The Cyclopædia of American Biography/Muckle, Mark Richards

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The Cyclopædia of American Biography  (1918) 
James E. Homans, editor
Muckle, Mark Richards

MUCKLE, Mark Richards, journalist, b. in Philadelphia, Pa., 10 Sept., 1825; d. there, 31 March, 1915, son of Michael and Mary (Kaiser) Muckle. His father was born in Neukirch, in Germany, and came to this country in the early years of the century and settled in Philadelphia, where he prospered as a clockmaker and wood carver. As a wood carver he attained almost a national reputation. His life-size figure of Christ, now adorning a Western cathedral, his “Conflagration of Moscow,” and his “Treaty of Ghent” are among the most widely admired specimens of this art produced in this country. Mr. Muckle's mother was also of German birth, having been a native of Kenzingen, and came to this country in 1817. Being in very comfortable circumstances, it was the desire of the father that his son should have every educational advantage attainable at that time. Therefore it was that the boy attended the public schools and pursued his studies until his eighteenth year. On leaving school he entered the office of the “Public Ledger,” in the humble capacity of desk clerk. In this position he did not remain long, however, for he soon rose to the position of cashier and finally he was promoted to the position of business manager, which he held for upward of fifty years, while the paper continued under the ownership of George W. Childs. Mr. Muckle, however, did not attain distinction through his regular business pursuits; it was on account of the activities which he carried on quite aside from his business, from pure personal interest, that he became widely known and prominent in the affairs of the city. On the outbreak of the war with Mexico he was commissioned a lieutenant in the marine corps by President Polk. In 1852 he was appointed to the staff of Governor Bigler, whence he derived his title as colonel. Being very keenly interested in public affairs, he soon became very much in demand as a public speaker, both before German and American audiences. In 1860 he assisted in the founding of the German Hospital, of which he was president emeritus at the time of his death. From that time onward his sphere of public and charitable activities continually enlarged. He became a member of more than a score of organizations representing the charitable, literary, artistic, musical, scientific, and business interests of the city and held high office in many of them. During the late sixties he was the first and chief advocate among the representative men of the city for the holding of a centennial exposition and in 1869 he was the bearer of the first official exposition proposals to President Grant. Later he helped actively in securing a site for the exposition; for seven years he labored for the success of this great enterprise. Though American born, Colonel Muckle was always an enthusiastic admirer of his father's nation. All his life he aided and supported numerous institutions in the city for the preservation of the identity of the German-American population. For the German Society, which he joined in 1853, and of which he was vice-president for thirteen years, he helped to plan the hall at Spring Garden and Marshall Streets. He was identified prominently with the Philadelphia Maennerchor, the Harmonie Gesang Verein, the Junger Maennerchor, the Turngemeinde, the Canstatter Volksverein, the Philadelphia Schuetzen Verein, and he was incorporator of the German-American Title and Trust Company. In 1870 he undertook the task of collecting a fund of $50,000 for the relief of widows and orphans of the German soldiers killed in the Franco-Prussian War. During that war the library of the University of Strassburg was entirely destroyed. Colonel Muckle set about and succeeded in collecting 30,000 volumes in this country with which a new library for that institution might be founded. To indicate his appreciation of these efforts in behalf of the Fatherland of his father, Kaiser Wilhelm I conferred on Colonel Muckle, in 1874, the Order of the Crown and, in 1883, the Military Order of the Red Eagle, the highest honor which had ever been granted to anyone not of royal blood. In connection with these services Colonel Muckle made several visits to Germany, and it was on these occasions that he became acquainted with and earned the warm personal friendship of Prince Bismarck. In 1871 Colonel Muckle organized among the Germans of America a peace celebration, commemorating the conclusion of the war and in 1902 he was a member of the committee which arranged the official reception of the present Kaiser's brother, Prince Henry of Prussia. On the outbreak of the great war, in 1914, Colonel Muckle took a very critical attitude toward the government of the country for which he had done so much. From the very beginning he had criticized the policy of the present Kaiser, especially in the latter's attitude toward Prince Bismarck, which culminated in the latter's dismissal from power. Colonel Muckle held that the present Kaiser was responsible for the great war and openly expressed the hope that he would suffer for the mischief his policies had worked. Colonel Muckle's activities, however, were not all carried on among the German-Americans. In 1898 he organized the peace festival in celebration of the conclusion of the war with Spain. He was one of the founders of the Franklin Reformatory Home and of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. He was also prominently connected with the Franklin Institute, the Zoological Society, the Cremation Society, the Hay Fever Association, the Historical Society, the Geographical Society of Pennsylvania, the Morris Refuge for Suffering Animals, the Tammany Shore Fishing Club, the Art Club of Philadelphia, the Red Cross Society of Pennsylvania, the Teachers' Aid and Annuity Association, and the Philadelphia Cycle and Field Club. His acquaintances among public men included statesmen who were prominent as far back as the War of 1812. He had talked with most of the presidents since Jackson. He was also a member of the Order of Odd Fellows, in whose Grand Lodge he was just rounding out at the time of his death, his fifty-ninth consecutive year of service as grand treasurer. In 1856 he took the supreme degree of Royal Arch Mason in Columbia Chapter, No. 91. In the Knights Templars, which he joined in 1856, he attained the office of grand treasurer and held it continuously for twenty-four years. Eventually he wae elevated to the thirty-third degree, and for several years he was an honorary member of the Supreme Council. In 1850 Colonel Muckle married Caroline Seiser. Their three surviving children are: Mrs. S. P. Stambach, of Haverford; Alexander Remack, and William Frederic Muckle.