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 122 of 227)
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tiring in his labors during the erection of the new church,
and specially confined himself to securing funds. When
the church was dedicated and all bills turned in it was
found that there remained only $4,500 of a debt on the
beautiful granite structure. The pastor's efforts in se-
curing funds were uncommonly successful. Some time
prior to the building of the church he erected a handsome
parsonage costing $4,000. In four years he was instru-
mental in raising nearly $40,000 for building purposes only.
When he came to Hamburg the charge consisted of three
congregations, Hamburg, Shoemakersville and Port Clin-
ton. Shoemakersville congregation was at once detached
from the Hamburg charge and added to the Leesport
charge. After the erection of the new church Port Clinton
congregation was detached and added to the Auburn
charge. Hamburg was now the first congregation of the
Reformed .Church in Berks county, outside of the City of
Reading, to support its own pastor, and what is more it
paid the pastor more salary than did the three congrega-
tions, in addition to the handsome parsonage which the pas-



tor enjoyed. The liberality of the Hamburg people
greatly increased under his ministry.

On October 16, 1908, Rev. Mr. Gerhard accepted a call
from the West Reading charge, comprising St. James' Re-
formed Church, West Reading, Epler's in Bern- township
and Hinnershitz in Muhlenburg township. He entered up-
on his present pastorate Nov. S2, 1908. With his former
energy he at once began to lay plans to gather funds for
the erection of a fine brown stone church edifice costing
from $25,000 to $30,000 when completed. Success has at-
tended his efforts from the very beginning, and the pros-
pects for the growth of St. James Church are brighter
than at any time in the past.

JOHN G. GLAES, a venerable citizen of Washington
township, Berks county, was born there Dec. 13, 1828, son
of Sebastian and Sarah (Gehry) Glaes.

Abraham Kles, his great-grandfather, was a taxable resi-
dent in Greenwich township, this county, in 1756. He had
three sons : Frederick, who is mentioned below ; Jacob, who
located in Oley township; and Christian, who located in
Amity township.

Frederick Glosz, as he spelled the name, son of Abra-
ham, was born in Greenwich township, Berks county, in
1756. When twenty years old he entered the Patriot army
for services in the Revolutionary war, in which he served
as a teamster, being so engaged at Valley Forge. In his
later years he drew a pension. He was a tanner by trade,
and followed that occupation in Pike township for many
years, also engaging in farming in that township, where
he owned a tract of 105 acres, near Lobachsville. The
close of his long life was spent in retirement at the home
of his son, Sebastian. He died in 1841, at the age of
eighty-five, and is buried at Huber's Church, at Niantic,
Montgomery county. He was a Lutheran in religious faith.
By his first wife, Elizabeth Zimmerman, daughter of Se-
bastian Zimmerman, of Maxatawny township, he had the
following children : Daniel ; Abraham ; Jacob ; Sebastian ;
Henry; Solomon; Sarah, Mrs. Frey; Elizabeth, Mrs.
Trout; and Rebecca, Mrs. Gregory. His second marriage
was to a Miss Potts.

Sebastian Glaes, son of Frederick, was born in 1796 in
Pike township, Berks county, where he resided until his
removal to Washington township in 1828. There he
bought the farm and pottery now owned by his son John,
the seventy-five acre tract being especially valuable for
the fine bed of pottery clay located near by. He died on
this place in 1869, a member of the Reformed Church, in
which he had served for a number of years as deacon,
treasurer and elder. In politics he was a Democrat. Se-
bastian Glaes married Sarah Gehry, daughter of John
Gehry, of Upper Hanover, Montgomery county, and eight
children were born to them, namely : Sophia, deceased, was
the wife of Daniel Heidt, of Washington township; John
G. is mentioned below; George died at the age of twenty-
seven years ; Frederick, of Pottstown, is a millwright ;
Charles died in childhood; Samuel died young; Matilda
married George Gilbert, a farmer of Washington town-
ship; Charles died young.

John G. Glaes was reared on the farm and received his
early education in the local public schools, later taking
a course in the Pottstown Academy. He studied surveying
in the seminaries at Freeland and Mount Pleasant; at-
tended Tremont Seminary, at Norristown; the Elmwood
Institute, and Heidelberg College, at Tiffin, Ohio. After
leaving school he taught school for fifteen consecutive
years, teaching in Ruscombmanor township as a fellow in-
structor of James N. Ermentrout (who was a great friend
of Mr. Glaes), and then began surveying and conveyancing,
in which line of work he continued for thirty years, becom-
ing very well known in that capacity. The latter also
learned the pottery business, which he still carries on at
the old homestead.

Mr. Glaes has always been considered one of the most
valuable citizens of his community, in every phase of
local activity which tends to promote the general welfare
and advancement. He has been identified with the official
life of his township, as well as its ediicational and indus-



460



HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



trial concerns, and served as county auditor from 1864
to 1867; justice of the peace from 1867 to 1877, and town
assessor for a number of years. In political sentiment he
is a Democrat. His opinion on all matters of local in-
terest is sought and valued, for his intelligence and clear
mind are undisputed, and although now well advanced in
3'ears he is active and capable, and holds the esteem of
his fellow-citizens in an unusual degree. He has been a
constant reader and is remarkably well informed, and his
library is large and well selected, showing his scholarly
tastes. Among his most cherished books, however, are a
large German Bible, published in 1798, and a geometry
which was printed in 1806, and which formerly belonged to
Rev. William A. Good, once county superintendent of
schools ; later Michael McCullogh used it at Yale. Mr.
Glaes has a number of other relics which he prizes highly.
He has written several poems which have brought him
more than local iame — "Der Siffer, der Schmoker, der
Ts'chaer un Gamier," in Pennsylvania German (Deutsch) ;
"Easter Greetings," and a masterful composition entitled
"Sixty Years Ago and Now" (A. D. 1846-1906), which
has attracted particular attention.

On June 5, 1877, Mr. Glaes was married to Susan Fran-
cis, daughter of John and Susan (Snyder) Francis and
granddaughter of Jacob Francis, a farmer of Amity town-
ship and a zealous member of the Lutheran Church. John
Francis was born in Amity township, Dec. 17, 1801, and
followed farming there. He also engaged in milling there,
and was quite an active man in his community, serving
as town assessor and as a captain in the old State Militia.
He was president of the Berks County Fire Insurance
Cpmpany. He died in 1890, in the faith of the Lutheran
Church. To him and his wife were born ten children,
six sons and four daughters : Catherine, wife of Rev. L.
D. Leverman, a minister of the Reformed Church, of
Philadelphia; Lizzie, who lives with her brother-in-law,
John G. Glaes ; Daniel, deceased, who was proprietor of
the Reading Herald; Solomon, deceased, who was a black-
smith at Dayton, Ohio ; Amon, a millwright, of Dayton,
Ohio; Sarah, deceased; Susan, Mrs. Glaes; John, who
died young; Jacob, deceased, who was at one time engaged
as bookkeeper for the Reading Railway Company and later
carried on farming on the homestead ; and Samuel, a car-
penter in Philadelphia.

Mrs. Susan (Francis) Glaes was born Feb. 9, 1841,
and died Jan. 13, 1908, just a few days before the com-
pletion of her sixty-seventh year, being one of the victims
of the Opera-house catastrophe at Boyertown which devas-
tated so many homes in this district. She is buried at
Amityville. Mrs. Glaes was long one of the most esteemed
and widely known residents of her district. She conducted
a large millinery and dressmaking establishment for a
number of years, giving eraployrnent to many hands, and
from 1900 until her death was the postmistress at Pass-
more, which office was discontinued after her death. She
was a devout church member and active church worker,
and for many years served as superintendent of the infant
class of the Sunday-school at Niantic. Her intelligence
and energy made her one of the most beloved women in
her neighborhood.

RALPH H. MENGEL, senior member of the firm of
Mengel & Mengel, who are extensively engaged in the
real estate and insurance business, is a member of the
third generation of his family identified with business and
public affairs in Reading, and the Mengels have been
settled in Berks county for over a century.

Nicholas Mengel, the first ancestor of the family in this
country, was a native of Germany and came to America
with two other young Germans, in the early part of the eigh-
teenth century. Following a custom quite common in
those days, and having no money to pay their passage, they
were bound out upon their arrival here to defray the
cost of their transportation, Nicholas Mengel becoming the
servant of John Gernant, an agriculturist of Maiden-creek
township, Philadelphia (now Berks) county. Pa. His term
expired in three or four years, after which he continued
with Mr. Gernant for some time, and being industrious



and economical he not only paid his way but was enabled
to accumulate a little. He finally purchased 300 acres of
land in Maiden-creek township.

Peter IMengel, son of Nicholas, was born on the old
homestead in Maiden-creek township. When he started life
on his own account he moved to Fritztown, Berks county,
where he ran a sawmill for some years, and in 1789 he
moved to Caernarvon township, this county, where he
purchased 300 acres of land and passed the remainder of
his life, continuing to run a sawmill. His family was a
numerous one.

Henry Mengel, son of Peter, was born in 1784, and w.'S
a lifelong farmer. He married Hannah Schoener, who
was born in 1788, and they had the following named chil-
dren : Matthias, Peter, Christiana, Hannah, Amelia and
Eva Ann. The mother died in 1868.

Matthias Mengel was born Jan. 13, 1814, on the old
Mengel homestead near Morgantown, in Caernarvon town-
ship. He received his early education in the subscription
schools of the period, and being ambitious to add to his
knowledge continued his studies in private, becoming un-
usually well informed. His father wanted him to enter
the legal profession, but he himself had no leaning toward
such work in his early life, and he was past twenty-four
when, on Jan. 30, 1838, he entered the office of Elijah
Dechert, Esq., as a student-at-law. He was admitted to
the Bar of Berks county, April 9, 1840, and commencing
practice in Reading gained a very large patronage in the
city and vicinity, in the active prosecution of which he
continued for the remarkably long period of over sixty
years, and died Feb. 18, 1905. Mr, Mengel was active
for many years in the municipal government, serving as
alderman for, altogether, thirty and one-half years. He
was first elected to that office in the year 1845, was re-
elected for the two succeeding terms, and was chosen again
in 1868 and for many terms thereafter. The length of his
service is sufficient evidence regarding the value of his ser-
vices. He served two years as water commissioner, being
appointed to fill the unexpired term of George K. Levan,
Esq., deceased, was treasurer of the city school board from
1862 to 1868, and served as a notary public from 1880
until he died. In political sentiment Matthias Mengel was
a stanch Democrat, but he voted according to his own
views of the fitness of the case when it came to electing
local officers. Though always a hard worker Mr. Mengel
retained his strength and energy to the last, and was active
as many younger men. For many years he was one of
the most prominent citizens of Reading, and he was pop-
ular with the public and respected by his friends and asso-
ciates everywhere.

Matthias Mengel was twice married, first to Mary Ann
Phipps, daughter of Jonathan Phipps, of Chester county.
To that marriage were born two children, Henry and
Jonathan P., both of whom are deceased. The mother
of these died Aug. 19, 1860, and Mr. Mengel subsequently
married Amelia M. Soder, who survives him. She also
became the mother of two children ; Matthias, a practising
physician of Chester county. Pa.; and Levi W., Professor
of Chemistry, in the Boys' high school, Reading.

Jonathan P. Mengel was born in Reading in 1849, and
passed away at the early age of thirty, in 1879. He mar-
ried Alice V. Hain, and they had three children : Ralph H.,
J. Ham, and a daughter that died in infancy. Mr. Mengel
was a young man of admirable character, and his untimely
demise was mourned by many outside of the immediate
family circle.

Ralph H. Mengel was born Jan. 8, 1872, in Reading,
and received his literary education in the public schools,
graduating from high school in 1890. Having passed the
preliminary examination for admission to the Bar he
read law under the tutorship of Hon. H. Willis Bland,
Esq., with, whom he continued for one year, until Mr
Bland was appointed judge. He then read in the office
of Cyrus G. Derr, and was admitted to the Bar Nov. 6,
1893, since which time he has been engaged in legal work
in Reading. On Feb. 37, 1899, he was admitted to practice
before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, and on Dec
3, 1903, he was admitted to the Superior court. ]\Ir.



BIOGRAPHICAL



461



Mengel, however, has not confined himself strictly to legal
business, having made several successful ventures into
other fields, in which he has found his pi'ofessional know-
ledge invaluable.

In 1896, upon the death of their uncle, George P. Zieber,
Mr. Mengel and his brother, J. Hain Mengel, purchased
the real estate and insurance business formerly conducted
by that gentleman at No. 60 South Sixth street. They or-
ganized for business under the style of Mengel & Mengel.
In 1903 the firm purchased the old Times building, on
North Sixth street, which they greatly remodeled, moving
their offices to that location, where they have since re-
mained. Their rooms are handsomely and conveniently
equipped for the accommodation of their large patronage,
the firm being one of the best known business concerns in
the city. They have the largest business of the kind in
Reading, and give employment to a large corps of clerks
and assistants. Both members of the firm rank among the
most progressive citizens of Reading, are members of the
city Board of Trade, and are giving substantial aid toward
making the city one of the foremost in the Commonwealth.
The firm issue monthly a valuable business publication,
Mengel's Real Estate Register, which has a wide distribu-
tion and is considered authority on real estate of Reading
and Berks county. It is a thirty-two-page pamphlet.

In addition to the interests already' mentioned, Mr. Men-
gel serves as a director of the Commercial Trust Company,
which he helped to establish, and is also its legal adviser.
As may be judged from the important affairs entrusted
to him, Mr. Mengel is one of the best knOwn young busi-
ness men of Reading, and he has won his way to the
front rank of successful citizens by the exercise of a rare
degree of tact and ability.

Mr. Mengel has numerous social connections, being a
member of the Reading Alumni Association ; the Americus
Club; the Temple Club; Vigilance Lodge, No. 194, I. O .0.
R; Friendship Commandery, No. 247, A. and I. O. Knights
of Malta; Wlashington Camp No. 417, P. O. S. of A.;
Lodge No. 63 F. & A. M.; Reading Royal Arch Chap-
ter, No. 152; De Molay Commandery, No. 9, K. T. ;
Philadelphia Consistory, S. P. R. S., 32°; Reading Lodge
of Perfection, 14° ; and Rajah Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S.

On Oct. 6, 1904, Mr. Mengel married Miss Deborah D.
De Turck, a daughter of Lewis P. and Sarah P. (De-
Turck) De Turck, and they reside at No. 532 Walnut street,
Reading.

J. ISAAC BICKEL. In the death of J. Isaac Bickel,
Bern township lost one of her best and most respected
citizens. He was born Nov. 2, 1838, in North Heidelberg
township, Berks Co., Pa., son of Jonathan and Magdalena
(Wenrich) Bickel.

The Bickel family has long been one of importance in
upper Berks county. Anthony Bickel, son of the ancestor,
was a farmer in North Heidelberg township, where he
owned a farm of 160 acres, which is now the property
of Peter Ruth. A barn that he built is yet standing.
He was a member of Herrnhooder (now North Heidel-
berg) Union Church, where his remains were laid to rest.
After his death his oldest son, Joseph, obtained the farm
and after Joseph's death, his oldest son, Elias, became its
owner. Elias Bickel sold it to Peter Ruth and moved
to Reading, where he was in a hotel business on the site
where the post-office now stands. Anthony Bickel married
a Miss Romick, and they had six children, namely : Joseph
(had children — Elias, John, Jesse, Moses, Joseph, Jared,
Leah, Matilda, Mauline and Catherine) ; Anthony, who
lived in North Heidelberg township, a blacksmith (had
children — William, Benjamin — residing at Mt. Pleasant,
John, Sallie and Eliza); Jonathan; Daniel; Mrs. Mor-
decai Lengel, who lived beyond Bernville ; and Mrs. Hen-
ry Troutman, of Mount Etna.

Jonathan Bickel, born April 18, 1800, died July 21, 1874,
aged seventy-four years, three months, three days, and was
buried in the North Heidelberg Church graveyard. He
was a farmer in North Heidelberg township, where he
owned eighty acres of land. His wife was Magdalena
Wenrich, daughter of Johannes Wenrich. They had the



following children: (1) Daniel. (2) Jonathan, a farmer,
who lived in Iowa, later in Ohio, was buried by the side
of his wife in Iowa. His children were : Elias, Isaac and
a daughter. (3) Frank resides at Mohnton. (4) James
resides in Reading. (5) Molly married John Faust (de-
ceased) and moved to Nebraska, but later lived at Milton,
Pa., where she died. (6) J. Isaac.

Daniel Bickel, son of Jonathan, was born in North
Heidelberg township, Feb. 20, 1833, and owned the home-
stead farm in North Heidelberg township, which he con-
ducted until 1882. He resides with his son, Gasson Bickel,
in Lower Heidelberg, near Wernersville. His physical
health is remarkably good notwithstanding his years and
he hauls the milk from the farm to the neighboring cream-
ery. Formerly he served as school director in Lower Heid-
elberg township. He and family are members of the
North Heidelberg Church, where the family have their
burying plot. He has identified himself with the religious
bodies where he has lived, and during a residence of eleven
years in Cumru township was an elder in the Gouglers-
ville Church. He is also a contributing member of.Hain's
Reformed Church. His wife, Rebecca Gruber, died in
Cumru township, April 7, 1873, aged forty-six years. They
had sixteen children all of whom are dead except Cor-
nelius, residing in Reading, and Gasson, who is a farmer
in Lower Heidelberg township and has one son, James.

Daniel Bickel, son of Anthony, moved to Fairfield county,
Ohio, and settled two miles from Basil, where he followed
farming and blacksmith ing. Of his two sons, Ephraim
and William, the latter still survives.

J. Isaac Bickel attended the public schools during his
boyhood and was trained to farming on the home place.
He engaged later in that occupation in Cumru, Muhlenberg
and Bern townships, locating in the latter in 1892, when he
bought the old Jack Adams farm of 163 acres. This is
very valuable land, being also favorably located midway
between the Van Reed paper-mill and the Bern church. He
was a most worthy member of Hain's Reformed Church,
and at the time of his death was valued in that connection.
He was a man of excellent business ability, was a director
of the school board of Bern, and took a deep interest
in educational affairs, and in the welfare of his community.
At one time he was the Democratic nominee for Poor
director. He had been identified with the Berks County
Agricultural Society from its inception, and was keenly
interested in its work. During the Berks County Fair
in the year prior to his death, he was one of the super-
intendents of stock. His judgment on all agricultural
matters was considered rehable. He was widely known,
visiting the Reading market daily where he served a large
milk route for twenty-eight years.

On Nov. 12, 1859, Mr. Bickel married Angeline F.
Werner, daughter of Thomas and Kate (Fidler)- Werner,
and a history of the representative Werner family will be
found elsewhere. The children born to Mr. and Mrs.
Bickel were : Henrietta m. William Henning ; Thomas Wel-
lington resides at Shillington; Ellen lives in Toledo, Ohio;
Mary m. Evan P. Christ ; Moses A., who farms for his
mother and looks after his late father's estate, m. Hannah
Boyer, and they have had two sons, Paul I. and Raymond
(died aged ten months) ;• Jonathan died aged two years;
Eva m. Thomas R. Gring; Charles, a most exemplary
young man, met death with his father ; and Millie K.,
Ulysses Werner and Agnes E. reside at home.

On Oct. 8, 1904, Mr. J. Isaac Bickel and his son Charles
were driving home from Reading. They occupied a spring
wagon, to which two horses were attached. At Leiss'
Crossing, on the Pennsylvania Railroad, the north-bound
express train struck the team, killing one of the horses,
and throwing the occupants out. Charles Bickel was killed
instantly, but the father was brought to Reading Hospital,
where he was able to give his name before lapsing into the
unconsciousness from which he never awoke. Both father
and son were laid to rest in the cemetery of Hain's Church.
The double funeral was the largest ever held at this
church, 368 vehicles being in the funeral procession.



4G3



HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



WILLIAM FRANKLIN WEBER, alderman of the
Eleventh ward, Reading, Pa., has for many years been a
popular and useful citizen of that city, and has frequently
received the endorsement of her people at the polls.

Anthony Weber, grandfather of William F., was born in
1797, and died in 1843. He was the owner of a small farm,
in Germany, and he also followed the occupations of
butcher and brewer. He married Marie Schneckenberger,
and they had children as follows : Fidel; Martin, a brewer;
Rosalia, who was married and lived in Germany; Maximil-
ian, a shoemaker, who came to America in 1849 ; Marcus,
a wheelwright, who came to America in 1855 ; and Am-
brose, a miller and machinist of Reading", who came to
this country in 1866.

Fidel Weber, father of William F., was born in Wurtem-
berg, Germany, Aug. 14, 1826, and came to this country in
1850. Before leaving the old country he had learned
lock-smithing, and after settling in Reading, was employed
at his trade, at the Reading Railroad shops. By faithful
and diligent service he was transferred to the machine de-
partment of that company, and was employed there con-
tinuously for fifty-one years. In 1903 he was placed on
the pension roll. Mr. Weber always took a deep interest
in public affairs and was an ardent and earnest advocate
of good government and permanent improvements. He was
a Democrat in politics and represented the Second ward
in the common council in 1871, and the Tenth ward in
the school board during the year 1875. While attending to
public duties, Mr. Weber never missed a meeting, and
could be relied upon as being an honest and faithful public
servant. From the time he reached the voting age he
never missed an election and took untold interest in his
party. Mr. Weber was also interested in building associa-
tions, and during his time was president of more than
twenty, of which the most important were the Ringgold,
Germania, Columbia, Homestead and Fidelity Associations.
He resided in the Second ward forty years, and for the
last thirty-one lived at No. 239 South Tenth street.

On Sept. 12, 1852, Fidel Weber married Amelia Went-
zel, daughter of John and Elizabeth (Body) Wentzel, and
they became the parents of the following children: Alfred
died at the age of four; James and Ida died in infancy;
Edwin Harrison died in October, 1902, aged thirty-six
years, leaving a widow, Sarah (Lincoln) and three chil-
dren, Harry. Robert and Irene ; John M. is a machinist with
the Philadelphia & Reading Company; William F. ; Emma
m. Newton Knerr, of Philadelphia; Henry is foreman in the



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 122 of 227)