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

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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 111 of 227)
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men, and the Junior Volunteer Fire Company. tinned to make his home until he died, in May, 1811, full

His parents were amongst the -first members of the of years. He owned land and followed farming. In
Second Reformed Church at Reading upon its organiza- 1779' this pioneer paid a tax of £121, 10s, sterling. In
tion in 1848, and he joined the same church at an early isos he paid $3.70 and his son, Jacob, Jr., $1.79. In 1809
age, retaining his membership until now. The father of they paid, respectively, $3.09 and $1.46. Jacob Oberholtzer
Mr. Wanner was Amos B. Wanner, Esq., a prominent was a Christian man. His will, made Nov. 28, 1810, and
member of the Berks County Bar for many years. He probated May 27, 1811 (sons Christian and Jacob, ex-
was born in Maxatawny township (near where the Normal ecutors), is on record in Will Book A, page 584, He was
School is situated) in 1831, educated in the local schools survived by his wife, Esther, who bore him the following
and at a seminary at Philadelphia, and admitted to the named children : Christian, Jacob, Abraham, Martin, Eve
Bar as an attorney-at-law at Reading in 1857, He becanie (m, Abraham Stauffer), Barbara (m. Jacob Stau'ffer),
a very successful practitioner and was in active practice Esther and Elizabeth.

until his decease in 1892. He represented the Reading in Book 7, page 376, there is on record a German will

District in the Legislature during the years 1875 and 1876, of one Jacob Oberholtzer (the executors being Regina and

having been elected on the Democratic ticket; he served Joseph Oberholtzer), who may have been a son of Chris-

as a State delegate to the Democratic National Conven- tian Oberholtzer or one of the Montgomery countv Ober-

tion which assembled at St. Louis in 1876 ; and he repre- holtzers.

sented the Seventh ward in common council from 1882 Martin Oberholtzer, previously mentioned as one of the

to 1884, officiating as president of that body during the children of Jacob Oberholtzer (who died in 1811) made

first year. He was niarned to CleuTcntine C. Zieber Ca his will Aug. 21, 1862, and died the following year in

daughter of Philip Zieber, of Reading, for many years Washington township, where he had spent all hil life en-

in the mercantile business, and prominently identified with gaged in farminsj. His sons Jacob and Isaac \vere' the

the insurance and real estate business in this section of executors of the Will. He had six children in all namelv •

the State). She was born in ]S:;:t and died in 1S93, short- Polly (m. a Hunsbersjer), Elizabeth (m George Yohn")'

ly after her husband. They had three children: Howard Susanna (m, Alatthias Linsenbij;icr ) Isaac Sarah°and Jacob'

P, (a practicnig attorney at Rcadini. who died in 1895 Jacob Oberholtzer, born Dec 5 1773" another son of

at the age of thirty-four years): George A, (who is Jacob Oberholtzer (who died in ISn), was also a farmer

engaged in the manufacturing and insurance business at in Washington township, where he owned land He was

Reading) ; and J. Edward, the subject of this sketch. a blacksmith by trade, and followed that line of work ir



BIOGRAPHICAL



427



connection with farming. He married Esther Meyer,
born March 16, 1784, died Jan. 13, 1843, who bore him
two sons and one daughter, Susanna and John M. reach-
ing maturity. The daughter married Henry Landes, and
they had a daughter SusanAa, who became the wife of a
Jacob Oberholtzer. As both Mrs. Landes and John M.
Oberholtzer preceded their father to the grave the latter's
estate was equitably divided among the grandchildren.
Mr. Oberholtzer made his will Jan. 19, 1858, and it was
probated Ajjril 19, 1859. The executors were his friends
Jacob M. and Jacob C. Oberholtzer. He died April 3,
1859.

John (Johannes) M. Oberholtzer, son of Jacob and
father of Jacob B. Oberholtzer, was born Aug. 11, 1811,
in Washington township, where he passed all his life,
dying May 8, 1857, at the age of forty-five years. In
his early manhood he was engaged as a school teacher
and surveyor, but he eventually settled down to farming,
the vocation of his ancestors. On Feb. 18, 1838, he mar-
ried Anna Bliem (daughter of Jacob Bliem), born Nov.
4, 1815, died Oct. 26, 1884, and to them were born six
children, viz. : Mary, who married John Bechtel ; Hettie,
wife of Eli Bechtel; Amos, of Bechtelsville ; Jacob B. ;
Anna, wife of Joseph Moyer; and Minerva, wife of H.
H. Stauffer. All this family were Mennonites and active
in church life. Mr. Oberholtzer is buried at the Menno-
nite meeting-house at Bally.

Jacob B. Oberholtzer was reared to farming, growing
up on the old home place in Washington township. As he
was only twelve years old at the time of his father's death
responsibilities came early to him and his brother, both
remaining at home. Jacob worked for his mother until
he was nearly twenty-five years old, he and his brother
buying the homestead in 1869, after which they continued
to cultivate the place together until 1872. That year
Jacob B. Oberholtzer moved to Bechtelsville, where he
, lived until 1903, when he came to the place he has since
occupied, in Colebrookdale township. He has the old
Renninger mill property, originally owned by one Michael
Renninger, and which Mr. Oberholtzer has owned since
1874, and which he has conducted. Mr. Oberholtzer is
a man who takes an interest in the public welfare as well
as in his own affairs, and he was prominent during his
residence in Bechtelsville as one of the organizers of the
borough, becoming its first secretary and later serving as
chief burgess; he also served as township auditor and
school director. Since settling in Colebrookdale he has
been elected to the office of township auditor, in which
he served efficiently. He is a Republican in political
opinion.

On Nov. 6, 1869, Mr. Oberholtzer married Malinda
Clemmer, daughter of Christian and Barbara (Gehman)
Clemmer, and granddaughter of John Gehman. Mrs.
Oberholtzer died June 25, 1888, at the age of forty-three
years, and is buried at the Mennonite meeting-house at
Bally. She was the mother of five children, namely: Eli,
who lives in Douglass township, Montgomery Co., Pa. ;
John, of Philadelphia; Ida, who is unmarried and keeps
house for her father; and Abraham and David, both of
Philadelphia. Mr. Oberholtzer and his family hold fast
to the religion of their forefathers, being New Menno-
nites in faith. They belong to the church of that de-
nomination at Bally.

JAMES F. RHOADS, assistant superintendent of the
Reading Hardware Company, and one of the representa-
tive business men of Reading, Pa., was born at Lime-
rick Square, Montgomery Co., Pa., Jan. 3, 1858, son of
Levinus Rhoads.

(I) Jacob Rhoads, the first of the Rhoads family of
whom there is definite mention, was a farmer and miller
of Boyertown, Pa., where at one time he owned large
milling interests. He had two brothers, John and Henry,
both of whom lived and died at Boyertown. Jacob Rhoads
owned the oM mill at Mohrsville, which he operated, but
he died at Boyertown, where he is buried. His wife was
a Miss Kline, also of Boyertown, where she died. To
Jacob Rhoads and his wife were born : Lydia m. Sebas-



tian Buchert, and they died in Montgomery county; Deet-
er died in Montgomery county; Samuel died in Mont-
gomery county; Jacob died in Montgomery county; Mrs.
David Wise died in Montgomery county; Daniel; Maria
m. John Peltz (both died in Philadelphia) ; Rebecca m. Ab-
raham Harherger, and died in Montgomery county.

(II) Daniel Rhoads, grandfather of James F. Rhoads,
was born in Montgomery county, in 1801, and spent his
life engaged in farming in his native county, he owning
an excellent farm in New Hanover township, where he
moved in 1837. This farm of eighty-five acres he farmed
until his death in 1884. His wife was Catherine Yerger,.
daughter of Jonas A. Yerger and wife (whose maiden
name was Reiff), and their children were: Levinus; Sam-
uel Y. lives at Swamp, Montgomery county; Lydia married
Henry Spitler, and died at Reading; John Y. died at
Englesville, aged sixty years; Jacob Y. died at Boyertown;
Mary m. Daniel Botts; and Henry Y. died at Reading.

(III) Levinus Rhoads, father of James F., was born
in New Hanover township, Montgomery Co., Pa., Nov.
21, 1828. Learning the saddler's trade in Montgomery
county, he followed it for four years, but then embarked
in farming in Marlborough township. On April 3, 1865,
he sold his farm and removing to Reading, engaged in the
grocery business, , and later operated a hotel for abt>ut
twelve years. The hotel, the "Montgomery House," is
still very popular, and is a monument to him and his
progressiveness. In 1890 he retired and now lives in his
own home at No. 918 North Eleventh street. In addition
to this property he owns valuable realty in Reading.

, On Dec. 15, 1855, he married Catherine Rahn, daughter
of Isaac and Mary (Smith) Rahn, of Montgomery county,
and their children are : James F. ; Lizzie m. Linneaus Seid-
ers, resides at No. 1023 North Tenth street, Reading,
and has one daughter, Ada; Hiram, who died aged thirty-
eight, m. Sallie Moyer, who now resides at No. &56 North
Eleventh street with her son, Hiram Lewis. In politics
Levinus Rhoads is a Democrat, although never very ac-
tively identified with political life. He has now retired
from business affairs, and is passing the sunset of life in
peace and quiet, and in the enjoyment of a well-earned
competency.

(IV) James F. Rhoads received his education in the
public schools of Reading, having been brought to this
city when a boy. While attending school, he worked in
the grocery store of his father. From 1871 to 1882 he
was employed in the grocery business in Reading, but in
the latter year he entered the employ of the Reading Hard-
ware Company, commencing as a clerk on January 16th.
From that position he was gradually and successively pro-
moted until he finally attained his present responsible
position, through merit alone. Having filled all the var-
ious positions of this big plant, he is peculiarly fitted for
his present position, and his worth is recognized by his
firm.

On Oct. 23, 1883, Mr. Rhoads was married to Miss
Angeline Filer, daughter of Peter L. and Emma (Breneiser)
Eiler, the former a well-known merchant of Reading, Pa.,
where Mrs. Rhoads was born. Mr. and Mrs. Rhoads have
a very pleasant home at No. 908 Pear street. They .have
no children.

Fraternally Mr. Rhoads is a member of the Reading
Hardware Relief Association, and he is also connected
with the Liberty Fire Company, of Reading. His religious-
belief is that of the Lutherans, and he is a member of
Grace Lutheran Church, and is very active in its work. In
political opinions he is a Republican, but like his father he
is no politician, he preferring to exert his influence in a
private way. Both Mr. and Mrs. Rhoads are very promi-
nent in church and social circles. Mr. Rhoads has built
up for himself a lasting reputation as a man possessing
most excellent personal traits of character. He is up-
right and honorable in his business transactions, and is im-
bued with that generous public spirit that is always ready
to assist in whatever is calculated to promote the welfare
of his community.



428



HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



AUGUSTUS HARNER, one of the venerable residents
of Berks county, Pa., who until 1896 was engaged in agri-
cuftural pursuits in Heidelberg township, is now living re-
tired near Shaver's schoolhouse, and has the respect and
esteem of the entire community. Mr. Harner was born
Jan. 20, 1S27, in Cumru township, Berks county, son of
Jacob and Susanna (Wann) Harner.

Daniel Harner, grandfather of Augustus, was a tobacco
dealer at Rehrersburg, a substantial business man of his
locality, and one of the first to engage in that line in
his section. He is buried at Rehrersburg church, in Bethel
township. Daniel Harner's children were : Jacob ; George,
whose son Horace worked in a bank in Reading; Fred-
erick, a legislator of Berks county from 1865 to 1867;
Abraham; a daughter; and Daniel.

Jacob Harner, father of Augustus, was a resident of
Cumru township, and being in humble circumstances,
worked on the old Seitzinger farm where the State Con-
stabulary has been situated for many years. He mar-
ried Susanna Wann, and both are buried at Aulenbach
cemetery in Reading. Jacob Harner passed his last days
at the home of his son, Jacob, Jr. To Mr. and Mrs. Harner
were born these children : Augustus ; Amelia m. John
Kachel; Margaret m. Albert Cleaver; Jacob, of Reading,
m. Louisa Koch; Mary Ann m. George Strunk, of Read-
ing; and James, a boiler-maker of Palmyra, died in Read-
ing.

Augustus Harner obtained his education in the pay
schools near where he lived in Cumru township, and he
was reared on the farm on which his father worked. In
1857 he purchased the old Shower homestead in Heidel-
berg township, and here he has since resided, being
actively engaged in agricultural pursuits until 1896, since
which time the farm has been rented to his son-in-law,
Mr. Noll. On this property of seventy-five acres, Mr.
Harner erected all of the present buildings, the house being
built in 1874, as well as the substantial 80 x 40 barn.
He has always been industrious and hard-working and
now in the evening of his life he feels that he can afford to
enjoy some of the fruits of his hard labor. Mr. Harner
is very well read, the Bible being one of his favorite
works. He can speak both English and German fluently,
and in spite of his eighty years is very well preserved,
both in mind and body, and is an excellent conversation-
alist. In political matters he is a Democrat, and his pop-
ularity in this section has been attested by his election
to various offices of trust and responsibility in his town-
ship. Mr. Harner is a Reformed member of Hain's
Church, of which he was deacon and elder, while his family
attend the Corner Church.

In 1S.j1 Mr. Harner married i\Iarv Ann Shower, born
Jan, 24. 1829. who died Nov. 24. 189'8. daughter of Isaac
and Mary (Wenrich) Shower, and to this union one child
has been born : S. Agnes m. William Noll, and of their
two children, a son and a daughter, their daughter married
Ulysses Lamm and has two sons : Paul Augustus and
Charles Alfred.

WILLIAM F. HECHLER, one of the leading citizens
of West Reading, Pa., who is serving as one of the first
councilmen of the new borough, was born Aug. 22, 1850,
in Penn township, Berks county, son of Amos and Eliz-
abeth ( Kissling) Hechler.

Rudolph Heckler (Hechler), the founder of this num-
erous family in America, came to this country from the
Fatherland prior to 1741, and settled in Exeter township,
where he became the owner of considerable land. In 1759
he was one of the heaviest tax payers of the district, pay-
ing twenty-two pounds, and he was considered a leading
citizen of his locality.

Daniel Hechler, the grandfather of William F., was a
cabinet-maker by trade, an occupation which he followed
in Exeter township, where he died at the age of eighty-
seven years. He married a Miss Ritter, who reached the
age of seventy-three years, the latter being buried in the
Ritter cemetery in Exeter township, and Mr. Hechler at
Alsace Church. They had children as follows: Elam, a
hatter, settled in Reading; Amos; Laurence died in Schuyl-



kill county; Elizabeth died single; and Mrs. Joseph
Snyder.

Amos Hechler, father of William F., was born in Exeter
township, but as a young man removed to Penn township,
where he worked first at farm work, and later at black-
smithing. He also learned the carpenter's trade, which
he followed for upward of thirty years, then engaging
in the saw mill business in Luzerne county, Pa., and later
at Reading. He next went to Caroline county, Md., where
he died in 1873, at the age of forty-eight years. Mr.
Hechler was married to Elizabeth Kissling, daughter of
John and Catherine (Spayd) Kissling, of Penn township.
She died in Caroline county, Md., at the age of forty-four
years, seven weeks after the death of her husband. Both
are buried at Bern Church in Penn township. Mr. and
Mrs. Hechler had these children: William f.; Leander m.
!\I. H. Cohee, of Caroline county, Md., and died in 1875 ;
Charles W. is of Wilmington, Del. ; and Rosanna m. Irwin
D. Klopp, of West Reading, Pennsylvania.

William F. Hechler attended the schools of Penn town-
ship and his first work was on the farm, where he con-
tinued until nineteen years of age. He then learned the
cabinet-making trade, which he followed for nine years,
after which he took up carpentering, an occupation at
which he was engaged for a like period, after which he
was for sixteen years employed at the old West Reading
Planing Mill. In 1902 Mr. Hechler engaged with Schrader
& Kline, of Penn street, working at cabinet making. Mr.
Hechler came to West Reading in 1889, and in 1895 built
his home at No. 516 Penn avenue. He is a Democrat in
politics and has become very prominent in public matters,
For three years he served as a member of the school
board of Spring township, and while in office, in 1899,
assisted in building the large schoolhouse now located in
the borough of West Reading. On May 7, 1907, he was
elected to the council of West Reading, as one of the first
members of that body. He is a member of St. James Re-
formed Church of West Reading, for three years served
in the consistory, and for several years was also a teacher
in the Sunday-school. Fraternally he is connected with
the Royal Arcanum, the Brotherhood of America, and the
Sr. O. U. A. M.

Mr. Hechler married Rebecca Rishel, daughter of Wil-
liam and Maria (Wenrich) Rishel. To them there have
been born children as follows : Annie m. William H. Mat-
tes ; Evan W. m, Annie Hunter; Paul H., of Coatesville,
Pa., m. Annie Sunday; Rosie m, Morris Wagner; Katie
m, Edward Adams; William, single; Miss Sallie and Adam,
twins, of whom the latter died at the age of eight months;
and May Edna died when twenty-three days old.

CYRUS J. RHODE. Many years ago there lived in Rich-
mond township, Berks county, a Frederick Rhode, who
according to family tradition came to America from Eng-
land, but was by nativity a German. He engaged in farm-
ing, married and had a family, but from the information
on hand it can not be found who his wife was.

Among other children, this Frederick Rhode had a son.
William, born in Richmond township. He was reared
on the farm, but learned the trade of stone mason, follow-
ing that occupation in Greenwich township, whither he
had removed, for fifteen years, during this time helping
to erect many of the substantial stone and brick farm
buildings which are such a characteristic feature through-
out (jreenwich and the adjoining townships. Later in life
Mr, Rhode engaged in farming near the town of Grim-
Mile, and he continued at agricultural pursuits until ad-
vanced years, when he gave up active work and from that
time on lived retired. In politics earlv in life he was an
old-line Whig, but when the Whig party was dissolved he
became a Democrat and adhered to the faith of that party
for the remainder of his life. He never aspired to public
position, but in local affairs bore his full share of the
duties and responsibilities required of the citizen. He
was interested m educational matters and served as school
director in his district. He was a member of the Re-
formed Church,



BIOGRAPHICAL



429



William Rhode married Mary Zimmer, daughter of Dan-
iel and Caroline (Wright) Zimmer, of Greenwich town-
ship. She was born in 1832, and was a member of one
of the old representative families of that part of Berks
county. Daniel Zimmer was born and always lived m
Greenwich township, and by occupation was a shoemaker.
He died in 1896 at the age of eighty-five years. Although
it is not definitely known, it is strongly probable that Dan-
iel Zimmer was a descendant of Rudolph Zimmer, who in
1741, when only eighteen -years of age, came from Ger-
many to America in the ship "Friendship." He landed
at Philadelphia Oct. 12th of that year, and shortly after-
ward settled in Greenwich, where he appears upon the tax
list of 1756. Caroline Wright, as her name indicates, was
of English descent, but little is known of her ancestry.
She had a brother, who during the Civil war was a colonel
in the Union army. William Rhode died in 1884, and his
wife in 1892, and they were buried in the graveyard of
the Union Church at Grimville. To them were born these
children : Eliza A. m. Wllloughby Gehringer ; Cyrus J. ;
Anna E. m. Albert Plough; Chester W. m. Emma Stern;
Lewis F. m. Hannah Tyson; Charles H. m. Emma Rein-
hart; Agnes m. James Love; Westa m. Charles Fritz;
Jonathan and Frederick m. and live at Omaha, Nebr. ;
Mary m. Henry Rohlf ; Ilena m. Jas. Ross ; and Oswell
m. Helan Kleflner. Besides, there were also Clara and Ida,
who died young.

Cyrus J. Rhode, the second child of William and Mary
(Zimmer) Rhode, was born June 11, 1852, near Grimville,
Greenwich township, Berks county. Until reaching the age
of sixteen years he remained upon the farm, occupied at
such duties as are usually allotted to Pennsylvania farmer
boys and attending the district school. For the purpose
of acquiring a knowledge of the English language he
lived a winter with a family named Bush in the northern
part of Chester county, and attended a public school
there. To equip himself for the exacting duties of life
he then concluded to learn a trade, and subsequently served
an apprenticeship at bricklaying, working at this occupa-
tion for several years in his own locality and at different
points in the Lehigh Valley, as well as at Allentown, Car-
■ bondale and in New York State as far up as Syracuse.
Later a thirst for knowledge impelled him to spend several
terms at the Keystone State Normal School, where he made
such good progress in his studies that he was encouraged
to try his hand at teaching. He began this profession in
Weisenburg township, where the length of term was
four months and the salary thirty dollars per month. He
taught Apple's school for three years, and then for ten
years continuously the school in Grim's independent school
district, all in Lehigh county. His duties as teacher not
occupying all of his time, he at intervals engaged at fire in-
surance and lumbering, in which he then laid the founda-
tion of a business that has spread and grown upon his
hands ever since.

In 1884 in order to give his children the advantages of
the Keystone State Normal School, Mr. Rhode located in
Kutztown, where after a short residence he purchased a
bakery, and continued in that business for a period of
eleven years, at the end of which time, his insurance and
lumber business having grown to such large proportions,
he was compelled to give his entire time and attention
to them. In these lines he has continued to the present
time and is now rated aS one of Kutztown's busiest cit-
izens. He has been secretary of the Farmers' Mutual Fire
Insurance Company, of Berks and Lehigh counties, for
twenty-one years, and also represents a number of other
leading companies as agent. His lumber business is quite
extensive and consists of purchasing tracts of timber,
which he converts into merchantable lumber. He has also
had an extensive experience in erecting lightning rods, to
which reference can be made appropriately in this biog-
raphy. For fifteen years he has engaged at this occupation
over a wide range of territory, and notwithstanding the
strong orejudice which exists against lightning rod agents
generally has succeeded in giving entire satisfaction wher-
ever he has been given work to do. He has furnished his
patrons a good article at a fair price and dealt with them



honorably, and by these means has won their confidence
and respect. Of the 42,000 buildings that he has rodded
since starting in the business not one has been burned by
lightning, which is the best evidence that the material he
supplies is of the best quality and that his work is well
done. He puts up from 20,000. to 30,000 feet of rodding
every season. Mr. Rhode claims the lightning rod business
is as reputable as any other, if reputably conducted.

While Mr. Rhode has been a busy man he has yet
found time to give attention to public affairs. He is a
Democrat in politics, and since living in Kutztown has
served one term on the council, and as a member of the
school board for twelve years, and it was during his service
as a school director that the handsome school house was
built in Kutztown. He is a pronounced friend of popular
education, and has done much to promote the efficiency



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 111 of 227)