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 12 of 227)
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8. Olink — in Oley township, a short distance
south of Friedensburg, on land included in the
Bertolet farm. And it is believed that a large vil-
lage was situated several miles to the eastward, on
the Lee farm, adjoining the Manatawny creek.

9. Tulpewehaki — in the western section of the
county, a short distance east of Stouchsburg, near
the Tulpehocken creek.

Indian Relics. — A large number of Indian relics
have been found in diflferent parts of the county,
numbering about twenty thousand. Many of them
were found at certain places where villages were
situated. Over sixty-five hundred were found on
and in the vicinitv of Poplar Neck and Lewis's
Nieck. Prof. David B. Brunner secured a large
individual collection, numbering over forty-three

hundred. The relics of Ezra High, found on Pop-
lar Neck, were presented to the Historical Society
of Berks County.

Henry K. Deisher, of Kutztown, has a superb
collection, local as well as general, the total number-
ing upward of twenty thousand. [See mention
of it in the Borough of Kutztown, Chapter XI;
also in his biographical sketch, which appears in this


Immediately after Penn had obtained his charter
for the province from King Charles II. in 1681, and
had begun his administration of its various affairs,
he negotiated with the Indians for the purchase of
their lands. He regarded them as the rightful own-
ers of the territory by virtue of their possession.
Many purchases were made by him. He gave in
consideration for the land mostly articles which
the Indians regarded as useful, such as blankets,
coats, guns, powder, lead, etc. Comparatively little
money was paid to them. Rum was occasionally

There are two deeds for lands in Berks county
in which we are particularly interested. One is
dated Sept. 7, 1733. It is from Sassoonan, , alias
Allummapis, sachem of the Schuylkill Indians, Ela-
lapis, Ohopamen, Pesqueetomen, Mayeemoe, Par-
tridge and Tepakoaset, alias Joe, on behalf of them-
selves and all the other Indians of the said nation,
unto John Penn, Thomas Penn, and Richard Penn.
The territory contained in the grant is described
as follows :

All those tracts of land lying on or near the river
Schuylkill, in the said province, or any of the branches,
streams, fountains or springs thereof, .eastward or west-
ward, and all the lands lying in or near any swamps,
marshes, fens or meadows, the waters or streams of which
flow into or toward the said river Schuylkill, situate,
lying and being between' those hills, called Lechay Hills,
and those called Keekachtanemin Hills, which' cross the
said river Schuylkill about thirty miles above the said
Lechay Hills, and all land whatsoever lying within the
said bounds; and between the branches of Delaware river,
on the eastern side of the said land, and the branches
or streams running into the river Susquehannah, on the
western side of the said land, together with all mines,
minerals, quarries, waters, rivers, creeks, woods, timber
and trees, with all and every the appurtenances, etc.

The consideration mentioned in the deed con-
sisted of the following articles:

20 brass kettles, 100 stroudwater matchcoats of two
yards each, 100 duffels do., 100 blankets, 100 yards of half
tick, 60 linen shirts, 20 hats, 6 made coats, 12 pair of
shoes and buckles, 30 pair of stockings, 300 lbs. of gun
powder, 600 lbs. of lead, 20 fine guns, 12 gun-iocks, 50
tomahawks or hatchets, 50 planting hoes, 120 knives. 60
pair of scissors, 100 tobacco tongs, 24 looking-glasses, 40
tobacco boxes, 1000 flints, 5 lbs. of paint, 24 dozen of
gartering, 6 dozen of ribbons. 12 dozen of rings, 200 awl
blades, 100 lbs. of tobacco, 400 tobacco pipes, 20 gallons
of rum and 50 pounds in money.

The other deed is dated Aug. 22, 1749. It is
from nine different tribes of Indians unto Thomas
Penn and Richard Penn. The several tribes were
represented by their chiefs, who appeared and exe-
cuted the deed in their behalf. The consideration


was £500 lawful money of Pennsylvania. The tract uting territory toward the erection of another coun-

of land conveyed lay north of the Blue Mountain, ty. Many surprising developments had been made,

and extended from the Delaware on the east to the not only in settlements and population, but more

Susquehanna on the west. It included the whole especially in internal resources. The condition of

of Schuylkill county. Conrad Weiser was the in- ^^^j^^ -^ ^^^ ^^^^^^ ^^3 ^1 ^o that of any sec-

terpreter for the Indians m this transfer. ^^^ 5^^^^_ ^^^j ^^^ discovered as early_as

The lower section of he coun y ly'ng south- head-waters of the Schuylkill. Its

ward of the .South Mountain (or Lechay Hill"), -l''^. 'iiu^t, "-"c uc^u w _ i „fo.^,.^:c.p

had been released by the Indians in 1718, it having "eed had come to be felt. It quickened enterprise

been included in previous purchases- of territory, m developing new means of transportation. Agn-

REDUCTIONS OF TERRITORY '^^'^'' ^ad enriched the land wonderfully^ Numer-

ous furnaces and forges were cained on success-

NoRTHUMBERLAND CouNTY. — As nearly as it fuUy^ jjoj- only jj, the more populous parts south of

was possible to do so, the provincial government ^^^ gj^^g Mountain but also north of it, even in the

kept the settlers from going beyond the limits of ^■^■^. ^^ ^^^^ coal' regions.

the purchases from the Indians. After the purchase t-, , ^- ^ ;,.„^,^„^,.v„:.r,fc KAi^nnrl i-hc

of 1749 the settlers extended the settlements be- ^^^^ population and improvements beyond the

V:r' P? \1 f ■ w-1 settlements De j^ ^ ^^49 1 ^^ Northumberland county

yond the Blue Mountain. Withm the next score pi-uLuctacs ul j..^^, ^. , ^ -a-

of years, numerous settlements were made in that was erected m 17/2 were comparatively trifling,

territory, especially in the district which lies be- But withm this purchase they had grown to large

tween the Blue Mountain and "Schneid Berg" proportions when the second county came to be

(Sharp Mountain, named so from the sharpness of erected out of a part of its territory; for the popu-

its apex). Many persons located beyond the pur- lotion numbered about six thousand and the sev-

chase, in the vicinity of the great fork in the Sus- ^ral townships together contributed over eight

quehanna (Shamokin, now Sunbury) ; and this in- hundred dollars m taxes The new county was

duced the additional purchase of 1768. erected on March 11 1811, and called Schuylkill.

Within the next four years, the Governor was The greater portion of the territory was taken from
persuaded to feel the necessity of erecting another Berks county, and the other portion from North-
county, even in that remote locality, notwithstand- f^n^P^o"- The portion from Berks had been erected
ing a much larger population existed within the mto seven townships, as follows:
limits of the purchase of 1749. Its distance (aver- Erected i'^^'l^'^'f

aging seventy-five miles) from the county-seat, Brunswick 17GS 359

Reading, was the principal cause of complaint, and Pine-Grove 17"1 251

the prime reason to the Assembly in granting the l^j.^"*^ ^™i, jgoo jgg

prayer of the petitioners. Northumberland was s^Q^e^ian ...... ...... ..... .....IS02. 108

erected on March 21, 1773. It comprised about Mahantango IS02 141

one-third of the whole State, including the north- Upper-Mahantango 1807 108

western section. Over three-fifths of Berks county ~~
was cut to it. No townships had been formed in ' '"
that section. Immediately after the erection of the Other Counties PROPOSED.^Between the years
new county, townships were formed, and a county- 1824 and 1855, twenty applications were made be-
seat was established and laid out at Shamokin, fore the Legislature to establish new counties out
named Sunbury. Fort Augusta, at the fork of the of_ portions of Berks county, comprising town-
river, was a conspicuous place during the French ships in the northern, eastern, southern and west-
and Indian war. It was erected in 1756. ern sections, but fortunately they all were unsuc-

ScHUYLKiLL CouNTY. — Forty years afterward, cessful, notwithstanding the great efforts expended

Berks county was again reduced in area by contrib- in that behalf.


AGRICULTURE farming implements were rude and simple in con-

General Condition and Progress.— When the struction and continued so for many years. The
first settlers entered this territory, they found it whole of the eighteenth century passed away with-
entirely without cultivation or improvement of any out any improvement. The farmer labored on ear-
kind. The land along the Schuylkill and its tribu- "^^tly and faithfully year after year, and decade
taries was in a primitive state in every respect, but ^^er decade with the same muscular exertion, and
in a good condition for farming purposes. Its lo- these rude implements required him to be at his
cation was fine, its irrigation- superior, and al- place all the time if he wished to be in season. But
together it was very inviting to them. Labor stood his devotion was equal to the task, for he was
out prominently before them as the one thing nee- i-ip with the sun in the morning; and with the
essary to cause it to become fruitful. Fortunately moon in season. He was never behind, for he
for them, they possessed this personal quality in the could not be without great loss and inconvenience,
highest degree; and with this quality they also His implements were satisfactory to him, because
possessed other qualities equally important in tak- he gave them no thought beyond the assistance
ing hold of an uncultivated country — economy, per- which they afforded. And sons followed in the.
severance and patience. They were in every way footsteps of their fathers, by imitation; and half
adapted to their situation. Their preparation was of the nineteenth century abo passed away with-
of the best order; and driven from their native out any material advancement beyond the days of
land by religious persecution, they must have re- 1700, of 1750, and of 1800. Labor-saving machin-
joiced in finding such a pleasing situation, such ery had begun to be introduced within a score
inviting conditions. of years before 1850 ; and this naturally led to an

After the beginning had been made, can we won- improvement in farming implements. The mower

der that immigrants came by the thousand? They came to be substituted for the scythe, the reaper

knew their sufferings, their uncertain condition at for the sickle, and the drill for the hand. Im-

home, and their sense of well-being induced them proved plows of various patterns were introduced,

to leave. But in leaving the valleys and hills so And now we have tTie combined reaper and binder,

dear to them, they came to possess and enjoy a a machine truly ingenious.

country equally favored for beauty, for health and The same slowness, simplicity but earnest labor
for profit; and it was more highly favored in res- followed the threshing of grain after it had been
pect to a condition which was to them more import- ' harvested. The flail and the walking of horses
ant than all the others combined — freedom. It is on the barn floor were continued for a hundred and
surprising to find, in the course of time and govern- fifty years. Indeed, some of the poor, non-pro-
ment, the development of a condition for mankind gressive farmers in districts distant from railroads
so unfortunate, so objectionable, so discouraging; and prominent highways still carry on this labor-
but it is equally surprising to find, in the same ious performance. But about 1840 the threshing
course of time and government, though in a country inachine was introduced ; and also the horse-power
far removed, over three thousand miles across a machine for running it with speed and success,
dreaded sea, a condition exactly opposite — fortunate, Patent hay-rakes, hay-forks, corn-shellers, and im-
acceptable and encouraging! plements and machines of various kinds, are also

The condition of the settlers was encouraging, used in every section of our county. All these

not only in respect to an acceptable country, but things were developed because of the ease with

also in respect to their own constitution, physically, which iron could be manufactured into any shape,

mentally and morally. They were strong and en- Accordingly, the foundry played an important part

during in physical development, they were sensible in_ these improvements ; and at the bottom of all

and practical in thought and feeling; and they were this progress we find iron, coal and steam,

sound, hopeful and trustful in religious convictions. We no longer see from ten to thirty or forty

These fitted them admirably for their vocation. persons engaged in haymaking and harvesting on

The land was cultivated then as it is now, by our farms, as they were seen one hundred, indeed,

manuring and enriching the soil, by turning the only thirty, years ago. A farmer and his own

sod, by -sowing and planting seeds, and by rotat- family, with the aid of his horses and improved

ing crops ; but the manner was infinitely more farming machinery, can carry on all the work from

laborious. Every act was performed by muscular beginning to end successfully,

exertion and endurance, with the assistance of During the last fifty years numerous manufac-

horse-power. The plow, the harrow, the scythe, turing establishments have been erected in our

the sickle and the rake were important aids then, country, and these have caused a great demand

and by comparing the past with the present we for working people; and this derhand has been

can readily appreciate the vast difference. Their supplied to a great degree from the farming dis-


tricts. The manufacturer paid higher wages than
the fanner and limited the time of daily labor to
ten hours; and towns and cities (at which these
establishments were almost entirely situated) af-
forded the working-people more and better advan-
tages and facilities in respect to schools and
churches, pleasures and associations. These nat-
urally inclined them to quit laboring on farms and
enter establishments in populous places. Accord-
ingly farm laborers began to grow scarce and farm-
ers became alarmed; but fortunately for farming,
whilst enterprise was drawing one way against its
interest and welfare, genius was acting with equal
force in the other for them, and the result has ac-
tually come to be beneficial to the farmer, more
especially in respect to making him more self-de-

By the industrial statistics in the next portion
of this chapter, it will appear that in 1806 there
were upward of one hundred and fifty grist-mills,
which were scattered throughout the county. Af-
ter the several railroads in operation began to' make
themselves felt in the industrial affairs of the county,
these grist-mills came to be abandoned, and as they
grew less in number the value of farms began to
decrease, and this decrease continued until the value
in many cases was one-half, even two-thirds, less
than it had been. This was noticeable from 1875 to
1900. The abandoned mills have not been rebuilt;
and the farm values have not yet improved. This
was a direct result of imported grain from the Wes-
tern States at reduced rates, much having been said
of the increased flour-producing character of this
grain over the Eastern grain ; and also of Western
flour. And this abandonment of the grist-mills and
decrease of farm values led many thousand of peo-
ple to move from farms and locate in towns and
cities, in the county and out of it. The census and
assessment returns show this plainly. Before 1835,
without the aid of steam and railroads and stimu-
lated industrial affairs, farming communities had
increased and improved for fifty years ; but after
1875, even with these extraordinary aids to the
people, they have decreased and retrograded, and
the major part of the population and wealth have
come to concentrate in the county-seat.

Agricultural Society. — In 1823, a State Agri-
cultural Society was first suggested to the people
of the State by an Act of Assembly, but nearly
thirty years elapsed before a successful movement
was made in that behalf. A public letter was ad-
dressed to the farmers of the State, in May, 1850,
which suggested a convention at Harrisburg, in
January, 1851, for the purpose of forming a State
Agricultural Society. Delegates from the several
counties were in attendance and it resulted in a
State Fair which was held in October, 1851.

This movement having met with success, a pre-
liminary meeting for organizing a society in the
county was held at the "Keystone House" (now
"Hotel Penn"), in Reading, on Dec. 20, 1851. It
was attended by a number of prominent citizens

of the county, who caused a public address to be
issued ; and a formal organization was effected at
the court-house on Jan. 13, 1852, 108 persons sub-
scribing the constitution.

The first exhibition was held on Aug. 17, 1852,
at Reading. It was confined principally to grains,
vegetables, fruits and flowers; and though small,
it exceeded all expectations, having attracted a
large number of visitors from Reading and all parts
of the county.

The first agricultural fair was held in October,
1853 ; the exhibition of speed took place on a large
lot on the northeast corner of Sixth and Walnut
streets; of farming implements, stock, poultry, etc.,
on a lot on the southeast corner of Fifth and Elm
streets; and of grain, fruits, flowers, fancy articles,
etc., in the Academy building, on the northeast
corner of Fourth and Court streets. It was a great
success — the attendance having been estimated at

In a report to the society on April 5, 1853, a
recommendation was made that the public park
and parade-ground be secured as a suitable locality
for the erection of buildings, etc., to promote agri-
cultural science. This recommendation was acted
upon, and on May 13, 1854, the county commission-
ers leased to the society the ground known as the
"commons," for the purpose of holding its annual
fairs, for the term of ninety-nine years. The third
annual fair was held there in October, 1854; and
every succeeding year the fairs were conducted on
the "Fair Ground'" until 1887 excepting during the
Civil war for three years (1862-3-4), when it was
occupied by the United States government for the
purposes of a military hospital and camp. In that
year it was removed to the large inclosure at the
end of North Eleventh street, and the annual ex-
hibitions have since been held there.

The annual "Fair ' is the principal object of the
society. Monthly meetings are held for the dis-
cussion of topics pertaining to agricultural and hor-
ticultural progress. These have been held in the
third story of the court-house for many years past.
Formerly, thev were held at different places, prom-
inent among them being the "Keystone Flouse" and
"Keystone Hall."

A similar society was formed at Kutztown in
1870, which also gave annual exhibitions until 1903.
Another "Fair Ground"' was established in 1905,
on the north side of Kutztown, with a superior half-
mile track.

Farmers' Union.— In 1900, a number of farmers
of the southern section of the county in the vicinity
of Geigertown organized a "Farmers' Union" for
educational and mutual benefit and erected a fine
hall (32x45) costing $1,500, with cement base-
ment and shedding. It has been carried on in a
successful manner and its lectures on agricultural
topics have been highly appreciated. ]\Iembership,
100. Officers : E. M. Zerr. president ; H. G. Mc-
^TO^\■an, treasurer ; H. C. Hohl, secretary : D. Oyen
Brooke, corresponding secretar\-.




Furnaces and Forges. — In each portion of the
county there were iron industries at an early per-
iod in its history, especially in the lower portion.
They were scattered many miles from one another,
extending from the southern boundary to the north-
em, and from the eastern to the western. All were
located along strong streams for water-power, and
in the midst of thickly wooded territory for char-
coal. The greater number were east of the Schuyl-
kill. The nine following streams were occupied
before the Revolution: Manatawny and its tribu-
tary Ironstone, West-Branch of Perkiomen, Mose-
lem, French, Hay, Allegheny, Tulpehocken and
its tributary, Spring.

Until that time there were the following indus-
tries — the year indicating the time of erection:


Cokbrookdale 1720 Hopewell 1759

Mt. Pleasant 1738 Berkshire 1760

Hereford 1740 Oley 1765


Pool (2) 1717 Oley 1744

Spring 1729 Charming 1749

Mt. Pleasant 1738 Moselem 1750

Pine 1740 Gibraltar 1770

Hay Creek 1740

From 1775 to 1800, the following were estab-
lished in the county :



Union 1780

District 1780

Mary Ann 1789

Dale 1791

Joanna 1792

Reading 1794

Greenwood 1796

Sally Ann 1800


Brobst's 1780

Rockland 1783

Dale 1791

Burkhart's 1792

District 1793

Speedwell 1800

All of these industries were operated successful-
ly for many years and contributed a great deal to
the material welfare of the county; but most of
them were discontinued shortly after the Civil war.
Three of them are still in active operation, though
much enlarged:

Hay Creek (Birdsboro)
Reading (Robesonia)


Among the more recent furnaces and forges in
the county, there were the following, the date after
the name indicating the year of erection :


Sally Ann 1811



Moselem 1823

Mount Penn 1825

Earl 1835

Mount Laurel 1836

Henry Clay 1844

second stack 1854

Monocacy 1852

Leesport 1853

Do-Well 1825

Moyer's 1825

Moselem 1825

Sixpenny 1825

North-Kill 1830

Bloom 1830

Maiden Creek . .' 1854

Reading (Seyfert,

MdManus & Co.)... 1854

second stack 1873

Temple 1867

Keystone 1869

second stack 1872

Topton 1873

East Penn (2 stacks). 1874

Kutztown 1875

Bechtelsville 1875

Exeter 1836

Mount Airy 1840

Seidel's 1853

Keystone 1854

Reading 1857

Douglass ville 1878

Industri/\l Statistics. — In the year 1806, Berk' -
county was distinguished for its numerous manu-
facturing establishments, its trade and enterprise.
The following iron industries were then in opera-

Tilt hammers 9

Slitting-raill 1

Other industries :

Powder-mills 4

Fulling-mills 14

Hemp-mills 2

Paper-mills 10

Saw-mills 235

Distilleries 212

Furnaces 8

Forges 20

Grist-mills 155

Tanneries 49

Oil-mills 20

Hat factories (.Read-
ing) 40

In 1830, there were: furnaces, 11; and forges,
24; which employed 2,770 men.

In 1840, there were: furnaces, 11; forges, 36;
flour and grist-mills, 141; oil-mills, 15; sawmills,
108; powder-mills, 3; stores, 119; paper-factories,
5; potteries, 3; distilleries, 29; breweries, 6.

In 1851, there were 41 iron works — more than
in any other county in Pennsylvania ; and no other
county in the United States contained more'. The
estimated and reported capital then invested was

In 1876, there were 27 furnaces, 4 forges, and 10
mills, whose total production was 58,641 tons; and
in 1884, there were 19 furnaces, 6 forges, and 9
mills, whose total production was 135,947 tons.










































Iron-masters. — The iron-masters of the county
include many men noted for theii- enterprise, suc-
cess, wealth and patriotism, all through the history
of the county, from its earliest settlements till now.
A great proportion of the material prosperity and
enrichment of the county has been contributed by
them. They have, to a great degree, influenced
its social, political, and industrial welfare. In the
settlement and development of its several sections,
they have been pioneers. Though their great and
influential industry does not antedate agriculture in
the affairs of the county, it has, nevertheless, been



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 12 of 227)