In past ages the history of a country was the record of wars and conquests; today it is the record of commercial activity, and those whose names are foremost in its annals are the leaders in business circles. The conquests now made are those of mind over matter, not man over man, and the victor is he who can successfully establish, control and operate important commercial interests.
Allen P. Perley is unquestionably one of the strongest and most influential businessmen of Williamsport, and his life has become an essential part of its history. Tireless energy, keen perception, honesty of purpose, genius for devising and executing the right things at the right time, joined to every-day common sense, guided by resistless will power, are the chief characteristics of the man. As president of the West Branch National Bank and by his connection with other important enterprises, he today occupies a front rank in the business circles of Williamsport.
Mr. Perley was born in Oldtown, Penobscot County, Maine, on the 8th of March 1845, and is a son of Daniel J. and Mary (Lovejoy) Perley, the former a native of Ipswich, Massachusetts, and the latter of Kennebec county, Maine. In the Pine Tree state the father practiced the profession of medicine for sixty years, and both he and his wife died in Penobscot county.
Allen P. Perley passed the days of his boyhood and youth in the county of his nativity, and is indebted to the schools of that locality for the educational privileges he enjoyed. He began his business career as a clerk in a mercantile establishment and was similarly employed for several years. Coming to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, in 1865, he accepted the position of bookkeeper at George Zimmer and Company’s planing mills, and four years later purchased an interest in the firm, which he retained until 1873. Subsequently he was employed as bookkeeper by Daniel W. Smith, and in July 1874, entered the service of Slonaker, Howard & Company in the same capacity.
In 1879 he purchased Mr. Slonaker’s interest and engaged in the lumber business under the firm name of Howard, Perley & Howard until January, 1887, when C. B. Howard retired from the firm and Mr. Perley and William Howard have since continued the business under the style of Howard & Perley. This firm ranks high among the lumber dealers of Williamsport. They have large interests in Clinton and Potter counties, Pennsylvania, and are the owners of twelve miles of railroad in the lumber field. Mr. Perley has long been a director of the West Branch National Bank of Williamsport, and in November 1898, was chosen president of that institution, which is the largest and strongest financial concern in the city. The safe, conservative policy which he has inaugurated commends itself to the judgment of all and has secured for the bank a patronage which makes the volume of business transacted over its counters of great importance and magnitude. The success of the institution is certainly due in large measure to him, and through it and his lumber business he has promoted the welfare of the city.
Mr. Perley has been twice married, his first wife being Miss Clara Lovejoy, a daughter of Albert Lovejoy, of Gardiner, Maine. Their marriage was celebrated September 1, 1869, and was blessed with five children who are still living, namely: Margaret Lovejoy, married A. Thomas Page, Harriett Shaw, who married W. H. Crockett; Fred A.; Martha C., married Charles Cochran; and Allen P., Jr. The wife and mother died in January 1886, and in i888 Mr. Perley wedded Mrs. Anne Stowell, a native of New York. They are prominent members of Christ’s Episcopal church, in which he holds the offices of vestryman and warden, and he is also a member of Lodge No.106, F. & A. M. Politically he is a stanch Republican and served one term as a member of the city council. Mr. Perley stands high in the esteem of his business associates, as a man possessing excellent business ability and sound judgment, being particularly successful in the management of large business enterprises. In manner he is courteous and considerate, and is a most respected, congenial and kind-hearted citizen, who is held in the highest regard by all with whom lie comes in contact either in business or social life.
Source: Genealogical and Personal History of Lycoming County, John W. Jordan, Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1906.