John W. (John Woolf) Jordan.

Historic homes and institutions and genealogical and personal memoirs of the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania (Volume v.1) online

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years of maturity, namely : William, John,
Thomas, Joseph, Reuben, Sarah, Susanna
and Hannah Horn. The father of Squire
John Horn was George Horn, who was
a native of Germany, a tanner bv trade, who
settled in Mahoning township, Pennsylvania,
where he followed 'his trade successfully, and died
in peace with Gotl and man.

ALEXANDER T. PHIFER, a well known
and prominent citizen of Phifer's Corners, Frank-
lin township, Pennsylvania, from whom the place
took its name, is a man of business and executive
ability and he has contributed considerable time
and means to the upbuilding of that little hamlet.
He was born in New Jersey, December 30, 1839,



a descendent of a German ancestry. His great-
grandfather emigrated to this country previous
to the Revolutionary War, in which fierce strug-
gle three of his granduncles took an active part.

Archibald Phifer, grandfather of Alexander
T. Phifer, was a native of New Jersey. After
acquiring the education afiforded by the common
schools of that day, he learned the trade cf
moulder, and thereafter worked in an iron fur-
nace. He was a capable and industrious man,
and during his entire active career fulfilled all
the duties of a loyal and public-spirited citizen
of this great republic. He married Agnes Guise,
and the issue of this union was seven children,
namely : Susanna, Maria, William, Adam, Jona-
than, James and Archibald ; the sons followed the
same trade as their father, that of iron worker.
Archibald Phifer (father) died at the advanced
age of ninety-six years^ and his wife died at the
age of ninetv years ; her mother, after whom
she was named, lived to be one hundred and five
years of age.

Jonathan Phifer, father of Alexander T.
Phifer, was also a native of New Jersey. In 1840
he removed to Catasauqua, Pennsylvania, ac-
companying Mr. Thomas, the iron manufacturer,
who erected and operated a furnace there, and
Mr. Phifer was one of his employees. After a
short period of time he removed to Easton, Penn-
sylvania, where he resided until 1846, then took
up his residence in Mauch Chunk, but shortly
afterward returned to his native state of New
Jersev. His public and private life was honorable
and blameless, and he therefore won the respect
and confidence of all with whom he was asso-
ciated. His wife, whose maiden name was Mar-
garet Matthews, bore him the following named
children : Elizabeth, Sarah, John, deceased ; Sam-
uel, deceased; William, deceased; Alexander T.
and George Phifer.

Alexander T. Phifer was reared and educated
in his native state, New Jersey, served an appren-
ticeship at the trade of moulder, which he fol-
lowed up to 1864, when he was placed in charge
of a department of the industry, and for a number
of years served in the capacity of foreman or boss.
When this promotion occurred he was residing



GENEALOGICAL AND PERSONAL MEMOIRS.



391



at Parryville, to which place he removed from
his native town and where he remained for thir-
teen years. In 1876 he removed to FrankHn town-
ship, Pennsylvania, in the section now known as
Phifer's Corners, and engaged in mercantile busi-
ness which he conducted successfully for twenty-
one consecutive years. He was the proprietor of
the first store in the town, which was equipped
with a general line of merchandise, and he also
aided materially in the settlement of the locality.
He sold lots upon which were built substantial
homes by industrious people, who are to-day good
and loyal citizens, and he was also instrumental
in the erection of a church and schoolhouse,
which adds considerably to the value of the pro-
pert}' and is also a great convenience to the
people. During his residence in Parryville, Penn-
sylvania, he served in the various offices of town
councilor, borough treasurer and sc'hool director,
and is now serving a term as overseer of the
poor in Franklin township. He is a consistent
member of the Evangelical church, in which or-
ganization he has held all the offices up to
preacher, and at the present time (1904) is filling
the office of trustee.

]\Ir. Phifer was united in marriage in 1865
to Rachel A. Knerr, who bore him six children,
namely: William, Elizabeth, Elwood, George,
deceased ; Arthur and Ada Phifer. Rachel A.
(Knerr) Phifer was one of eleven children, five
of whom are living at the present time, who were
born to the Rev. George Knerr, a member of
the Evangelical Association, who preached the
gospel for half a century. She was born in a par-
sonage in the year 1844. Two of her brothers,
as well as twa of her imcles, follow the same call-
ing as her father, that of minister of the gospel.

LANDON B. WAGNER. Among the in-
fluential, industrious and promising young busi-
ness men of Weissport, Carbon county. Pennsyl-
vania, may be mentioned the name of Landon B.
W'agner, a manufacturer of combination fences
and gates, and a dealer in general fence supplies,
such as posts, rails, also stoneware and flower
pots. The family formerly came from Berks
county, Pennsylvania, settling at what is now



known as Phifer's Corner, in the year 1870.
The early ancestors of the family were natives of
Germany.

George Wagner (grandfather) was a native
of Berks county, Pennsylvania, to which vicinity
his parents removed from their native land of
Germany. Lfpon attaining young manhood he
turned his attention to farming which proved
both a pleasant and remunerative source of em-
ployment. He was twice married, the maiden
name of his first wife having been Elizabeth
Albright, and the name of the second wife is
unknown. There were born to him ten children
by the first miion, among whom was a son,
George A. Wagner.

George A. Wagner (father) was one of the
pioneer settlers of the Lehigh Valley. He was a
potter by trade, and pursued this line of indus-
try in conjunction with farming during his resi-
dence in Phifer's Corner, and being an excellent
mechanic he soon built up an extensive trade.
He was a man of excellent character, and was
esteemed by all with whom he was brought in
contact, either in business or social life. He mar-
ried Rebecca Boyer, who bore him a family of
nine children, seven of whom are now living,
namely: Alfred B., Lovina, Kate, Sallie, Landon
B., Luanna and George A. Wagner. The father
of these children died June 10, 1896, aged eighty
years.

Landon B. Wagner was born in Berks coun-
ty, Pennsylvania, May 20, 1862. He was about
eight years of age when his parents removed to
Carbon county, and he acquired a practival edu-
cation in the common schools adjacent to his
home. After serving an apprenticeship at the
trade of moulder, he worked as a journeyman for
fourteen years, and then abandoned this industry
on account of the dertimental effect it had upon
his physical condition. He at once took up the
manufacture of woven fence, and also learned the
trade of potter from his father, so that in winter
when his business is dull he is able to manu-
facture pots of various styles and patterns. He is
an excellent mechanic, and his extensive ware-
house, which is equipped with all the modern
facilities for manufacturing fence supplies, is



39-



HISTORIC HOMES AND INSTITUTIONS.



filled with the best make and the choicest patterns
of stoneware at a moderately low figure, while his
own product is far beyond competition both for
durability and design, and he has built up a fine
and remunerative trade. He has been the incum-
bent of several township offices, and at the present
time ( 1904) is serving as school director. He
is a member of the Evangelical church, and holds
the offices of class leader, exhorter and superin-
tendent of the Sunday school.

On July 3, 1886, Mr. Wagner was united m
^narriage to Miss Susanna Heisler, to which
union there is no issue.

PHAON C. WEAVER, notary public and
real estate agent at Emaus, whose business activ-
ity has resulted for the benefit of his borough as
well as to his individual success, was born in A^era
Cruz, Upper Milford township, Lehigh county,
February i, 1839.

His father, Reuben Weaver, was a farmer by
occupation, living in Upper Milford township,
where after his marriage he reared his family.
He wedded Elizabeth Fink, a daughter of John
and Magdalene Fink, both natives of Lehigh
county. The Fink family is of German origin,
and its members are identified with the Reformed
church. John and Magdalene Fink were the
parents of seven children : Adam, Jacob, Reuben,
Daniel, Mrs. S. Miller, Mrs. A. Stabler and Mrs.
Reuben Weaver. Seven children were also born
unto Mr. and Mrs. Weaver, but only three are
now living, Phaon C, Daniel and Mrs. Edward
Guth. Phaon C. Weaver spent his boyhood days
in the usual manner of farmer lads and in the
common schools of his native township acquired
his education. For a brief period he engaged in
teaching school, but during the greater part of
his life has filled public office. He was first chosen
to the position of assessor of L'pper Milford town-
ship, Lehigh county, in which office he served for
eight years. He was then elected justice of the
I)eace of the same township, and for fifteen years
presided over the justice court to the entire satis-
faction of the general public. In 1884 he removed
to Emaus. and two years later was again chosen
justice of the peace, serving through the succeed-



ing decade. He was always fair and impartial
in his rulings, and disposed of the business of the
office with accuracy and dispatch. In 1897 he
was appointed notary public, has since filled the
position, nnd is now notary public for the First
National Bank of Emaus, the organization of
which institution was largely due to his untiring
zeal and efforts. He has for a number of years
conducted a private banking business in Emaus,
and he is a stockholder and a notary public in
the Home Mutual Fire Insurance Company, of
Lehigh county, his connection therewith covering
twenty-two years, while for four years he has
served as a secretary. He was also for ten years
civil engineer for the borough of Emaus, and in
other public offices to which he has been called
to serve, his course has been characterized by
marked fidelity to the trust reposed in him and
capability in the discharge of the duties that have
devolved upon him. Socially he is connected with
the Knights of Pythias fraternity and religiously
with Zionsville Reformed church.

In 1866 Mr. Weaver was married to Miss
Amanda Brinker, a daughter of Charles and
Elizabeth Brinker, and they have become the par-
ents of twelve children, eight of whom are now
living, namely : Mrs. Annie Jordan, Mrs. Lillie
Arndt, Mrs. Mantana Stabler, Mrs. Lizzie Smith,
Ellen, Alfred R., Maggie, who married Jonas
Kuns ; and George Weaver.

WILLIAM H. REX, of Lehighton, Carbon
county, Pennsylvania, is a representative of one
of the oldest and most honored families in the
Lehigh \'alley, and he has served for the past
thirty-five years and is still serving as engineer
on the Lehigh Division of the Lehigh \'alley
Railroad, and during all that long period of time
has experienced but one accident, a very slight
one without loss of life or property, and with the
exception of one month's suspension, his hand
has been on the throttle of his engine almost every
day. This is a record of which any man might
be justly proud, and it is duly appreciated by the
company, in whose service 'he has spent the
greater part of his life. He had many narrow
escapes before the invention of air-brakes, and




.^^^^^^^^w^



^^l^lr^^o'S^



GENEALOGICAL AND PERSONAL MEMOIRS.



393



on single tracks. He was fireman on the first
engine that pushed the train with ties and iron
to build the track through the Wyoming Valley,
and helped to bring down the first coal from that
region to Mauch Chunk.

One of the early ancestors of the family, John
George Rex, a progeny of one of two brothers
who came to this country at a very early date,
was born in 1682, and his death occurred on
October 18, 1772. One of his descendants, Will-
iam Rex, great-grandfather of William H. Rex,
was born January 17, i/Si- He was a prosper-
ous man in his da}-, acquired considerable land
and owned and operated a mill in which he manu-
factured cloth from flax and wool raised on his
own farm, and this material was used by his own
family and by those of his neighbors. William
Rex and his wife, Elizabeth (Handwork) Rex,
reared a family of children, among whom was a
son, Henry Rex. William Rex died August 20,
1821.

Henry Re.x, grandfather of William H. Rex,
was born August 24, 1798, in Washington town-
ship, now in Lehigh county, but then included in
Northampton county. Subsequently he moved to
Carbon county, and there purchased eighty acres
of fertile and productive farming land. He was
united in marriage to JNIiss Maria Horn, who
was born March 2, 1804, and to this union was
born the following named children : Joel, de-
ceased : Levi, deceased ; Lafayette, living ; Alfred,
deceased ; Sarah ; Amanda and Maria. The
three last named are yet living. Henry Re.x,
the father of these children, died February 15,
1879, and his wife Maria (Horn) Rex, died April
24, 1868.

Joel Rex, father of William H. Rex, was born
in Heidieburg, Lehigh county. July 6, 1823.
During his younger years he devoted his atten-
tion to the vocation of teaching school, which
proved a pleasant and successful means of liveli-
hood, but in his latter vears he followed the
trade of pumpmaker. He was a man of inflnence
and distinction in the community in which he
resided, and was chosen to fill the offices of tax
collector and constable of his township. He mar-
ried Miss Levina Haupt, also a native of Heidie-



burg, Lehigh county, who is residing on the old
homestead at the present time ( 1904). Mr. Kex,
who was an active member of the Lutheran
church, died in 1871.

William H. Rex, one of the children born to
Joel and Levina Rex, is a native of Mahoning
township. Carbon county, the date of his birth
being May 22, 1845. He was reared and edu-
cated in his native township, and his first em-
plovment was boating on the Lehigh Canal in
the service of his father, who conducted an exten-
sive trade along that line. After the freshet
of 1862, in which one of his brothers was lost,
Mr. Rex entered the employ of the Lehigh \'al-
ley Railroad Company as a repair hand on the
work train. His faithfulness in the discharge
of these minor duties induced the officials of the
road to promote him to the positions of brake-
man, fireman and conductor, in 1864, and five
years later he was given an engine, which posi-
tion he has filled up to the present time. His
route was from Mauch Chunk to Easton and
Perth Ambov, Pennsylvania, and he is now run-
ning a drill engine in the Packerton yard. Dur-
ing his long connection with the company there
were three strikes, in the years 1872, 1877 and
1893, and during those troubulous times he re-
mained true to 'his post, although his life was
often in great danger. He is an honored member
of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

In 187 1 :Mr. Rex was married to Miss Cath-
erine Kemmerer, and their children are : Clara,
who became the wife of Edgar C. Noll, and they
are the parents of two sons Wilbur R. and Her-
bert W. Frederick W., who married Miss Bertha
'SI. Berlin, who bore him one son, Harold B. ;
Hattie M., who married James H. Xander : Harry
E. Rex. The family are members of Grace
Lutheran church, which is an English branch of
the German Lutheran church, and Mr. Re.x is
now serving in the capacity of chosen elder.

AAIANDUS KISTLER, a well known re-
tired farmer residing in the borough of Lehigh-
ton, is a descendant of a prominent and influential
family whose connection with this portion of the
state dates from the colonial epoch in American



394



HISTORIC HOMES AND INSTITUTIONS.



history. His grandfather, John Kistler, was
born in Lehigh county, Pennsylvania, and, learn-
the blacksmith's trade, became an excellent me-
chanic in that line. He was a member of the
Lutheran church, and his life was in such con-
sistent harmony with its principles and teachings
that his influence became strongly felt in the
community and his example was well worthy of
emulation. He was twice married, his second
union being with a Miss Everett, and to them
were born six children, namely : John, Joseph,
Daniel, Elias, Gideon and Jonas.

Of this family, Joseph Kistler was the father
of Amandus Kistler. He was born in Lynn town-
ship, Lehigh county, November 21, 1810, and in
early life learned the blacksmith's trade under
his father's direction. He was also a practical
farmer, and in his business affairs was energetic
and persevering, and displayed indefatigable
industry. A consistent member of the Reformed
church, he held several positions therein, includ-
ing those of deacon and elder, and his life was so
upright and honorable that in the community
where he resided he was termed one of nature's

noblemen. He married Miss Maria ,

also a native of Lehigh county. She was born
March 11, 1811, and their wedding occurred on
the 19th of June, 183 1. Their children were as
follows: Fianna, deceased, born May 30, 1832;
Maria, July 4, 1834; Polly, November i, 1836;
Lydia, deceased, born March 16, 1850 ; Sarah,
March 2, 1844; Amandus, August 9, 1839; Jo-
seph, December 24, 1841 ; Monroe, April 2, 1842;
William, February 25, 1853. The father died
in 1880, and the mother is still living, her home
being still in Lehigh county.

Amandus Kistler was born at the old home in
Lynn township, Lehigh county, on the 9th of
August, 1839, and there spent the days of his
boyhood and youth, while as a pupil in the public
schools he mastered the common branches of
learning. He afterward served an apprentice-
ship to the carpenter's trade, and his natural skill
with tools made him an excellent mechanic.
After following that purusit for several years he
abandoned it for agriculture, and has since been
engaged to greater or less extent in farming op-



erations. For a number of years he actively
carried on the work of his farm, but in 1887 re-
moved to Lehighton, where he owns several
houses which he rents. He also has unimproved
land within the borough limits, and the income
from his property provides him with a good liv-
ing. He is recognized as a worthy and loyal cit-
izen, whose interest in the welfare of his com-
munity has taken tangible form in active co-
operation in movements for the general good.
He and his family are members of the Lutheran
church, in which he is filling the office of deacon.
!Mr. Kistler has been twice married. Feb-
ruary 3, 1862, he wedded Miss Kate Adams and
they became the parents of two children : Owen
E., who was born January 3, 1866, and is now
deceased ; and Odilen C. E., born November 2,
1872. He married Miss Agnes Dries, and they
have one daughter, Carrie born in December,
1893. The wife and mother, whose birth occurred
June 17, 1844, passed away January 9, 1877. On
the 17th of March, 1878. jMr. Kistler married
Miss Kate Dengler, who was born in June, 1847.

C. W. SCHWAB. Among the successful and
enterprising business men of the town of East
Weissport, Pennsylvania, none are more trust-
worthv in the fulfillment of their promises, or
more conscientious in the performance of their
labor than C. W. Schwab, who was born in
Franklin township. Carbon county, Pennsylva-
nia, October 8, 1848. He is descended from a
worthy and much respected family of industrious
and enterprising men and women, and his pater-
nal grandfather, Jacob Schwab, a native of Ger-
many, was closely related to Mr. Schwab, the
steel magnate.

Thomas Schwab, father of C. W. Schwab,
was a native of Franklin township. Carbon coun-
ty, Pennsylvania, and in this vicinity he was
reared and educated. During the early part of
his business career he was an experienced
sawyer, but subsequently he turned his attention
to agricultural pursuits, and by using the most
practical and progressive methods known to
tillers of the soil he amassed a goodly comi^etencf"
as well as a lucrative livelihood. Thomas Schwab



GENEALOGICAL AND PERSONAL MEMOIRS.



395



and his wife Polly, also a native of Franklin
township, were the parents of eleven children,
five of whom are deceased and their names are
not recorded ; the surviving members of the fam-
ily are : C. W., Maria, Selina, Ella, Polly and
Rebecca. Both Mr. and Mrs. Schwab were mem-
bers of the Reformed church, in which body he
served as deacon for many years.

After completing his education in the schools
of his native township, C. W. Schwab was em-
ployed at various pursuits until he attained his
twenty-ninth year, in 1877, when he established
his present carriage manufactory at East Weiss-
port, and since then has succeeded in building
up a lucrative trade. He is a first-class mechanic,
thoroughly understands his business in all its
departments, and is the owner of the property
on which is located his large shop and residence,
both of which buildings he erected in 1876. He
is a representative member of the Junior Order
of United American IMechanics, in which organ-
ization he has filled all oiifices.

Mr. Schwab was twice married. His first
marriage was to ]\Iiss Elena Smith, who bore him
one daughter, Sarah, now the wife of William
Stecker. Mrs. Schwab died in 1890. His sec-
ond marriage, which occurred in 1892, was to
]\Iiss Aquilla Smoyer. Air. Schwab is a member
and deacon of the Evangelical church of East
Weissport, in which body his wife also holds
membership.

DAMD N. REHR, a fiorist, nurseryman and
horticulturist, conducting business in the borough
of Lehighton, was born in Berks county, Pennsyl-
vania, and in the paternal line is of German de-
scent. His father, L'rias Rehr, was born in Berks
county, and became a forgeman recognized as an
expert workman in the field of his chosen labor.
He followed that pursuit for a number of years,
and also became extensively engaged in farming,
owning two valuable tracts of land, each contain-
ing eighty acres. Of one of these, situated in
Mahoning township, Carbon county, he retained
possession up to the time of his death, and con-
tinued in its active operation. His landed pos-
sessions were the visible evidence of his life of



thrift and industry, he having made investment
in property with the capital he had gained from
his labor at the forge. He married Miss Susan
Pugh, who was of Welch lineage. Their family
nuinbered nine children, eight of whom reached
years of maturity, while five are yet living, as
follows: William F., David N., Mary C, and
Emma and Susan, twins.

David N. Rehr acquired his education in the
schools of Berks county and of Northampton
county. He is conversant with both the German
and English languages and is a man who has
received good practical training fitting him fcr
the duties and responsibilities of a business career.
In early life he began learning the carpenter's
trade, which he thoroughly mastered, becoming
recognized as an excellent craftsman. He worked
as a journeyman in various places, and not only
progressed in carpentering, but also gained the
broader knowledge that comes through travel
and through contact with the world. He spent
altogether a quarter of a century at the bench.
For a short period he resided in Monroe county,
Pennsylvania, thence removed to Northampton
county, and eventually came to Carbon county,
settling in Lehighton in 1868. Here he has since
made his home. On retiring from the field of
labor which he entered in farly manhood, he be-
gan devoting his attention to the nursery business,
in which he has continued for seventeen years.
He is also a florist, and -in 1898 became engaged
in horticultural pursuits. He has an excellent
plant heated by a hot water system, and in addi-
tion to his dwelling and his greenhouses he owns
three lots which are used in connection with his
extensive business. He keeps a large and varied
stock of plants and flowers, and conducts an en-
terprise that has constantly grown in volume and
importance until his trade is now ven,' extensive.
He Handles a large amount of fruit trees of every
variety adapted to the soil and climate of the
temperate zone, and in 1903 shipped two and a
half tons of trees. He has established an ex-
cellent reputation for reliability in his line, and be-
cause of the' high grade of stock which he carries,
as well as his honorable business methods, he has
secured a patronage which is constantly growing,



396



HISTORIC HOMES AND INSTITUTIONS.



and has already made his business very profitable.



Online LibraryJohn W. (John Woolf) JordanHistoric homes and institutions and genealogical and personal memoirs of the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania (Volume v.1) → online text (page 70 of 92)