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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nary education in the public schools of his native
town, and this was supplemented by attendance
at the Hummelstown high school, from which
he was graduated, after which he went to Phila-



delphia, attended the Philadelphia College of
Pharmacy, and was graduated therefrom. He
then located in Newark, New Jersey, and estab-
lished a pharmacy under the firm name of Hall
& Shoemaker, which was conducted successfully
for a period of one year. He then changed his
place of residence to the city of Philadelphia, as-
sumed the charge of a drug store located at the
corner of Broad and Girard avenues, and after
serving in that capacity for one year removed to
Allentown in 1887 and purchased the drug busi-
ness of Dr. E. G. Martin. During these past
seventeen years the business has increased won-
derfully both in volume and importance, and he
is now the proprietor of an establishment which
is well equipped with a full line of selected drugs
and other articles pertaining to that line of busi-
ness. In addition to this enterprise he operates
a large stone cutting yard, and is a general con-
tractor in buildings and bridges, also furnishing
cut stone for the same. He is a Democrat in his
political affiliations. He is a member of the In-
dependent Order of Odd Fellows, Improved
Order of Red Men, Knights of the Golden Eagle,,
an active member of the Good Will Fire Com-
pany, the Livingston Club, and is secretary of the
building committee of Christ Evangelical church.
Mr. Shoemaker married Luella J. Weikel,
only child of Alfred and Mary (Culver) Weikel,
the former named being a son of Peter and Miss
(Gruber) Weikel, and the latter a daughter of
Samuel Culver. Three children were bom of
this union : Alfred W., Paul Culver, and Loraine
Mary Shoemaker.

A. P. BALLIET was born in North White
Hall township, Lehigh county, Pennsylvania, De-
cember 12, 1848. He attended the common
schools of the township until 1864, when he en-
tered his father's store as clerk and bookkeeper.
In January, 1873, he accepted a position as cash-
ier with the Lehigh Valley Iron Company ; after-
wards was assistant superintendent of that com-
jiany until the company went into liquidation in
1879. After settling up the aiTairs of the old
company he assisted in the organization of the
Ciiplay Iron Company, Limited, in i87() and



GENEALOGICAL AND PERSONAL MEMOIRS.



453



1880. Then for a few years he assisted bookkeep-
ers and merchants in straightening their ac-
counts. In 1882 he took up the wholesale coal
business in which he is still engaged. Besides,
during this time he was engaged in the real es-
tate and mercantile business, having an interest
in a retail business at Ironton, and one at Cop-
lay. He is also interested in the building of
bitulithic roads known as Warren Brothers'
bituminous macadam. He built Lehigh street
at Allentown with that material in 1903.

He has served three years as a member of the
school board in Coplay, and about twenty years in
the town councils of the borough of Coplay. He
was also elected a justice of the peace, but
soon resigned. He also served nearly twenty-
seven years on the Republican count}' commit-
tee and claims to be the oldest member in service
of that committee. He had been delegate twice
to the state convention and numerous times a del-
egate to the county conventions of his party. He
has also been a member of congressional confer-
ences between Berks and Lehigh and Lehigh and
Northampton counties : also served as a sub-com-
mittee to revise the rules of his party on two
occasions and has been chairman of county
conventions and county meetings of his party.
He is a member of and one of the organizers of
the Coplay Fire Company, whose first president
he was. He has held minor offices in the Re-
formed church, of which he is a member, and a
member of the Odd Fellows, the Patriotic Sons
of America, and the Knights of Malta.

LEWIS LE\''AN RONEY, who as a mem-
ber of the firm of Roney & Berger stands at the
head of the oldest shoe manufacturing establish-
ment of Allentown, it being now one of the lead-
ing productive industries of the city, is of Scotch-
Irish lineage, although the ancestral connection
of the family with Pennsylvania covers several
generations. His grandfather, Daniel Roney,
was a farmer of Bucks county, Pennsylvania, and
married Rebecca Abeason. Of the seven chil-
dren born unto them. James Roney, father of
Lewis L. Roney. was the fourth in order of birth.

James Roney was born in Newtown, Bucks



county, Pennsylvania, February 15, 1808, and his
boyhood days were spent upon his father's farm,
his time divided between the work of the fields
and the acquirement of an education. He after-
ward learned the trade of shoemaking in Trenton,
New Jersey, where he spent two years, and about
the time he attained his majority he went to South
America, settling at Caracas, Venezuela, where
he had charge of a copper mine. He afterward
nade his way to the copper mines of Arizona,
where for six months he superintended a smelting
l^lant. On the expiration of that period he re-
turned to Pennsylvania, and at later dates worked
at Trenton, New Jersey: Wilmington, Delaware;
and Pottsville, Minersville, Beaver Meadow and
Alillerstown (now jMacungie), Pennsylvania.
His energies were directed to the manufacture
of boots and shoes for those employed in the coal
regions, and in April, 1843, he came to Allen-
town, where he worked at the bench for a brief
period. Later he began the manufacture of boots
and shoes — the first representative of the busi-
ness in this borough, and the founder of what
has developed into one of its leadings industries.
From the southeast corner of Ninth and Hamil-
ton streets, his first location, he removed
to Hall and Hamilton streets, where he
was associated for a year with Colonel
T. H. Good, but during the greater part
of the time he was sole proprietor of the en-
terprise. He was the first man to purchase a sew-
ing machine for use in the factory, and this he
operated by hand. He developed his business
along modern lines, keeping in touch with the
progress made in shoe manufacture, and his fac-
tory became one of the profitable industrial con-
cerns of the city. About thirty-five years ago he
retired from the business with a comfortable com-
petence, but continued to make his home in Al-
lentown until his death, which occurred in Janu-
ary, 1899. Had he lived a month longer he would
have reached the ninety-first milestone on life's
journey.

Not onlv through his business interests did
Mr. Roney contribute to the development of Al-
lentown, but in many other ways he was a valued
factor in the progress and improvement of the



454



HISTORIC HOMES AND INSTITUTIONS.



city, his labors thus proving of decided benefit to
his fellow townsmen. At the time of his demise
he was the oldest member of the Presbyterian
church of Allentown, and he took a most active
part in its work and in promoting its influence.
His early political support was given the Democ-
racy, and he voted for Martin Van Buren for the
presidency. Later, however, he became a Whig,
and subsequently joined the ranks of the Repub-
lican party on its organization. In 1862 he was
elected a member of the town council, and when
re-elected was chosen president of that body.
During that time he was also acting burgess in
place of William H. Hoffman, while the latter, as
a member of the army, was assisting in the re-
pelling of Lee's invasion into the state. Mr.
Roney was also a member of the school board for
one term, and no movement or measure which
had for its object the betterment of material, so-
cial, intellectual or moral conditions of the city
sought his aid and co-operation in vain. He was
one of the early members of the Independent Or-
der of Odd Fellows. In 1840 he was admitted
by card from Girard Lodge, of Pottsville, Penn-
sylvania, to Beaver Meadow Lodge, I. O. O. F.,
but in 1843 withdrew from the latter and was
never afterward actively affiliated with the so-
ciety. In every relation of life he was upright
and honorable, and in the discharge of every duty
conscientious, and he left to his family the price-
less heritage of an untarnished name.

James Roney was married to Miss Try-
phena Levan, a daughter of Daniel Levan, of
Minersville, Pennsylvania, and who died in 1875.
Six of their children are yet living. One son,
Charles H. Roney, one of the three brothers who
served in the Civil war, was killed by guerrillas
while on picket duty. He was a member of the
Fifty-fourth Pennsylvania Infantry. He had
done twenty-four hours of picket duty some three
miles from camp, and upon his return he found
the comrade whose turn it was to relieve him, ill,
and unable to leave his tent. Charles Roney vol-
unteered to go in his place and was stationed to
guard a railroad. During the night a red light
appeared on the track to stop an approaching



train. The bearer of this was challenged, and
at the same time a volley of musketry was fired
in that direction, and Charles Roney fell, shot in
four places. He managed, however, to crawl to
a house some distance away, but only survived
for eleven hours. His valuables, which he had
hidden when on his way to the house, were after-
ward found and returned to his family, and his
body was also sent back home. The living mem-
bers of the family of Mr. and Mrs. James Roney
are William ; Mary ; James R., who married
Amanda Balliet ; S. Kate, the widow of Rev.
John Urich and the mother of one child, Try-
phena ; Elizabeth ; and Lewis L.-
Lewis L. Roney acquired his education in the
public schools of Allentown, and then entered the
employ of his brother, William Roney, to learn
the shoe business in the factory which had been
established by their father. He remained with
him for about a year, and then went to Hazleton,
Pennsylvania, where he was employed by A.
Pardee, one of the pioneer shoe manufacturers
of this state. When another year had passed
Lewis Roney returned to his brother's employ,
going upon the road as a traveling salesman, and
acting in that capacity for about five years, when
he became proprietor of the factory, which he
has since conducted. On his father's retirement
he was succeeded by his eldest son, William, who
conducted the business under the firm style of
William A. Roney & Company, the silent partner
being Erastus D. Hawk. Later this connection
was discontinued, and Paul Levan was admitted
to a partnership under the firm style of Roney
& Levan. Afterward William Roney was alone
in business until he was succeeded by Lewis L.
Roney. In April, 1880, Lewis L. Roney admitted
Charles E. Berger and the present firm of Roney
& Berger was thus formed. They manufacture
a line of misses' and children's shoes, and sell
direct to the retail trade. They employ about
eighty operatives in their factory throughout the
entire year, and the average output is about one
thousand pairs of shoes per day. The safe, con-
servative policy inaugurated by the founder of
the business has alwavs been maintained, and the



GENEALOGICAL AND PERSONAL MEMOIRS.



455



house throughout the long period of its existence
has sustained an unassailable reputation for
promptness and reliability.

Mr. Roney is prominent in Masonry, is a
past master of his local lodge, and a member of
Lulu Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Philadel-
phia. He belongs to the St. Leger and the Liv-
ingston Clubs, of Allentown, holds membership
in the Presbyterian church, and by his ballot up-
holds the principles of the Republican party.

ALLAN PETER LEITH. Among the resi-
dents of Leithsville, Northampton county, no
name is better known or more respected than
that of Allan Peter Leith. The family to which
he belongs was in the eighteenth century resi-
dent in New Jersey, and it was from New Bruns-
wick in that state, that Peter Leith, who was
then a boy, came with his mother to Northamp-
ton county, Pennsylvania. The name was then
spelled Leyd, but appears not long after this re-
moval clothed in its present orthography. Peter
Leith (or Leyd) settled with his mother in what
is now Leithsville, a name no doubt given to the
place in honor of this ancestor, who would seem
from this fact to have been a man of substance
and influence. He married a daughter of Sam-
uel Weaver, a member of one of the old families
of the county.

Samuel Leith, son of Peter Leith, was born
in 1816 in Leithsville, and obtained his education
in the common schools of the township. He was
a farmer all his life and a worthy citizen. Al-
though interested in public affairs and ever ready
to participate in any movement which in his judg-
ment had a tendency to benefit the community,
he was not in any sense of the word a politician,
and could never be induced to become an office-
holder. His political principles were those ad-
vanced and upheld by the Republican party. He
was a member of the Reformed church. He mar-
ried Mary Ann, daughter of John O. Pearson.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Leith occupied a high place
in the regard of their friends and neighbors.

Allan Peter Leith, son of Samuel and Mary
Ann (Pearson) Leith, was born in 1842, in
Leithsville, where he received his education in



the common schools. In early boyhood he began
to assist in the labors of the farm, and from that
period until the present time has been constantly
engaged in agricultural pursuits. In this field
of endeavor his industry, enterprise and wide
range of information, joined to a fund of prac-
tical experience and undisputed integrity of char-
acter, have insured the best and most satisfac-
tory results. In addition to the care of his farm
Mr. Leith has conducted for a long time a gen-
eral store, and as a business man has been very suc-
cessful. He possesses the full confidence of his
neighbors, who place great reliance upon his
judgment in matters relating to the public wel-
fare, and in 1891 elected him justice of the peace,
an office which he filled to the satisfaction of all
concerned until 1898. He belonged formerly to
the Masonic order, and also to the I. O. O. F.,
but has allowed his membership in both organi-
zations to lapse. While neither a member of any
church, nor connected with any philanthropic so-
cieties, Mr. Leith is essentially a true friend, a
kind neighbor and a good citizen, earnestly seek-
ing by every means in his power to promote the
best interests of those with whom he is in any
way associated and to advance the wellbeing of
the community.

A. D. SHIMER, an esteemed and influential
citizen of Bethlehem, Northampton county, Penn-
sylvania, is a son of Conrad and Catherine
fOuer) Shimer, and a worthy representative of
the old and honored Shimer family whose mem-
bers located in Lehigh and Northampton coun-
ties about the year 1742, were active and prom-
inent factors in the settlement of those sections
of the state, and were largely instrumental in their
growth and prosperity.

Conrad Shimer, father of A. D. Shimer, was
born in Northampton county, Pennsylvania, in
1797. He was a son of Samuel Shimer, who in
turn was a son of Jacob Shimer, but there is no
authentic information obtainable about either of
the two latter named. In 1812 Conrad Shimer
was united in marriage to Catherine Quer, and
the issue of this union was three children — Sam-
uel C, born in 1822, married Henrietta Young,



456



HISTORIC HOMES AND INSTITUTIONS.



and they are the parents of one child, Milton C.
Shimer: Diana, born in 1828, died in 1831 ; and
A. D. Shimer.

A. D. Shimer was born in Northampton
county, Pennsylvania, November 30, 1830, and
his educational advantages were obtained in the
public schools of Hanover township, Northamp-
ton county. His tastes and inclinations led him to
adopt agricultural pursuits as his vocation in life,
and from the time he laid aside his school books
until the date of his marriage he assisted his fa-
ther with the labor and management of the old
homestead.

Mr. Shimer married Alaria Reigle, daughter
of John and Mary ( Kaufifman ) Reigle, who were
among the pioneer settlers of Northampton
county, Pennsylvania, locating in that vicinity
between the years 1742 and 1743. Two children
were born to Mr. and Mrs. Shimer: i. Clayton
L., who married Caroline L. Levis, a daughter
of Aaron Levis, of Lehigh county, Pennsylvania,
and the issue of this union was six children —
Levis, Emily, Ruth, Conrad, Laura, and Henry
Shimer. 2. Ella, wife of Milton Person, of Le-
high county, Pennsylvania. Mr. Shimer is an
upright, conscientious and public-spirited man,
and has faithfully performed the duties of hus-
band, father and citizen.

WILLIAM EARNEST BALL. Among the
younger men of Hellertown, Pennsylvania, who
are at the same time enterprising business men
and energetic citizens, William Earnest Ball
easily holds a foremost place. His grandfather,
Aaron Ball, settled in Richland, Pennsylvania,
and married a Miss Foulke, a direct descendant
of William and Eleanor Foulke, who were among
the early settlers of the Province of Penn, having
about the year 1690 made their home at Gwynedd,
Montgomery county.

Aaron and (Foulke) Ball, were the

parents of a son, William, who married Sarah
Shaw, of Richland, Pennsylvania. Their son
Ellwood received a liberal education and became
a druggist, being fully equipped by a thorough
course of training for that occupation. He estab-
lished at Hellertown a business which, being



conducted on the sure basis of scientific knowl-
edge, guided and controlled by forethought and
prudence, is still in active operation. In politics
Mr. Ball was a Republican. His church connec-
tions were with the Moravians. He married,
April 4, 1871, in Philadelphia, Sally, daughter of
John and Eliza Todd, of Salem, New Jersey.
The former was a native of Wales, whence he
emigrated to the L'nited States, making his home
first in Philadelphia. Mr. and Mrs. Ball were
the parents of a son, William Earnest, mentioned
at length hereinafter. The death of Mr. Ball re-
moved from the community in which he had
so long resided a thoroughly useful and hon-
orable man, admirable in all the relations of life.
William Earnest Ball, son of Ellwood and
Sally (Todd) Ball, was born April 15, 1874, in
Hellertown, and received his education in the
public schools of his birthplace. Deciding, when
the time came for him to make his choice of an
occupation, to adopt as his life work, the busi-
ness in which his father had been so successful,
he entered the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy,
from which he graduated in 1895. and imme-
diately thereafter engaged in the drug business
in Philadelphia. His father, until his death, con-
ducted the business which he had years before
established in Hellertown, and which was con-
sequently left at his decease without a proprietor.
Mr. Ball thereupon returned to Hellertown and
took charge of the business, which he has since
conducted with the most gratifying results, pos-
sessing, in addition to business ability, the scien-
tific tastes necessary to insure success in his call-
ing, and the mental discipline and discretion in-
dispensable to one holding so responsible a posi-
tion. While bestowing untiring attention on his
duties as a druggist, Mr. Ball does not allow his
sphere of thought and action to be bounded by
the limitations of his profession, but takes an
active interest in township afifairs. Although he
has never yet held any public office, the influence
of his zeal and enterprise in all matters pertain-
ing to the reform of abuses and the advance-
ment of the cause of right is felt and acknowl-
edged. His political affiliations are with the Re-
publicans. In the social life of the community



GENEALOGICAL AND PERSONAL MEMOIRS.



457



JMr. Ball is no less deepl}- interested, and is
counted an important factor. Since 1898 he has
been connected with the jMasonic order, having
in that year been initiated, passed and raised in
Hellertown Lodge, No. 563, F. and A. M. He
has held the offices of junior and senior warden,
and is now master of the lodge. He also belongs
to Zinzinborg Chapter, R. A. J\I., Allen Com-
mandery, K. T., Rajah Temple, Mystic Shrine,
and Saucana Lodge, I. O. O. F., Hellertown.
In this last named organization he holds the of-
fice of past noble grand. His religious connec-
tions are with the Society of Friends, at the meet-
ings of which he is an attendant. Mr. Ball is re-
garded as a man who has already accomplished
much, but of whom still greater achievements are
expected in the future.

WEISS. The Weiss family, of German ori-
gin, was founded in America probably some time
before the middle of the eighteenth century. The
original emigrant settled in Philadelphia, and was
a prominent physician there in colonial days.
He became an ardent supporter of the American
cause in the war of the Revolution.

His son. Colonel Jacob Weiss, was born in
Philadelphia in 1751, where he was educated for
a surveyor. He entered the Continental army in
the first command of Philadelphia volunteers,
tmder Captain Cadwalader. He served with dis-
tinction in the struggle for American independ-
ence and, at the earnest solicitation of General
Mifflin, then acting as quartermaster-general to
whom he had served an apprenticeship in the mer-
cantile line, and who knew him to be a trusty
and efficient accountant, was appointed deputj
quartermaster-general, serving first under Gen-
eral Alifflin, and afterward under General Greene,
in which position he remained until General
Greene took command of the southern army.
Throughout that perilous period he was almost
constantlv attached to and followed the various
and unexpected movements of the main army,
which proved a very harassing and arduous ser-
vice. By the advice of General Greene, who held
him in great affection, he accepted the appoint-
ment of assistant deputy quartermaster-general



at Easton, for the county of Northampton, in the
autumn of 1780, and continued to act in that ca-
pacity until the close of the war. In 1785, fol-
lowing the close of the war, he settled upon a
tract of land which had been purchased from the
Moravians, on the Lehigh river, north of the
Blue mountains. He was a scientist and geolo-
gist, and the utilization of anthracite coal as a
fuel is due to him. In 1791 anthracite coal was
discovered, and Colonel Jacob Weiss took the
first specimens of that fuel to Philadelphia, sub-
mitting it for inspection. The Lehigh river, with
its unimproved condition and the mountainous
character of the country between the coal beds
and the distant market, seemed to present insur-
mountable obstacles to any attempt to place the
coal before the public. Hardly anything larger
than a canoe could be made to float upon the
river because of its rocky bed and swift current.
Colonel Weiss, notwithstanding the inauspicious
outlook, determined that the coal should at least
be introduced to convince the public of its value,
and ox-teams were therefore brought into requi-
sition and several loads were hauled across the
mountains to Mahoning, and thence to Fort Al-
len. Colonel \\'eiss would fill his saddle bags
with the despised substance, and ride out among
the blacksmiths in the country and earnestly
solicit them to give the coal a trial. A few ac-
cepted the proffered gift and used it with par-
tial success, while others threw it aside as soon
as the Colonel was out of sight, with the remark
that he must be crazy, but time proved the cor-
rectness of his judgment as to the value of the
discovery.

Colonel Weiss was a man of liberal education,
strong mind and remarkable memory, and pos-
sessed a most generous and kindly disposition.
He had the misfortune to be deprived of his eye-
sight about twenty years before his death, and he
also became extremely deaf, but he bore his af-
fliction with the quiet resignation which always
marks the strong, self-reliant character. He died
at Weissport. January 9, 1839, '" ^^e eighty-
ninth year of his age, and was buried in the
graveyard on the hill. He had married Eliza-
beth Robinson, and their children numbered four:



458



HISTORIC HOMES AND INSTITUTIONS.



Francis, born in Philadelphia, March 7, 1773,
died March 5, 1845 ; Rebecca, born April 9, 1774,
was married to William Hartfield and died in
Bethlehem, February 14, 1845 ' Jacob, born Au-
gust 18, 1775 ; and Thomas, born in Philadelphia,
August 29, 1776, and died in Weissport, April
23, 1847.

Thomas Weiss spent his early years in Naza-
reth and Easton. After attending school at the



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 81 of 92)