Source: Encyclopedia of Pennsylvania Biogrophy, Vol. 3
His ancestors settled in New Haven, Connecticut, and were mother and son refugees from France to England and thence to the New Haven Colony about 1648.
Ariovistus Pardee was of the seventh generation from George, the New Haven settler, and was born in the town of Chatham, Columbia county. New York, November in, 1810, but his earliest recollections were of his father's farm in Stephentown, Rensselaer county. New York, a few miles north of New Lebanon Springs, where he led the usual life of a farmer's boy until his twentieth year. His education was limited to what he learned at his father's fireside and the ordinary district school, though fortunately he had for a time the advantage of an excellent teacher in the Rev. Moses Hunter, a Presbyterian clergyman, who to eke out a scanty salary taught a district school one or two winters. He was then fifteen years old, and this teaching about finished his school education, though he was an industrious worker at his books in his leisure time at home.
In June, 1830, he made application through his friend, Edwin A. Douglas, for a situation under him, and Canvass White, Esq., the chief engineer of the Canal Company, in the engineer corps of the Delaware and Raritan Canal in New Jersey, with good hopes of success, as Mr. Douglas was a townsman and had known him from a child ; but he was met with the, to him, disheartening news, that the company had decided to employ none but Jersey men in the subordinate positions. A day or two after he received another letter saying that if he came on at once he could have the position of rodman. Receiving the letter on Saturday, he left home before daylight on the Monday morning following, joining Mr. Douglas and his corps on the preliminary survey a few miles above Trenton. With him he remained until the canal was finally located, when he was stationed at Princeton, with George Tyler Olmstead, who had charge of the middle division of the canal. There he remained until the fall of 1831, when he was sent as sub-assistant to Ashbel Welch, Esq., at Lambertville, on the Delaware and Raritan canal, remaining there until May, 1833, when he was sent, still under Mr. White and Mr. Douglas, to Beaver Meadow, Pennsylvania, to make the survey and location of the Beaver Meadow railroad from the mines of that company to the Lehigh canal at Mauch Chunk. After several changes in the engineer corps the entire charge of the road was given to him, and in the fall of 1836 it was finished and the shipment of coal commenced, when he resigned his position, and in the month of February, 1837, he took up his quarters at Hazleton, under the Hazleton Railroad & Coal Company, having previously located a railroad from the Hazleton coal mines to the Beaver Meadow railroad at Weatherly. He finished that road, and commenced shipping coal in the spring of 1838, continuing in the employ of the Hazleton Railroad and Coal Company as their superintendent until 1840, when he commenced business as a coal operator, which he continued to the time of his death, also engaging to a considerable extent in iron and lumber.
He founded the Pardee Scientific Department at Lafayette College, giving in various sums and at various times approximately $500,000. He died at Ormonde, Florida, March 26, 1892.
Of his sons, the eldest, Ario Pardee, Jr., was graduated as a civil engineer from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and at the outbreak of the Civil War enlisted as captain of Company A, Twenty-eighth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, resigning at its close in 1865 as commander of a brigade in General Sherman's army. He died in 1898.
Calvin, the second son, graduated from Rensselaer Institute also, and enlisted at the outbreak of the Civil War, but was invalided home in 1862 with typhoid fever, and after many years engaged in coal mining, has now retired from active business.
The third son, Israel Platt, was graduated from Lafayette College in 1874, and is now president of the Hazleton National Bank at Hazleton, Pennsylvania.
Barton, the fourth son, is a retired lumberman.
The fifth son, Frank, graduated from Lafayette College in 1879, and is engaged in the coal mining business at Hazleton, Pennsylvania.
The Pardee family, of which Ario Pardee, deceased, was a representative member, was founded in this country by George Pardee, who was born in 1629, of French Huguenot ancestry. He was the first principal of the Hopkins Grammar School at New Haven, Connecticut, was a man of note, and exerted a powerful influence for good in the comrnunity. In 1650 he married Martha Miles, who died in 1660, and two years later he chose for his second wife Rebekah Love, who bore him four children. George Pardee died in 1700.
Joseph Pardee, son of George and Rebekah (Love) Pardee, was born April 27, 1664. He married, July 31, 1688, Elizabeth Yale, a daughter of the first Thomas Yale, and ten children were the issue of this marriage. John Pardee, son of Joseph and Elizabeth (Yale) Pardee, was born February 6, 1698, and died April 9, 1766. He was united in marriage to Betsey Horne, and they reared a family of six children. Thomas Pardee, son of John and Betsey (Horne) Pardee, was born October 31, 1722, and died August, 1806. He married Wealthien White, who bore him ten children. They settled in Sharon, Connecticut, where they made their home for many years. Calvin Pardee, son of Thomas and Wealthien Pardee, was born July 26, 1757, and died October 27, 1795, at Stephentown, New York. His wife, Rachel (Johnson) Pardee, who was born at Oblong, New York; November 15, 1759, died June 28, 1847, bore him a family of twelve children.
Ario, Pardee, son of Calvin and Rachel (Johnson) Pardee, was born October 14, 1778, died August 14, 1853. He was a farmer by occupation, conducting his operations in the town of Chatham, New York. He was united in marriage to Eliza Platt, daughter of Israel Platt, who. served as captain in the Revolutionary army. Their family consisted of five daughters and one son. Mr. Pardee and his wife were members of the Presbyterian church.
Ariovistus Pardee, only son of Ario and Eliza (Platt) Pardee, was born in Chatham, New York, November 19, 1810. He was a student at the district school' at Stephentown, Rensselaer county, New York, until he was fifteen years of age, but his education did not end then, for, being of a studious nature and fond of reading, he continued gaining knowledge in this way, becoming well informed on a variety of subjects. His first work was on the engineer corps building the Delaware and Raritan Canal, under George Tyler Olmstead, at Princeton, New Jersey. In 1831 he went as assistant to Ashbel Welch, Esq., Lambertville, New Jersey, remaining in that capacity until 1833, when he went to Beaver Meadow, Pennsylvania, to make survey and location of the Beaver Meadow Railroad from the mines of that company to the Lehigh Canal at Mauch Chunk. Shortly afterwards he was given entire charge of the road, and in 1836 completed it and commenced shipping coal. The following year, 1837, he located a railroad from the Hazleton coal mines to the Beaver Meadow Railroad at Penn Haven, and commenced shipping coal in the spring of 1838. He remained in the employ of the Hazleton Railroad and Coal Company as their manager until 1840, in which year he commenced business as a coal operator, and at the time of his death, March 26, 1892, was the most extensive individual anthracite operator in the country. He served in the capacity of president and director of a large number of manufacturing corporations and several National Banks, being thus honored by reason of his endowment of business ability and acumen which was of a high order. He was a director of the Lehigh Valley Railroad and the North Penn Railroad. He was president of the board of trustees of Lafayette College, to which institution he generously donated over half a million of dollars. He also served as president of the State Geological Board. His religious views were in accord with the tenets of the Presbyterian church, and his political affiliations were in line with the Republican party. He held the office of presidential .elector in 1876.
Mr. Pardee was married twice. His first wife, whose maiden name was Eliza Jacobs, bore him three children, namely: Ario, who was brevet brigadier-general of United States Volunteers; at the beginning of the Civil war he raised a company which was equipped and fitted out at his father's expense; he died in 1900. Calvin, who served as captain of United States Volunteers during the Civil war; he is now a coal operator. Alice, who became the wife of James M. Earle, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The second wife of Mr. Pardee was Anna Maria Robison, daughter of William and Betsey (Barton) Robison, of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. Their children are: Israel Platt, Anne, who became the wife of L. S. Allison. Barton, Frank, Bessie, who became the wife of W. L. McKee, Edith, Gertrude, who became the wife of Dr. H. M. Keller.