Francis "Frank" Semple (1841-1908)

Frank Semple

"Pittsburgh Press," November 6, 1908

The following is from an obituary that appeared in the Pittsburgh Press, November 6, 1908, for Frank Semple:

"Frank Semple one of the oldest and best-known financiers of the city, died at the Sewickley Valley Hospital at 2 o'clock this morning after an illness of two weeks. He was 67 years of age.

His death followed an operation and was entirely unexpected, although the immediate members of his family were summoned to the bedside before his demise. Pneumonia was the primary cause of death.

A warm friend of the late John R. Jackson, who was killed by a fall from his horse Saturday last, he was grieved to hear of that death and several times prior to his operation he commented on it, but did not expect his own demise. His connection with the Thaw estate for which he had been agent since the death of William Thaw...caused him to be much in the public eye recently. Mr. Thaw was a warm, personal friend of Semple. He was born on Eighth street, Fourth ward when the downtown section of the city was the residential district February 4, 1841. In his youth, he attended the local schools and later went to Yale, where he graduated.

His interest in geology prompted Professor Sillman, now deceased, to take him west as an assistant geologist in a venture backed by a New York capitalist. The pair went to California by way of Panama before the completion of the railroads.

Upon his return from the west he married a Miss Annie Wilcox, daughter of one of the old Pittsburg [sic] families, and to this marriage four children, John B., Frank J., Lala, now Mrs. Dale Blackwell and Annie, were born. They all survive, as does his sister, Mrs. C.J. Clarke, for whose estate he was trustee.

He was a director in the Union National Bank, Fidelity Title & Trust Co., Monongahela River Consolidated Coal & Coke Co., Western Insurance Co., and First National Bank of Sewickley. He was also treasurer and director of the Homeopathic Hospital there.

Mr. Semple was religiously inclined. He was an elder and trustee of the Sewickley Presbyterian Church. He was beloved by his associates and employes in the financial world, and always capitvated the respect and esteem of all with whom he came in contact.

He was to be found at the head of many local philanthropic movements. Mr. Semple was interested in civil movements and municipal affairs also, although never an active politician. He had made his home in Sewickley for the past 35 years, moving there from the city.

Before the New York & Cleveland Gas and Coal Co. became merged with the Monongahela River Consolidated Coal & Coke Co. he was treasurer and a director of that company. For 25 years he had been closely associated with the local railroad interests especially that of the Pennsylvania Railroad."

Last updated: February 20, 2021

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