Morton L. (Morton Luther) Montgomery.

Historical and biographical annals of Berks County, Pennsylvania, embracing a concise history of the county and a genealogical and biographical record of representative families, comp. by Morton L. Montgomery .. online

. (page 101 of 227)
Online LibraryMorton L. (Morton Luther) MontgomeryHistorical and biographical annals of Berks County, Pennsylvania, embracing a concise history of the county and a genealogical and biographical record of representative families, comp. by Morton L. Montgomery .. → online text (page 101 of 227)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

To scorning bigots near,
But plucked a flower that bloomed so fair

It made the waste more drear.

One flower that had escaped the breath

That swept the withered land;
God's symbol of a life from death

He held it in his hand.
"If ye have power," he spake, "this hour

With all the fires ye light
To burn my body, or this flower.

Then have ye done aright."

His eyes upraised saw not the glare

Of torch on hooting crowd.
But far above the fagots' flare

A rift within the cloud —
A promise sent from God on high

That hate should surely fail;
No wealth could then His power defy

Nor in the end prevail.

We seek not, Lord, to know the spell

That wrought Thy will divine,
We know Thou doest all things well;

The miracle was Thine
To cause the bonds to fall, to take

From death all trace of pain
And mark of fire, and then to make

The flower to bloom again.

The fagots' blaze like noontide hours

Gave vigor to truth's germ.
And tears but seemed the summer showers

, To make its root more firm.
Upon the Inn's dark ebbing tide

The martyr's corse was thrown,
A witness of his creed he died,

A faith his children own.

Upon those waves the good ships bore

Truth's fruitage to the sea
Whose surges broke upon this shore

Of peace and liberty.
And Thou, O, God ! whose hallowed hand

Upheld the troubled sea
Whereon our sires sailed to this land.

We life our prayers to Thee —

To ask that for these kinsfolk here

Thou wilt extend Thy care
As when Thou mad'st the rift appear

Above the fagots' flare ;
We thank Thee for Thy blessings given

To all this gathered throng.
And sing Thy praises unto Heaven

In one triumphant "song.

REV. ZENAS H. GABLE, a prominent clergyman of the
Lutheran Church, who came to Reading Aug. 17, 1873,
having accepted a call to six different congregations, is
one of the most highly esteemed and beloved ministers
of his denomination in this section of the State. The
Rev. Mr. Gable was born^ Aug. 13, 1842, in Northampton
county, Pa., son of Daniel and Elizalseth (Livingood)
Gable, and grandson of Jacob and Elizabeth (Freese)

Gable. The Gable family originated in Germany, and its
founder in America was Peter Gable, who with his wife
Christiana came to Bucks county in 1703.

The children of Jacob and EHzabeth (Freese) Gable
were : Daniel, Mary, Sophia, Aaron, Tobias and Lucy A.
Jacob Gable died .March 8, 1842, aged sixty-three years,
and his wife F-eb. 24, 1856, aged seventy-eight years.

Daniel Gable was born in Bucks county. Pa., Sept._ 18,
1805, and was a farmer and carpenter, which occupations
he followed all of his active period, dying Aug. 26, 1886,
aged eighty-one years. His wife passed away July 1, 1897,
when eighty-seven years old. Their children were : Edwin,
Charles and James, deceased; Sally A.; Thomas M., and
Zenas H.

Zenas H. Gable was educated in the common schools and
at Gettysburg (Pa.) College, from which he was graduated
in 1865, subsequently attending the Mt. Airy Seminary,
and graduating in Theology in 1868. He was ordained
June 10, 1868, his first charge being at Scenery Hill, where
he was located from 1868 to 1873. He came to Reading
Aug. 17, 1873, and took charge of the following congre-
gations, which he hafe faithfully served to the present time :
St. John's, Gibraltar; St. Mark's, of Birdsboro; St. James,
of Geigertown; Allegheny, of Alleghenyville;' Wyomissing,
of Gouglersville ; and Robeson, of Plowville. New
churches have been built in each of his parishes during his
pastorate. He also organized a congregation at Shilling-
ton and a church was built in 1876. He celebrated his
quarto-centennial in 1898, in each of his churches. The
Rev. Mr. Gable is a man whose earnestness and piety have
made him a power in the community. Not only is he a
clear and convincing preacher and spiritual teacher, but
he is also an able administrator, as the material prosperity
of his congregations shows.

Rev. Mr. Gable was married Dec. 24, 1868, to Thusnelda,
daughter of Rev. Jacob Vogelbach, of Philadelphia, and
six children blessed this union, as follows : Matilda
E. ; Rev. Charles Jacob ; Sue A. ; Rev. Luther D. ; -Edmund
J., a druggist; and Dr. Frank J., who attended Jef-
ferson Medical College, of Philadelphia, graduating in the
class of 1906. Mrs. Gable died April 2, 1903. In political
matters Rev.. Mr. Gable is independent, voting rather for
the man than the party.

DENGLER. In the year 1737 Jacob Dengler emigrated
to America, coming from Germany, probably from Witten-
berg.' His brother Andreas, who soon followed, died in
America unmarried. Jacob Dengler settled near Amity-
ville, and there built a forge and manufactured various
iron implements. His remains are buried at the Swamp

Henry Dengler, the progenitor of the Denglers in Oley
township, was a grandson of Jacob, and was born Oct. 3,
1793, in Amity township. He married Sarah Guldin, a
lineal descendant of the Rev. Samuel Guldin, who emi-
grated to this conutry in 1710, and was the first Reformed
minister in Pennsylvania. Henry Dengler moved from
Amity to Friedensburg, now Oley, in 1829, and embarked
in a mercantile business, in which he continued until near
the close of 'his life. He was very active .in public affairs,
and took a deep interest in church matters, being one of
the chief promoters of the building of the First Reformed
church in 1830, donating the land and contributing liberally
otherwise. For many years he served as an officer of the
Reformed Church. His death occurred March 19, _ 1860,
when he was sixty-seven years, five months and sixteen
days old. His wife Sarah died Oct. 30, 1883, aged seventy-
six years, seven months and twenty-five days. Their chil-
dren were: Henry; Johij G. ; James G. ; Harriet m. John C.
Nipe, and lives in Philadelphia; George lives in Clarion
county; Washington, who enlisted at the age of eighteen,
served for two years in the Civil war, was captured July
24, 1863, and was kept a prisoner in Richmond until March
33, 1864, when he was taken to Andersonville, Ga., and
there he died of starvation May 6, 1864 ; Jacob died in
February, 1905, aged seventy-one years, leaving a family as
follows, Mrs. Charles Leithauser, Elmer, Howard, Mrs.
Reily, William, and Mrs. Worths A. Dries, all living.



The Rev. James G. Dengler has been in the ministry of
the Reformed Church since June, 1874. He is a graduate
of Franklin & Marshall College at Lancaster, and of the
Theological Seminary located there. For nearly a quarter
of a century he served one charge in Sellersville, Bucks
Co., Pa. Dr. Dengler has been a frequent contributor to
various publications, both religious and secular,- and is a
scholarly man of marked attainments and as a religious
leader he has few equals in devoted piety and earnestness
of both life and teachings.

John G. Dengler, the revered veteran school teacher of
Berks county, is a resident of Friedensburg, Oley township,
where he was born Oct. 29, 1837. His education was ob-
tained in the Oley Academy under Prof. Jacob H. Major,
and the Freeland Seminary under Prof. Hunsicker. He
was licensed to teach in public schools under the first
county superintendent of Berks county, Rev. William A.
Good,' in 18,57, and taught the first term in Oley township,
at School-house No. 1. Prof. Dengler has since been
teaching every consecutive school term (except during his
army service), and also has conducted select schools each
spring term. He has instructed thousands of boys and girls
qf Berks county, forming their characters through his
excellent example, as he shaped their minds with his wise
precepts, and he is held in highest respect by the entire
county. He is now teaching the grandchildren of his first
pupils. Prof. Dengler possesses a kind and benevolent
disposition which is shown in his intelligent face, and he
is loved for his many excellent traits and his lofty ideals of
life. During the many years that he has labored in Berks
county he has witnessed many changes, especially in the
public school system. His first salary was twenty-four
dollars a month, of twenty-two days. Not only has he
instructed the children placed under him the text of their
books, but he has given them the benefit of his wide ex-
perience, his varied reading and exhaustive studies, and
has never failed to hold up the highest possible stand-
ards before their young eyes.

On April 18, 1861, Mr. Dengler was filled with patriotism
and enlisted in Company C, 7th Pa, V. I., at Harrisburg,
and was in active service at Martinsburg, Va. His first
enlistment was for but three months, but on Oct. 30, 1861,
he re-enlisted at Reading, Capt. James McKnight command-
ing, for three years, in Battery M, U. S. A., and saw some
very hard service, passing through the entire Peninsular
campaign, and participating in the battles of the Wilder-
ness. When he was mustered out Oct. 30, 1864, at Staten
Island, N. Y., he was in the Sixth Army Corps.

Having thus devoted over three years of his life to
his country, Prof. Dengler came back to Reading, where
he arrived after midnight on Oct. 31, 3864, but so anxious
was he to see his dear ones that he walked to Friedensburg,
a distance of ten miles. The following day he engaged to
teach the school he had left three and one-half years be-
fore at the call of duty, and he accepted the position at
the earnest solicitation of his friends, who were anxious
to secure his distinguished services. Prof. Dengler has
also been active in church work ever since young manhood,
and is a member of Friedens Reformed Church, of which
he has been deacon, elder and trustee. He is a trustee
of the Friedens cemetery company ; a trustee of the Oley
Academy that was founded in 18.57, and has held this
ofiice- since 1875. Since his youth Prof. Dengler has been
a teacher in the Sunday-school, and is very efficient. He is
a member of Minnehaha Lodge No. 154, K. of P., at Oley,
also O. U. A. M. Council, No. 23, of the same place. In
addition to all his other duties Prof. Dengler is the
correspondent of all the Reading daily papers at Friedens-

Prof. Dengler has been twice married. His first wife,
to whom he was married in January, 1860, was Catherine
Schlotman, daughter of John and Lydia (Shade) Schlot-
man. She was born in Oley in 1839, and died May 5, 1875,
aged thirty-five years, the mother of children as follows :
Annie m. Harvey Wisner. deceased, has four children, and
lives at Philadelphia; Millie m. Benjamin Suavely, de-
ceased, and lives at Friedensburg; Lilla, deceased, m. Abra-

ham Bieber, of Reading; Harvey, an enterprising life
insurance man of Allentown, and superintendent of the
Allentown district of the Baltimore Mutual Life Insurance
Company, is married, but has no children ; and Calvin and
Clara died in infancy. In 1878 Prof. Dengler m. (second)
Kate L. (Ritter) Yoder, widow of Thomas Yoder, and
they had three children : William, who has a R. F. D.
mail route at Oley, is married and his children are, Blanche,
Harvey, John and Ella ; John was drowned when fourteen ;
Sallie is a school teacher in Oley and has been teaching
since 1906.

It is only fitting to close this too brief biography of so
distinguished an educator by an account of a .delightful
ceremony at the teachers' institute in 1907, held at Read-
ing. Prof. Dengler in recognition of his long and faithful
services as a public instructor was presented a silver
loving cup, fifty dollars in gold, and seventy carnations,
the last named representing the number of years he had
lived, and celebrating his birthday. Those having the
matter in charge very fittingly selected his birthday for
the presentation day, and the speech which accompanied
the gifts as well as his reply will never be forgotten
by those present. Many men sacrificed much for their
country. There are thousands of teachers in the country
today, but there are few who have been both instructor
and soldier in one as has Prof. Dengler. When he served
upon the battlefield he was an excellent soldier. After
his military life was over, he came home and once more
entering the schoolroom resumed his peaceful vocation,
only giving a little more of himself to his beloved pupils,
for he had learned much in those three and one-half years
spent on bloody battlefields and before besieged cities. His
war experience gave him a breadth of vision, a fairness
in dealing with others, and has enabled him better to
fit his pupils for the great battle of life where each one
must keep in the ranks and not fly at the first sound of
war. In every relation of life Prof. Dengler has proved
himself ready and willing to bear his part, and in his
wisdom he realizes that he has reached the very best part
of his wonderfully useful life, where he can enjoy the
fruits of his labors and rest happy in the confidence and
love of those whom he has so benefited.

I. A. DEISHER, a well-known business man of Read-
ing, Pa., who is engaged in the jewelry business at No.
514 Penn street, Reading, was born in Hamburg. Pa.,
Aug. 13, 1866, son of Henry and Valarya (Fink) Deisher.

David Deisher, grandfather of I. A., was a mill owner
and farmer, following these occupations throughout a
long and useful life in Kutztown and later at Hamburg.
He was a very energetic business man and accumulated
a considerable fortune, retiring shortly prior to his death.
He and his wife were the parents of a large family of
children, several of whom died young, those who lived
to maturity being: Gereon, William, Henry and Catherine
(married William D, Shomo). The family were members
of the Lutheran Church, and in politics j\lr. Deisher was a
Democrat, holding for some years the office of director
of the poor. His son, Henry Deisher, received a common
school education, and later supplemented this with a course
at a seminary at Collegeville, after leaving which he
worked on the home farm until reaching manhood, when
he^ purchased the old Lintz foundrv at Hamburg, operating
this for many years. He is now living retired with his
son. To i\Ir. Deisher and his wife, who died in 1888, were
born three children, two of whom died in infancy, I. A.
being the only survivor. Henrv Deisher is a Lutheran in
religious matters. In his political views he is a stanch

I. A Deisher was educated in the high school at Ham-
burg, Pa., and when a boy entered the drug store of .^dam
iiodenhorn, with whom he worked four years \t the
end of that time he apprenticed himself to the jeweler's
trade with W. W. Apple, with whom he served his time
going thence to Harrisburg, where he worked for six years
with Phihp Theilheimer. After the latter's death" INIr.
Deisher purchased his employer's interest in the business,
carrying it on for four years. In 1897 he came to Read-



irg, purchasing the Burkhart store at Nos. 424-436 Penn
street, and in April, 1908, he moved to the larger and
more centrally located store at No. 514 Penn street. He
handles a first-class line of jewelry, silverware, cut glass
and novelties, and makes a specialty of repairs, -especially
optical, being a skilled mechanic and optician. Mr.
Deisher is a graduate from several well-known institutions,
among them Bucklin's School of Optics, the Spencer J3p-
tical Institute, the McCormick Optical College and the
McCormick Neurological College, the first two colleges
located in New York, and the last two in Chicago. _ He
has been very successful in this branch of the business.
In 1895 Mr. Deisher married Miss Lizzie A. Diener, a
native of Topton, Berks county, and two children were
born to this union : Esther and Clarence. Mr. Deisher is
a member of the Elks, the Royal Arcanum and the Hep-
tasophs. In both religious and political views he is broad
and liberal, believing that every man should use his own
judgment in these matters.

SAMUEL L. KURTZ, M. D., is well known through
Berks county, both as a physician and surgeon of skill, and
as a survivor of the great Civil war. He was born Sept.
27, 1832, son of Samuel and Mary (Longackre) Kurtz.

Joseph Kurtz, paternal grandfather of the Doctor, was
born in Chester county. Pa. On Oct. 19, 1787, he married
Fannie Miller, and their children were : John, born Sept.
23, 1788; Abraham, Nov. 27, 1789; Joseph, Jan. 10, 1791;
Henry, July 10, 1792; Barbara, Aug. 5, 17S3; Leah, Sept.
19, 1794; Samuel, Nov. 12, 1795 ; Elizabeth, Nov. 25, 1796;
David, Jan. 80, 17yy; Isaac, h'iE. 22, 1799; Frances, May 4,
1800; Christian, Nov. 8, 1801; Jacob, Ott. 1, 1802; Daniel,
Jan. 22, 1804; Anna, March 20, 1805; Jacob, Oct. 25, 1806;
Susannah, May 25, 1808; Daniel (2), Aug. 1, 1809; and
Susannah (2), July 1, 1812. The family were members
of the Mennonite Church. Joseph Kurtz died March 18,

Samuel Kurtz, father of the Doctor, was born in Chester-
county, Nov. 12, 1795, and his education was obtained in
the common schools. Upon reaching his majority he turned
his attention to farming, a vocation which he followed for
many years in Pikeland township. In 1834 he removed
to Juniata county, where he operated a farm for six or
seven years at East Salem, and there he died April 23,
1883. His first wife, who was a daughter of Jacob Long-
ackre, died in the prime of life. She was the mother of:
Joseph, born Aug. 22, 1819; Jacob, born Aug. 1, 1822;
Annie, born Dec. 18, 1825, married William Cross ; Samuel
(1), born Oct. 24, 1829; Dr. Samuel L., born Sept. 27, 1832;
Mary, born March 14, 1836, married George D. Taylor.
This branch of the family were Methodists. After the
death of his first wife Mr. Kurtz married Mary Miller,
by whom one child was born, Fannie, who became the
wife of George D. Taylor, the father of Dr. Taylor, of
Reading. Samuel Kurtz's third wife was Mary Jacobs.
No children were born to the last marriage.

Samuel L. Kurtz was educated in the schools of Juniata
county, and in old Trappe Seminary, now Ursinus College.
Later he read medicine with Dr. Henry Geiger, of Mont-
gomery county, and in 1851 entered Jefferson Medical Col-
lege, Philadelphia, from which he was graduated in 1854.
His first field of practice was at Phoenixville, Pa., where
he remained two years, and then removed to Oakland Mills,
Juniata county, remaining there until the fall of 1861,
when he was appointed assistant surgeon of the Eleventh
Pennsylvania Reserve Corps. He continued to fill that
position until June, 1862, when he was promoted to sur-
geon of the 85th Pa. V. I., with which regiment he re-
mained until Nov. 22, 1864, when, at the expiration of the
terra of service of the regiment, he was honorably dis-
charged. He settled in Reading, locating at No. 340 South
Fifth street, and his present office is at No. 412 South
Fifth street.

The Doctor is a member of the American Medical Asso-
ciation ; of the Pennsylvania State Medical Society, of
which in 1891 he served as president; and of the Berks
County Medical Society, serving his second term as its
president. He is also a member of the Reading Medical

Association. He was one of the original members of the
board of trustees of the Reading Hospital, and has served
upon its staff since its organization. He is a member of
the board of health, and is examiner for a number of life
insurance companies. Fraternally he is connected with the
Masons, being a member of Phoenix Lodge, F. & A. M.,
and past master. He belongs to Keim Post, G. A. R., and
to the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the U. S.,
Commandery of Pennsylvania.

Dr^ Kuirtz married, in 1854, Miss Sarah Morgan, and
to thl_s union three children have been born : Dr. J. Ellis,
a graduate of Jefferson Medical College, is a physician
and surgeon at Reading; Georgeine married Nicholas H.
Muhlenberg; and Clarence M., alsoi a graduate of the Jef-
ferson Medical College of Philadelphia, practising at
Reading. Dr. Kurtz is a Republican in politics, and was
one of the Harrison electors in 1888. He is a vestryman
in St. Barnabas Episcopal Church.

GERHART. Benjamin Gerhart, the grandfather of
Peter William Gerhart, Jr., superintendent of the treat-
ment department of the "Grand View Sanatorium," and
his brother, George W. Gerhart, merchant and prominent
citizen of Robesonia, was a farmer of Lower Heidelberg
township. He married Catharine Seibert.

John Peter Gerhart, son of Benjamin, was formerly a
resident of Lower Heidelberg, near Brownsville, and for
the last thirty years of his life was a resident of Werners-
ville. His occupation was that of a grafter of trees and
gardener. He died in 1903, aged seventy-six years. He was
married to Caroline Werner, daughter of William and
Elizabeth (Lamm) Werner, and by her had twelve chil-
dren: Calvin E. m. Amelia Lambert; Frank P. m. Emma
Peiffer; Ellenora S. m. Alfred Webber, and after his de-
cease George F. Knorr; Anna M. m. Gustave Bien; Albert
B. m. Sue Reinhold; Agnes Priscilla m. Thomas Furry;
Peter W. ; George W. m. Anna Fidler ; Katharine Louisa ;
Elizabeth Wilhelmina m. Harry Parker; and two died

Peter William Gerhart, Jr., superintendent of the
treatment department of the "Grand View Sanatorium,"
a position he has filled for nearly twenty-five years, was
born in Lower Heidelberg, near Brownsville, on April 18,
1862. His mother dying when he was only eight years
old, he was placed on a farm, and continued there (except
for three years he spent at Reading), helping and going
to school, until he was sixteen years old. Then he went
to Cumberland county for the purpose of attending school
there and acquiring a knowledge of the English language
while assisting in farming and stock raising, and he re-
mained there for three years. He then returned to Wer-
nersville, but remained only six, months when he went to
Ohio and secured employment on a farm in the vicinity
of Lima. He continued on this farm for four years, at
the end of which time, his health failing, he found em-
ployment as a reporter on a local newspaper, filling this
position for three years. In 1886 he returned to Werners-
ville and secured a position as stable boss in the large
stables of the "Grand View Sanatorium," and he displayed
such intelligent interest in his work, and gave such satis-
faction to the proprietors, Drs. Wenrich & Deppen, that
after the short time of three months they promoted him
to the treatment department of the institution. Showing
great qualifications and ambition, he continued there until
the fall of 1888, when under their advice he took a regular
course of instruction in the Philadelphia Polyclinic and
College for Graduates in Medicine, for the purpose of learn-
ing massage and medical electricity. He graduated in June,
1889, and upon his return to the Sanatorium was placed in
charge of the treatment department, where he has re-
mained until the present time. Being interested in local
educational matters, Mr. Gerhart was elected a school
director of the township in February, 1906, for a term
of three years, and re-elected in February, 1909. He has
served as the school board's secretary for three successive
years, and also was chosen a representative from Berks
county for three successive years to the State Directors'
Convention, which meets annually at Harrisburg.



Mr. Gerhart was married to Ida Rebecca Wenrich, the
only daughter of William H. Wenrich, of Bernville, and
they have had three children, Sarah, J. Clarence, and one
that died in infancy. Mr. Gerhart was elected an elder
of St. John's (Main's) Reformed Church in January, 1909,
and immediately chosen its treasurer. Socially he is a
member of Odd Fellows Lodge No. 835, Wernersville.

William H. Wenrich, iMrs. Gerhart's father, ra. Sarah
Billman, daughter of John Billman, of Upper Bern (now
Tilden), and they had three children: Willis E., Ida Re-
becca, and one that died young.

John S. Wenrich, of Bernville, her grandfather, m. Lydia
Himmelberger, and had two children, William H. and
Rebecca, the last named the wife of A. Morris Kershner.
Her great-grandfather was Paul Wenrich.

George 'W. Gerhart, another son of the late John Peter
Gerhart, was born Aug. 4, 1863, in Lower Heidelberg
township. He received his early education in the township
school and supplemented it with study at the Keystone
State Normal School, at Kutztown. He was first licensed
to teach by Prof. D. S. Keck, former superintendent of
Berks county, and commenced his work as teacher in the
fall of 1882, in Heidelberg township, where he was en-
gaged for five terms. He was reared upon the farm, but
has never followed farming since he began life on his own

Online LibraryMorton L. (Morton Luther) MontgomeryHistorical and biographical annals of Berks County, Pennsylvania, embracing a concise history of the county and a genealogical and biographical record of representative families, comp. by Morton L. Montgomery .. → online text (page 101 of 227)