John was one of the best-known candy manufacturers in that section. He was in robust health, but he did one thing that would be a risk for most folks—when he became overheated making candy in his little kitchen, he would walk to the street door in his shirt sleeves, even in zero weather. But if didn’t seem to have any ill effect on him. In fact, he seemed to get “better and better” as the years rolled on, although he never heard of Coue until he saw the accounts in the daily newspapers. He always enjoyed such health.
In September of 1879, John, in connection with Mr. A.R. Agnew, proposed to embark in the manufacturer of cigars.
1881 - History of Centre County, Pennsylvania, Bellefonte Borough, Bellefonte Fire Department, as on file at the PA State Library, Harrisburg, PA; pgs. 241-243; on pg. 242, "In 1881, the active membership was forty-eight. The officers were H.D. Yeager, president, Thomas Shaughnessy, vice-president; William Hillbuste, secretary; Charles Heisler; treasurer; J.D. Sourbeck, chief- - - - - - -." Also identified a James Hull, fourth assistant. The Hulls married into this branch of the family. (see Mary Comstock).
1881, Centre County, PA Website (http://county.centreconnect.org/sketches/s9.htm), under 15 Historical Sketches of Our 200 Years: "Centre County's Barnum, John D. Sourbeck, brought circuses to Bellefonte and violinist Ole Bull in 1881."
August 21, 1884, John’s wife Katherine, was thrown from her buggy, one of her shoulders was slightly hurt.
At times, John travelled in the interest of his business. He travelled to Washington DC and in October of 1884, he is found on the hotel register of the Bingham, in Philadelphia, among others.
1885, Mar 30 - Newspaper article from Website identified above for a fire on Mar 27, 1885, entitled, The Big Fire in Bellefonte: "- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -. The efforts of many others could be specially commended, and among them of Logan company, - - - - - - - -John Sourbeck. The latter's overcoat caught fire while he was on top of the Brockerhoff Hotel, and for a time we felt a little alarmed, lest we might have to record John as among the martyrs. But when a fellow hollered to him from the street below, he quietly put it out and coolly turned again to his business."
On July 25th and 26th, 1900, Centre County was Celebrating the county’s Centennial Anniversary. John served on the commission and was in charge of the amusements.
On April 18, 1918, John was seriously injured when he was struck by a vehicle at the Pennsylvania Railroad Station, when he stepped out from behind a number of cars to cross the roadway, and got in front of an oncoming car driven by a John Hoy, of near Jacksonville. John attempted to protect himself by grabbing hold of the Hoy car, which was running slowly when he was thrown to the brick paving. His skull was fractured and he was rendered unconscious. He was taken to the Bellefonte hospital, and there was little hope for his recovery.
The Scranton (PA) Republican, February 28, 1923, Wednesday, page 8: "John D. Sourbeck, who has been in business in Bellefonte 46 years, is 74. He was born in Lewistown and has been in Bellefonte since he was 3 years old."
John was a member of the Business Men’s Association of Clinton and Centre Counties.