen seniors in the 1887 class.

His obituary indicated that, after graduating from Franklin and Marshall, Dornbach received some engineering and architectural training. (See “G.W. Dornbach Dies at Home in Rural Area,” Shamokin News-Dispatch, 02/23/1940, p. 3.) It may have occurred at the Auchmuty Training School in New York, NY. An article published in 1923 indicated that he had attended coursework at this institution. (See "G.W. Dornbach Enters Race for Township Director,” Shamokin News-Dispatch, 08/16/1923, p. 4.)

Personal

Relocation

Some of the details of George Washington Dornbach's life remain somewhat murky, particularly his relationship with his second wife, Jeanette Arner Siglin Dornbach. What is clear is that Dornbach was a prickly and litigious person, who never shied away from a fight. His name was mentioned in various articles in WA and PA newspapers during the 1890-1935 period. One PA newspaper described him as "“…George W. Dornbach, militant Coal township citizen, whose fiery oratory is well known to county officials.” (See “Tax League Holds Rally at Sunbury,” Mount Carmel Item, 02/04/1933, p. 1.) His name was frequently in newspapers of the 1910s and 1920s complaining about government waste and corruption on behalf of the Coal Township Taxpayers' Association.

He was also interested in politics, becoming a Socialist delegate to the PA State Convention in 1912, and running unsuccessfully for Congress in that year and came in third out of four candidates for a General Assembly seat from Columbia, Montour, Northumberland and Sullivan Counties in 1914. (See James Langland, Chicago Daily News Almanac and Year-Book for 1916, [Chicago: Chicago Daily News Company, 1915], p. 519.) He also ran in PA's Second District for a state General Assembly seat in 1936.

Dornbach was born in Ringtown, Schuylkill County, PA, about 107 miles northwest of Philadelphia. The 1870 US Census listed George Washington Dornbach living with his parents and two siblings in Union, Schuylkill County, PA. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1870; Census Place: Union, Schuylkill, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1448; Page: 609A; Family History Library Film: 552947, accessed 01/09/2021.) The Dornbachs continued to live in Union, PA, in 1880, although one sister, Kate, no longer lived at home. In her place, George Daniel's disabled brother, Isaiah (born c. 1828 in PA), referred to by the 1880 US Census as an "idiot," resided with them. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1880; Census Place: Union, Schuylkill, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1194; Page: 189B; Enumeration District: 239, accessed 01/09/2021.)

In 1889, Dornbach resided in rooms at the Kenney Block in Seattle. (See R.L. Polk and Company's Seattle Directory, 1889, p. 184.) He also worked in the same building at the time. Dornbach and his wife, Mary, lived at the corner of Bush and Augusta Streets in Seattle in 08/1890. (See “Late Police News,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 08/26/1890, p. 2.) This residence suffered a fire in late 1890, forcing him to move to a residence south of Seattle.

It appears that he gave up the practice of archicture sometime in 1891 and moved out to a farm in the Duwamish Valley six miles to the south of Seattle.

An 1893 newspaper article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer indicated that Dornbach lived "...In a one-story frame building in the Hicklin tract, six miles south of the city on August 29, 1891. The insurance policy covered the building, wearing apparel and furniture, amounting to $4,000. On November 25, 1891, the house was burned.” (See "Should Insurance Be Paid," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 04/25/1893, p. 5.) Dornbach alleged that this house had been burned by two neighbors, L.F. and Arthur Hicklin, farmers whom he alleged in court stole a cow belonging to him. The Hicklins asserted that Dornbach began "beating and otherwise mistreating the animal" and they took the cow back for its own safety. A judge found in the Hicklin's favor. (See “Not Dornbach’s Cow,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 01/16/1892, p. 5.)

Dornbach's whereabouts during the better part of the 1890s are not completely clear. His obituary said of his life after Seattle, “He was successfully engaged there until the panic of 1893, when he lost all his property and accepted an engineering appointment in Honolulu, Hawaii.”It continued, "Returning to the United States, Dornbach located in Nebraska, where he became principal of the high school at Geneva, remaining there several years before moving to Texas, where he was engaged as a prospector. He remained there several years before locating in Salt Lake City, where he engaged in engineering, returning to this area in 1900, to reside for a time in Ringtown. While there he was made superintendent of a department of the American Car and Foundry Company at Milton, which post he resigned in 1904, when he came to Shamokin to engage in construction work.” (See “G.W. Dornbach Dies at Home in Rural Area,” Shamokin News-Dispatch, 02/23/1940, p. 3.) It appears that Dornbach hopscotched around the country during the 1890s, working as a both an engineer in Honolulu, HI, (c. 1893-1894), Geneva, NE, (c. 1895), Texas (c. 1896-1897), Salt Lake City (c. 1898-1899) and back to Ringtown, PA, by 1900. He had two sons, Ellis and Vernon, who were, according to the 1910 US Census, born in Texas in 1896 and 1897, and this may have been where he lived during these years.

He moved back to Ringtown, his hometown by about 1900, and then moved to Coal Township and adjoining Shamokin, PA, about 20 miles southwest of Ringtown by 1905, at least. He resided at 34 North Anthracite Street in Shamokin, PA in 1905, and remained there in 1907. (See Boyd's Shamokin, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1905, p. 88 and Boyd's Shamokin, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1907,p. 89.) In 1909, he and Jeanette Arner Dornbach lived at 1501 West Water Street in Coal, PA. The 1910 US Census taker also found the Dornbachs at this address. The family consisted of George, Jeanette, and their children, Ellis, Vernon, Edward, Earl and Hannah. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1910; Census Place: Coal, Northumberland, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1383; Page: 15A; Enumeration District: 0055; FHL microfilm: 1375396, accessed 01/08/2021.)

On 09/18/1918, the Dornbachs lived at 1500 West Walnut Street in Shamokin, PA. (See Ancestry.com, Source Information: U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005, accessed 01/08/2021.) Two years later, the 1920 US Census listed George living with his children Edward, Earl and Hannah Dornbach, and Jeanette Siglin. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1920; Census Place: Coal, Northumberland, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1610; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 66, accessed 01/08/2021.)

His relationship with Jeanette may have been in some difficulty by the mid-to-late 1920s. The Shamokin, Pennsylvania, City Directories 1928, listed her as "Jeannette Siglin," [sic] a widow of George, who lived at 1500 West Walnut Street in Shamokin. (See Shamokin, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1928, p. 334. The 1926 Shamokin directory also listed her this way [p. 356].)

He continued to live at this address in 1930 with Jeanette Arner Siglin and his son Earl C. Dornbach. The house had an estimated value of $10,000 in that year, a significant sum, according to the US Census. Earl worked with his father in the auto repair business. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1930; Census Place: Coal, Northumberland, Pennsylvania; Page: 27A; Enumeration District: 0007; FHL microfilm: 2341823, accessed 01/08/2021.)

He wed another woman, Anna Suszczewicz, in 1934, but this marriage may not have lasted long, as George Dornbach was listed as again living with Jeanette at 1500 Walnut Street in 1936. (See Shamokin, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1936, p. 93.)

At the end of his life Dornbach resided in Paxinos, PA, according to his death certificate. He passed away from acute bronchopneumonia. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation: Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, PA; Pennsylvania [State]. Death Certificates, 1906-1968; Certificate Number Range: 020201-023200, accessed 01/08/2021.)

Parents

His father was George Daniel Dornbach (born 10/17/1829 in Union Township, Schuylkill County, PA-d. 02/10/1915 in Union Township, Schuylkill County, PA), his mother, Hannah Klase (born 02/06/1832 in PA-d. 03/23/1907 in Ringtown, PA). (See "Aged Ringtown Woman Died Suddenly Today," Shenandoah Evening Herald, vol XXXVIII, no. 20, 03/23/1907, p. 1.)

In 1870 and 1880, his father worked as a blacksmith. Hannah managed the household that consisted of children Kate Dornbach (born c. 1858 in PA), George Washington, and Laura Dornbach Jones (born 10/18/1867 in Ringtown, PA-d. 03/28/1951 in Ringtown, PA). (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1870; Census Place: Union, Schuylkill, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1448; Page: 609A; Family History Library Film: 552947, accessed 01/09/2021.)

Spouse

Dornbach married three times. He married Martha Morgan while living in Nebraska who bore him two sons, Ellis M Dornbach, Vernon Ellsworth Dornbach.

He then wed Sophia Jeanette Arner Siglin (born 08/12/1867 in Mahoning Valley, PA-d. 12/25/1951 in Coal Township, PA) sometime between 1901 and 1905. (See "Aged Local Woman Expires in Hospital," Shamokin News-DIspatch, 12/26/1951, p. 2.)

Sophia Jeanette first married George E. Siglin (1861-1897) on 04/08/1889 in Carbon, Westmoreland County, PA. (See Ancestry.com, Source Information: Pennsylvania, U.S., Marriages, 1852-1968 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016. Original data: Marriage Records. Pennsylvania Marriages. Various County Register of Wills Offices, Pennsylvania, accessed 01/09/2021.) He died in a mine accident near Shenandoah, PA. (See "Aged Local Woman Expires in Hospital," Shamokin News-DIspatch, 12/26/1951, p. 2.)

In 1900, Sophia Siglin lived with her brother-in-law Charles Roth (born c. 05/1862 in PA) and her sister Ella (born c. 10/1860 in PA) and their son WIllie (born c. 06/1890). At this time, Sophia was widowed and had two sons, Howard O. Siglin (born c. 04/20/1890 in PA-d. 07/1964 in Shamokin, PA) and Charles E. Siglin (born c. 03/05/1898 in PA). (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1910; Census Place: Coal, Northumberland, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1383; Page: 15A; Enumeration District: 0055; FHL microfilm: 1375396, accessed 01/08/2021.) Howard would become the City Editor of the Shamokin Dispatch by 1926. (See Boyd's Shamokin, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1926, p. 357.)

Sophia Jeanette Arner had a total of five children during her life, two of whom were with George Siglin and three with George W. Dornbach. He split with her sometime between 1930 and 1934. In 1939, she lived near to her sons in Shamokin, PA, where she lived at 1239 ½ Arch Street. Her sons Edward, Earle and step-son Vernon operated Dornbach's Auto Body and Fender Works in that city. (See Shamokin, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1939, p. 90.)

G.W. Dornbach then married Anna Suszczewicz (born 07/05/1906 in Coal Township, PA) on 04/03/1934 in Perry County, PA. Her parents were from Lithuania, Paul Suszczewicz and Josephine Pietruszewska. (See Ancestry.com. Source Citation Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania (State). Birth certificates, 1906–1910; Box Number: 62; Certificate Number Range: 178301-180500, accessed 01/08/2021.) (Another document for her listed her parents as "Paul A. Susavidge" and Josephine Pitrusefski, and that she was born on 08/18/1906. This gave her death date as 12/11/2001.) It is possible that his marriage to Anna did not last more than a year.

Children

George Washington Dornbach had five children, including Ellis M Dornbach (born c. 1896 in TX, Vernon Ellsworth Dornbach (born 03/08/1899 in TX), Edward Daniel Dornbach (born 11/05/1905 in Shamokin, PA-d. 04/1985 in Paxinos, PA), Earl Clair Dornbach (born 12/16/1908-d. 06/08/1997) and Hannah Ella Dornbach (born 08/03/1909 in Coal, PA), who would become Mrs. Richard Durkin.

On 09/18/1918, Vernon Dornbach worked as a breaker carpenter for the Susquehanna Coal Company at their Hickory Ridge mine near Shamokin, PA. (See Ancestry.com, Source Information: U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005, accessed 01/08/2021.) Ellis worked as a musician as per Boyd's Shamokin, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1922, (p. 126).

At the time of her mother's death in 1951, Edward Dornbach, Earle Dornbach and Howard O. Siglin lived in Shamokin, PA. Charles Siglin resided in Lewisburg, PA, and Hannah Dornbach Durkin resided in Camden, NJ. (See "Aged Local Woman Expires in Hospital," Shamokin News-DIspatch, 12/26/1951, p. 2.)

Biographical Notes

According to an 1894 California voter document, Dornbach stood 5-feet, 10-and-½ inches tall, and had blue eyes and brown hair.

Between 1894 and 1896, at least, he may possibly have resided in San Leandro, CA, where he worked as an engineer. This is not completely clear, as there was also a "George W. Dornback, Sr." (born c. 1861-d. 1939) who also lived in the Bay Area at this time. The voter listings from 1894 and 1896 may have referred to this other man. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation California State Library; Sacramento, California; Great Registers, 1866-1898; Collection Number: 4-2A; CSL Roll Number: 4; FHL Roll Number: 976449, accessed 01/08/2021.)


PCAD id: 3070