Fred (Frederick Charles) Brenckman.

History of Carbon County, Pennsylvania; also containing a separate account of the several boroughs and townships in the county, online

. (page 39 of 44)
Online LibraryFred (Frederick Charles) BrenckmanHistory of Carbon County, Pennsylvania; also containing a separate account of the several boroughs and townships in the county, → online text (page 39 of 44)
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iary Association of Eli T. Connor Post, G. A. R., of
Summit Hill.


Rauch, E. H., politician, soldier and editor, was
born at Warwick, Lancaster county, on July 19, 1820^
the fourth son of Christian H. and Mary M. Eauch.

His grandfather, Johann Heinrich Rauch, came to
America from Kohn, on the Rhine, Germany, in 1769.
He was by trade a whitesmith, and located at Lititz,
Pa., where he engaged in the manufacture of edge
tools, gun locks and coffee mills. In 1776 he was im-
pressed with the fact that an auger that would bore a
hole and at the same time eject the chips would be an
improvement on the old style *'pot" auger then in
use. With this idea in mind, he invented the principle
and bit of the auger of to-day.

Edward H. Rauch was educated at Lititz, and at
the age of fourteen went to work on a farm for two
dollars a month. Soon thereafter he was apprenticed
to a cabinet-maker, named Jacob Bear, at Lancaster,
being bound to serve until attaining his majority. He
became a good workman, while Bear develoi^ed into a
severe task-master.

This led the young apprentice to run away two years
before the expiration of the time he was expected to
serve. He went to Philadelphia, where he found em-

His father being responsible for his service, com-
promised with Bear for one hundred and twenty-five
dollars, w^ich sum young Edward refunded in instal-

In 1840 he went to Mullica Hill, N. J., where he
worked as a carpenter. He began his political career
and made his maiden speech during the presidential
campaign of that year. He next returned to Warwick
to assist in the conduct of the affairs of his father,
while his brother Rudolph secured for him an appoint-
ment to a clerkship in the office of the prothonotary of
Lancaster county.

Capt. E. H. Rauch.




During the year 1846 lie entered into partnership
with John Willard as a house painter, which continued
for about a year.

It was at this period, with Thaddeus Stephens and
others, that he became connected with what was known
as the Underground Railway.

George Hughes, a slave-catching detective had head-
quarters at Lancaster, and being illiterate, needed
some one to do his writing. Not knowing Mr. Ranch 's
sentiments, he asked him to become his secretary,
which was agreed to. This gave the underground rail-
roaders certain knowledge of the plans and movements
of the slave-catchers, and it is noteworthy that during
the time this arrangement remained in force, Hughes
was unsuccessful in catching a single runaway slave.

In 1847 Mr. Ranch was a collector of toll on the
Philadelphia and Lancaster turnpike, which afforded
him an opportunity to enter more actively into politi-
cal affairs. By shrewd manipulation of a primary
election he secured the nomination of Thaddeus
Stephens for congress, saving the great Commoner
from defeat at a most critical stage in his career.

Shortly afterwards he became deputy register of
Lancaster county.

Under the leadership of Thaddeus Stephens, a com-
pany was formed in 1848 to publish a daily and weekly
newspaper as the organ of the anti-slavery element of
the Whig party. Mr. Ranch and Edward McPherson
were placed in charge of the paper, the Independent
Whig and Inland Daily, of Lancaster. This was the
beginning of Mr. Ranch's long and varied career as a
journalist. After about six years he disposed of his
interest in this establishment, removing to Bethlehem,
where he founded the Lehigh Valley Times, which be-
came a Republican organ in a Democratic stronghold.


Coming to Mauch Chunk in the spring of 1857, he
purchased the Mauch Chunk Gazette, resulting in the
political revolution of Carbon county. He was ap-
pointed to the position of transcribing clerk in the
House of Representatives at Harrisburg in 1859, and
was chief clerk of the House in 1860-61. In 1860 he
was a delegate to the convention which nominated
Abraham Lincoln for the presidency.

During 1861, although still holding his position at
Harrisburg, he recruited Company H of the Eleventh
Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, and was
appointed captain. On returning to Harrisburg he
was astonished to learn that he had been nominated
for re-election. After much hesitation he decided to
accept, on condition that he be granted leave of absence
during the session, whilst his regiment was in winter
quarters at Annapolis.

During his service as a soldier, Captain Ranch par-
ticipated with his company in the engagements of
Cedar Mountain, Thoroughfare Gap, Second Bull Run,
Fredericksburg, and in the fighting on the Rappahan-
nock. At the battle of Second Bull Run he was wound-
ed in the thigh. Soon after the battle of Fredericks-
burg he became afflicted with rheumatism, and in April,
1863, was discharged on that account. During the re-
mainder of his life he was never entirely free from
this complaint.

At the close of the war he was offered a mayorship in
the regular army, but rejected it, later becoming pro-
vost marshal for Carbon and Luzerne counties, and
participating in many important arrests of Buckshots
or Mollie Maguires, who were then terrorizing the
mining region.

Finding his printing establishment ruined and neg-
lected upon his return from the army, he did not at-


tempt to rehabilitate it, but went to Reading, where
he started the Berks County Zeitung. After a time he
concluded that he was unfitted to conduct a real Ger-
man newspaper, abandoning the venture to become the
editor of the Reading Daily Eagle.

A venture which proved a complete success was the
publication of a campaign paper called The Father
Abraham. This he conducted in association with
Thomas Cochran at Lancaster. Its circulation reached
twenty thousand copies, which was at that time consid-
ered a very large list.

After the campaign of 1868 he became the sole owner
of the establishment, conducting the paper under vari-
ous names through several campaigns.

In 1872 he joined the Liberal Republican movement
for Greely, serving as one of the secretaries of the
state committee under the chairmanship of A. K. Mc-
Clure. Four years later he supported Tilden, and pub-
lished a campaign paper under the name of Uncle

To meet a local political emergency, he was induced
to return to Mauch Chunk, in 1877, to take charge of
a newspaper, known as the Carbon County Democrat,
which successfully advocated the candidacy of Robert
Klotz for congress.

Having served its purpose, this paper was after a
time merged with the Mauch Chunk Democrat, then
owned by H. E. Packer, Mr. Ranch being retained as
editor. Upon the death of the former, Mr. Ranch and
his son Lawrence purchased the property. In 1892
they started the Daily News, later taking in R. C.
Ranch as a partner.

Soon after the close of the war Mr. Ranch began
the publication of what became famous as the ''Pit
Schwefflebrenner" letters, written in Pennsylvania


Dutch, and regularly appearing in his newspapers
until the time of his death. They teemed with homely
wisdom and subtle humor, and with many of his read-
ers they constituted the most popular feature of his

He was the author of a handbook on Pennsylvania
Dutch, a translation of Rip Van Winkle, and a number
of other publications in that dialect.

He was probably the first, and certainly the most
consistent, advocate of building a railroad to the Flag
Staff, now a popular pleasure resort, towering on the
mountain above Mauch Chunk, and he lived to par-
ticipate in driving the golden spike, signalizing the
completion of that project.

Mr. Ranch's most remarkable specialty was that of
a handwriting expert. He was first called in this con-
nection before a legal tribunal at Lebanon, about 1850.
His success in this instance established his reputation,
and he subsequently served in hundreds of similar
cases in various parts of the Union.

Mr. Ranch was married in 1851 to Mrs. Theresa Cle-
well, with whom he lived happily for nearly half a cen-
tury. William H., Edward C, Lawrence L., and Rich-
ard C. Ranch are their surviving children.

Captain Rauch enjoyed the acquaintance of most of
the men prominent in public life in state and nation
during two generations, while as an editor his name
was familiar from one end of Pennsylvania to the
other. His death occurred at Mauch Chunk on Sep-
tember 8, 1902, in his eighty-third year.

Reese, Thomas E,., an Audenried coal operator, and
engaged in a number of other enterprises, was born
near Merthyr Tidvil, Wales, April 30, 1861.

His father, Evan Reese, came to America with his
family at the opening of the Civil War, settling at Ash-


land, Schuylkill county. He came to "Audenried in
1864 and became a mine foreman under George H.
Meyers & Company, serving in that capacity for nearly
twenty years. Later he conducted Weaver's Hotel,
near Conyngham, Luzerne county. He was married to
Mary Price, a native of Wales, and they had fifteen
children. Mr. Reese died March 31, 1895, aged sixty

Thomas R. Reese began life as a slate picker on the
breaker of the firm by whom his father was employed,
at the tender age of nine. By successive promotions
he finally became mine foreman and later a contract
miner. He remained with this company for twenty-
four years.

In 1893 Mr. Reese engaged in the livery business in
partnership with Harry Taylor at Audenried. After
four years he purchased the interest of Mr. Taylor,
and has since conducted the business as sole owner.

In 1905 Mr. Reese purchased Pardee's old grist mill,
for many years one of the landmarks of Hazleton, con-
ducting a livery stable in the building. He disposed
of this property in 1910.

Mr. Reese acquired the coal operation known as the
Dusky Diamond Colliery, located at Beaver Brook, Lu-
zerne county, from Thomas Morgan in 1901, and is
still successfully engaged in the mining and shipping
of coal at that place. He also has an interest in the
Bangor Silk Mills, of Bangor, Northampton county.

Mr. Reese was united in wedlock to Miss Mary
Smith, of Hazleton, on November 8, 1879. Their chil-
dren are : Evan, Otto, Howard, Charles, William and
May Reese.

The father of this family is a stalwart Republican
and is now serving his third term as a supervisor of



Banks township, in which Audenried is situated. He is
recognized as a man of native force and ability.

Rehrig, Rev. W. M., pastor of St. John's Evangel-
ical Lutheran church, of Mauch Chunk, and a man of
broad public spirit and activity, is descended from
Eevolutionary stock, his great-grandfather, Conrad
Rehrig, having fought as a soldier under Washington.
At the close of the war, he settled in what is now East
Penn township, Carbon county, where some of his de-
scendants are still engaged in agricultural pursuits.

The grandfather of the subject of this memoir was
named John. His farm in East Penn township, con-
sisted of four tracts, one of which originally belonged
to William Thomas, whose estate was confiscated on
the charge of treason during the war of Independence.
Subsequently it was deeded to George Crossley by
John Adams, then vice-president of the United States.
After a number of transfers, it was in 1813 purchased
by Mr. Rehrig, and he erected a log house and barn

It was in this house that W^ilson Meyer Rehrig, son
of Gideon and Susan (Meyer) Rehrig, was born on
November 16, 1853. He prepared for college at the
Lehighton Academy and in the academic department of
Muhlenberg College, from which institution he was
graduated in 1879. Entering the Lutheran Theological
Seminary at Philadelphia, he completed his course in
1882, being ordained as a minister of the Lutheran
church in June of the same vear.

Immediately after his ordination he located at
Girardville, Pa., where he organized a mission. Upon
his resignation, in 1887, he had gathered a self-sustain-
ing congregation of more than three hundred members.

Removing to GreenviHe, Mercer county, Pa., he as-
sumed charge of a courtry parish, later becoming pas-

10. M. /'




tor of the cliurch of Thiel College, where he remained
until 1898. During his pastorate here he was acting
German professor of the college, besides being an in-
structor in various other subjects. After leaving
Greenville, Rev. Rehrig served the congregation of
St. John's church, at Sayre, Pa., for two years, assum-
ing the duties of his present charge on June 1, 1900.
He has given his best efforts and, perhaps, the best
years of his life to this congregation.

Rev. Rehrig served as president of the Wilkes-Barre
Conference of the Lutheran church for a number of
years, while he has been a member of the board of
trustees of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at
Philadelphia for about eight years. He is also presi-
dent of the Slav Mission Board of the United States,
which organization is maintained by the General Coun-
cil of the Lutheran Church.

During the month of June, 1910, he attended the
World's Missionary Conference, held at Edinburgh,
Scotland, as the delegate of the churches of Carbon
county, being accompanied by his wife, and making a
general tour of Europe.

For post graduate work in philosophy, Thiel College
conferred the degree of Ph.D. upon Rev. Rehrig, while
the Lutheran Theological Seminary of Chicago hon-
ored him with the degree of B.D.

He was married to Margaret M., daughter of Isaac
M. English, of Harrisburg, February 26, 1884. Their
two sons, John and Ralph, both died at the age of sev-
enteen years.

Riegel, Johan A., a farmer and justice of the peace
of Mahoning township, was there born, December 30,
1851. He traces his ancestry to Jacob Riegel, who
emigrated from Germany to this country in 1747, he


being one of four brothers who came to the United
States together.

Jacob, the great-grandfather of Johan A. Riegel,
settled in Bucks county, Pa. His son, Jacob Riegel,
settled in Dauphin county, following the occupation of
a farmer. One of his sons was Amos Riegel, father of
the subject of this sketch, who was born in Dauphin
county, July 15, 1815, and came to Carbon county in
1849. He owned much of the land on which James-
town, a suburb of Lehighton, is now located. He was
a successful farmer and cattle dealer. In 1858 he was
elected by popular ballot to the office of sheriff of Car-
bon county. In 1882, as a member of the Republican
party, he was chosen as a county commissioner.

He was a veteran of the Rebellion, having gone to
the front as second lieutenant of Company F, Thirty-
fourth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, in response
to the emergency call. He was honorably discharged
at the expiration of his term of service.

Mr. Riegel was twice married, his first wife being
Mary Hoffman, who died September 20, 1843, a short
time subsequent to her marriage. In 1850 he was unit-
ed in wedlock to Mrs. Abigal Hunsinger, of Mahoning
township. Their children were as follows : Johan A.,
Jerome H., Tilghman and Sallie J. Riegel. The first
and last named only survive, Sallie being unmarried
and living in Lehighton.

Johan A. Riegel attended the public schools of Ma-
honing township and of Mauch Chunk. Later he was
a student at Millersville State Normal School, and in
1871 entered Palatinate College, Meyerstown, Pa.
After completing his education he worked on his fa-
ther's farm for a time, and in 1873 went west, spending
nearly a quarter of a century in agricultural pursuits
in the states of the middle west and of the Rocky moun-
tain region.


In the fall of 1896 he returned to Pennsylvania, lo-
cating on the old homestead, where he has since re-
mained. He was elected as a justice of the peace of
Mahoning township in 1908. He is known as a man of
independent thought and action, and is active in patri-
otic society circles, being a member of the Patriotic
Order Sons of America, the Sons of Veterans, the
Order of Independent Americans and of the Junior

Mr. Riegel is an adherent of the Republican party
and a member of the Reformed church. In 1877 he was
married to Caroline Balliet, daughter of Paul Balliet
and his wife Priscilla, of Garrett City, Indiana. Sarah
H., whose birth occurred in 1885, is their only child.
She remains at home.

Romig, Abraham J., superintendent of the plant of
the Tide Water Pipe Company at Hudsondale, and
senior member of the firm of A. J. Romig and Son,
conducting an establishment for the repair and mainte-
nance of automobiles and other vehicles, besides doing
general blacksmithing, was born in Packer township^
on November 23, 1851. He is one of the ten children
of Thomas and Caroline (Snyder) Romig, both life-
long residents of Packer township.

Mr. Romig learned the trade of a blacksmith and
wheelwright, which he followed for years. For the
term of eight years he was employed at the powder
mills of the Laflflin and Rand Company, situated in the
western portion of Quakake Valley. He was also for
a time employed by the Lehigh Valley Railroad Com-
pany, at Weatherly, and by the Jeanesville Iron Works
Company at Jeanesville.

About twenty-six years ago he entered the employ
of the Tide Water Pipe Company, engaged in the
transmission of petroleum between the oil fields and


tide water, and maintaining a large pumping station at
Hudsondale. After successive promotions, he became
the local superintendent of this company, in which ca-
pacity he has served for about seven years.

In association with his son, Charles, he, in 1911, es-
tablished the shops of which he is the head. Both are
mechanical geniuses, and they have built up a good

On January 19, 1872, Mr. Romig was married to
Catharine, a daughter of Charles Keiper, of Hudson-
dale. They have seven children, as follows: Albert,
Priscilla, the wife of Jonas Wetzel ; Charles, Valentine,
Cora, wife of Lewis Krop ; Susan and Eosa.

Mr. Eomig is a staunch Democrat, and is a member
of the Reformed church.

Rosenstock, John E., engaged in the general insur-
ance and real estate business at Weatherly, is the son
of Casper and Elizabeth (Derr) Rosenstock.

The father emigrated to this country from Germany
with his widowed mother and two sisters when but
thirteen years of age, locating at Stockton, Luzerne
county, and becoming the bread-winner of the family.

In 1854 he entered the service of the Beaver Meadow
Railroad as a brakeman. When that road was merged
with the Lehigh Valley, he continued in the employ of
the new company, soon becoming a locomotive engineer
and spending the remainder of his active life with this
corporation. He retired in 1910, after a continuous
service of about fifty-six years.

John E. Rosenstock is one of a family of ten chil-
dren, and was born at Weatherly on November 4, 1860.
Educated in the common schools, he mastered the trade
of a molder, which he followed in the foundry of the
Lehigh Valley Railroad at Weatherly for many years.
In 1892 he took charge of a department in a pipe foun-


dry at Utica, N. Y., where he remained for a short time.
He was one of the promoters of the National Spool and
Bobbin Works, established at Weatherly in 1904, and
was the superintendent of the plant while it continued
in operation. Later he was with the Weatherly Foun-
dry and Machine Company. He established himself
in his present business in 1911.

Mr. Rosenstock has long taken an active part in the
municipal affairs of his native town. He has held the
offices of school director and assessor, while serving as
the borough secretary since 1898. He is also a mem-
ber of the fire department, and is identified with the
board of trade and the improvement society. For a
number of years he was a member of the board of
auditors of the Middle Coal Field Poor District.

Affiliating with the Republican party, he has been
associated with its county committee.

In 1884 Mr. Rosenstock was married to Nellie,
daughter of J. A. Beers, of Weatherly. They became
the parents of two daughters, Jennie, the wife of H.
A. Young, and Mabel, who married Elmer Young. Mrs.
Rosenstock died early in 1913.

Ross, Ira G., cashier of the Mauch Chunk National
Bank, and for many years prominently identified with
the financial interests of that place, is descended from
Colonial ancestors.

His paternal forefathers were of Scottish lineage,
while his father, James S. Ross, was born in Lehigh
county, coming to Mauch Chunk in 1864. Entering
the service of the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Com-
pany in a clerical capacity, he, after a time became the
general boating agent of that corporation.

He was married to Flora Osmun, of Allentown,
whose father was of English extraction, while her


mother was descended from Pennsylvania German

Ira G. Ross was born at Bethlehem, Pa., February
23, 1861. He was for a time a student at St. Mark's
Academy, at Mauch Chunk, and later, entering the
high school of that borough, he was graduated with
honors in 1879.

Beginning life as a clerk for the Lehigh Coal and
Navigation Company, he was so engaged for about a
year ; and, in 1880, he entered the First National Bank
of Mauch Chunk as a bookkeeper. He successively
filled the various positions in the bank, and was finally
appointed assistant cashier.

After the consolidation of the First National and
the Linderman National Banks, in 1903, under the
name of the Mauch Chunk National Bank, he was ap-
pointed assistant cashier of the consolidation, holding
that title until 1912, when he became cashier.

Mr. Ross was married to Mary, the youngest daugh-
ter of Leonard Yeager, one of Mauch Chunk's oldest
and most esteemed residents, on October 28, 1884.
Their children are Helen, Katherine, and Ira G. Ross,
Jr. The former is a graduate of the Mauch Chunk
high school.

Mr. Ross is prominent in Masonic circles, being a
.past officer in all the bodies of that order in Mauch
Chunk, and belonging to Irem Temple, Mystic Shrine,
of Wilkes-Barre. He has been the representative of
Carbon Lodge to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania for
a number of years.

He is a member and vestryman of St. Mark's Epis-
copal church, of Mauch Chunk, and is treasurer of the
parish. He was borough treasurer for six or seven
years, and was a member of the board of education for
a number of terms, having successively been secretary,


treasurer, and president of that body. In addition to
his other duties, he is secretary and treasurer of the
Mauch Chunk Heat, Power and Electric Light Com-
pany, and is a member of the board of directors of that

Schaefer, Joseph, Carbon county's best known hotel
man, now living at East Mauch Chunk, was born at
Easton, Pa., April 5, 1861, the youngest son of Bern-
hard and Theresa (Pfeffer) Schaefer.

His parents were natives of Wurtemberg, Germany,
whence they emigrated to the United States about
1850, their marriage having been celebrated in the

Joseph acquired his early training in the German
parochial schools of South Easton, subsequently pur-
suing a general business course in the city of his birth.
He was first employed in a general store at Easton,
beginning at the age of twelve years.

His connection with the hotel business of Carbon
county dates back to 1879, when he entered the service
of P. H. Schweibinz, owner of the European Hotel,
since known as the Central, at Mauch Chunk.

In association with E. I. J. Paetzel, a former pro-
thonotary of the county, he, in 1894, secured a lease of
the Armbruster House, conducting it for five years.
At the expiration of that time, Mr. Schaefer became
the landlord of the Central Hotel, continuing as such
until the fall of 1911, when he retired, after an unin-
terrupted and prosperous career of thirty-three years
on the same square.

His hospitable nature and the homelike atmosphere
which pervaded his hostelry were the prime factors in
his success.

On November 29, 1893, he was married to Annie M.,
daughter of Anthony Armbruster, of East Mauch


Chunk. They have two sons, Bernhard and Joseph. A
daughter, Marie, died at the age of ten years.

Mr. Schaefer is identified with the Benevolent and

Online LibraryFred (Frederick Charles) BrenckmanHistory of Carbon County, Pennsylvania; also containing a separate account of the several boroughs and townships in the county, → online text (page 39 of 44)