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 134 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 134 of 227)
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frontage of fifty-three feet on the main street. He has
the leading mercantile establishment of the town, and car-
ries a complete, up-to-date line of goods, doing a strictly
cash business and enjoying the confidence of the com-
munity. Mr. Hassler is a Democrat in politics, and has
been greatly interested in public matters in Werners-
ville, and has served as postmaster thereof for four
years, during Cleveland's second administration. Frater-
nally he is connected with Lodge No. 62, F. & A. M.,
which he joined in 1876; Royal Arch Chapter, No.' 153,
R. A. M., which he joined in 1886; and DeMolay Com-
mandery. No. 9, K. T.. which he joined in 1892 He



BIOGRAPHICAL



495



joined Terre Hill Lodge, No. 454, I. O. O. F., in 1887,
and in 1892 was admitted by card to Wernersville Lodge,
No. 835.

Mr. Hassler married (first) Oct. 13, 1876, Adaline K.
Mentzer, of Stevens, Pa., born Nov. 27, 1855, who died
Aug. 31, 1878, leaving one daughter. Bertha May, born
July 29, 1877, who died April 26, 1882. Mr. Hassler m.
(second) Catharine E. Bucks, daughter of David and
Ellen (Hain) Bucks, and they have two children: Ralph
B., bom at Reinholds Station, Jan. 6, 1887, is assisting his
father in the mercantile business and on his own ac-
count is conducting the musical department in the same
establishment. He is a graduate of Wernersville high
school, class of 1905. Mr. Hassler's daughter, Ruth Irene,
was born Aug. 9, 1897.

BERTHOLD J. IMHOFF. Reading has among her dis-
tinguished men, Berthold J. ImhofI, artist, decorator and
frescoer, a man of genius who thoroughly understands his
art and makes a specialty of church and mural decorations.

On Jan. 14, 1868, Mr. Imhoff was born in Mannheim,
Germany, and was there educated, beginning to learn the
painter's trade when only fourteen years of age. For three
years he served an apprenticeship, then worked for others
for another three years, when he entered the College of Ob-
erwinter where he took a course in graining and marble
work. Once more he resumed working for others to gain
sufficient money to carry out his ambition, and when he
had accumulated enough he studied art at Halle-an-der-
Halle. On leaving school he became foreman for a large
decorating firm, and received large compensation for his
work. Still he was not satisfied, but entered the art insti-
tute at Karlsruhe. Baden, where he studied art in its higher
forms, and in March, 1892, he landed in America and lo-
cated in Ohio, where he worked for five months, and then
returned to Philadelphia where he believed there was more
appreciation to be found for his excellent work. While
in that city he was in the employ of Sima, and did some
of his best work. Once more he crossed the ocean, and
locating at Pforzheim, Germany, he engaged in business
for himself. There he remained until 1900, and during
that time he entered, in 1898, the academy of art at Diiss-
eldorf, where he studied figure work. Selling out his
business he returned to America, this time locating at
Reading, and purchasing a valuable property at the cor-
ner of Eleventh and Green streets he has established
himself in a very large business and is recognized as
the leader in art circles. His studio is 18x42 feet and
is specially arranged with regard to light and space. Five
artists work under his direction.

While Mr. Imhoff is so .well known as a decorator, he
is also an artist and one of his most famous paintings
is the Death of St. Joseph. The painting is 7x10 feet,
and the group includes St. Joseph, the Blessed Virgin,
Jesus and a ministeripg angel. Being a devout Catholic
Mr. Imhoff has handled the subject reverently as well
as artistically, with a due regard to coloring and back-
ground which makes it a masterpiece. Another very no-
table painting by this man of such diversified talents is
Jesus in the Temple, 4x6 feet. He has upward of one
hundred others, suitable for churches and private resi-
dences, and all display his wonderful power and his skill
at figure work.

Mr. Imhoff has frescoed over one hundred churches
since his return to Pennsylvania, among which mav be
mentioned : St. Stephen's Reformed ; St. Luke's and Trin-
ity, Lutheran; Salem Evangelical, of Reading, while
Columbia, Lebanon, Slatington, Phoenixville, Tamaqua,
Allentown, Pottsville, Wilkes-Barre, Williamsport, Ha-
zleton, York, Philadelphia, Mahanoy City, etc., have
had him decorate their handsomest places of religious
worship. Mr. Imhoff has also decorated the Academy
of Music, Masonic Temple, the residences of Ferdinand
Winter, Mrs. Catherine Archer, John Hendel, Rev. Fath-



er Bornemann, Mr. Isaac Frey of Douglassville, Pa., and
Mr. Sternbergh, of Reading, etc.

Some of Mr. Imhoff's masterpieces are to be found
in St. John's Catholic church at Pottsville; St. Mary's
Catholic church at York; German Catholic church at Ha-
zleton; Catholic church at Williamsport; Trinity Luth-
eran church, Reading; Lithuanian Catholic church, Ma-
hanoy City; Baptist church, Reading; Spies's Union church,
Alsace township; Reformed church, Hazleton; Lutheran
church, Myerstown; and St. Paul's church, Reading.
Of all these, St. Paul's church, Reading, is his master-
piece. The architecture of the church is Romanesque,
and this necessitated rich colors and heavy ornamenta-
tion. Above the main entrance is a picture representing
the parable of the Prodigal son. The center of the ceil-
ing shows three large compositions, 12x18 feet, "The Des-
cent of the Holy Ghost," "The Assumption of the Blessed
Virgin" and "The Coronation O'f the Virgin," these form-
ing the last three mysteries of the rosary, the preceding
twelve being depicted in the painted windows. There are
two other large compositions, "The Adoration of the Ma-
gi" and the "Death of St. Joseph"; eight panels, each con-
taining a single figure; small medallions showing the
symbols of the rosary and the instruments of the passion.
The sanctuary arch, as is fitting, is marvelous in both
execution and design. The main composition is 40x25
feet. In the center the risen Savior sits enthroned, and
on either side but a little below him are the Blessed Vir-
gin and St. John the Baptist. Between heaven and earth
is the Holy Spirit surrounded by the cherubim. On the
earth, grouped about the cross, are the apostles and evan-
gelists. Saints Peter and Paul standing a little higher than
the others. Other figures appear, all tending to bring
out more fully the subject of the whole composition, "The
Church of God." There are about fifty figures in all,
and they occupy five of the seven panels. In each end
panel ' is an angel, one bearing the pillar at which the
Savior was scourged, and the other the spear that pierc-
ed His side, and the sponge with which they quenched
His thirst. In this work Mr. Imhoff haS used the best
models, and his historical accuracy is above question.
If he left no other work than St. Paul's, Mr. Imhoff's
fame as an artist would be complete.

The delightful home of Mr. Imhoff is artistically treat-
ed, and is one of the most beautiful in the city. He car-
ried out his own ideas in its decoration and tried to re-
produce_ something of the style of the Fatherland in his
own residence. That the result is artistic and very pleas-
ing goes without saying.

In 1891 Mr. Imhoff married Matilde Johner, daugh-
ter of Joseph and Leopoldina (Helmuth) Johner. Jos-
eph Johner was Mr. Imhoff's teacher of painting at Bonn-
dorf. To Mr. and Mrs. Imhoff have been born these chil-
dren : Alexander, Hubert and Berthold, who were born
in Germany and are now deceased; Rosina; Paul, de-
ceased; Maria, George and Katharinn. The family are
all Catholics and belong to St. Paul's Catholic church.
In politics Mr. Imhoff is independent, preferring to vote
for the best man rather than be bound by party lines.

The family history of Mr. Imhoff is rather meagre,
although it is known that his grandfather was Leopold
Imhoff. Among the sons of Leopold Imhoff was Leopold
Imhoff, Jr., father of Berthold Imhoff, and he was an
Oberjager and lived in Karlsruhe. His wife was Ro- ■
sina AUgeier, and their children were : Alexander, Leo-
pold, Berthold and Max.

There are very few men in America who are so well
fitted by nature and training to represent the true artis-
tic preceptions of the people as Mr. Imhoff. Combined
with his high artistic sense of the true values, he has a
thoroughly practical conception of the requirements of
his business and his results fully justify his methods.
Mr. and Mrs. Imhoff are the center of a circle of charm-



496



HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



ing people, whose appreciation of art and higher culture
makes them delightful companions, and the artist and his
wife dispense to them and their other friends a delight-
ful hospitality, that makes their home a favorite gather-
ing place. The young people are already displaying in
marked degree talent in several directions which will un-
doubtedly be fostered by their parents who thoroughly
recognize the value of careful training under proper in-
structors.

GEORGE de BENNEVILLE KEIM, one of the dis-
tinguished sons of Berks county, for many years a resident
of Philadelphia on account of his prominent connection
with the Philadelphia & Reading railroad, was born in
Reading Dec. 10, 1831. His father was Hon. George May
Keim, who for thirty years was prominent in the financial,
industrial, military and political life of Reading, in which
city his lineal antecedents had been prominent since 1755.

George de B. Keim received his preliminary education
in the local schools and at Georgetown College, District
of Columbia, and at the age of fifteen years entered the
sophomore class in Dickinson College, where he was grad-
uated in 1849. Having become much interested in the
subject of chemistry, he took a practical course in the
laboratory of his first cousin, Dr. Charles M. Wetherill,
of Philadelphia, with special reference to the analysis of
minerals ; but after a year's study in the laboratory he
decided to turn his attention to the study of law. He
entered the office of Charles Davis, Esq., a successful
attorney at Reading, with whom he remained two years,
and on April 8, 1852, he was admitted to practice before
the several courts of Berks county.

Mr. Keim found his ability recognized and almost im-
mediately entered upon busy practice at Reading, which
continued for three years, when his father induced him to
remove to Pottsville, in order to look after large interests
in coal lands in Schuylkill county, which were owned by
his father together with Dr. William Wetherill, Jacob W,
Seitzinger and others. Upon removing to that place he
was admitted to practice before the courts there and he
made a special study of coal land titles, and naturally many
prominent coal land owners became his clients, bringing
him both reputation and increased emolument. Some years
later when the Philadelphia & Reading Company decided
to control the coal trade by securing important tracts of
land and organizing a coal and iron company, Mr. Keim's
comprehensive knowledge of the situation and recognized
ability were so highly appreciated that he was selected to
be the company's solicitor for that section of territory:
and his identification with the company's affairs continued
from that time, with increasing prominence, for twenty-
five years.

In 1875 he was appointed general solicitor of the com-
pany, and as the offices were located in Philadelphia he
removed there with his family. His professional services
iri the management of the law department were of the
highest order, and the company retained him in this im-
portant position for eight years, until 1883, when he was
elevated to the office of vice-president. Before and about
this tirne the company was involved in so many financial
difficulties and embarrassments, that it was forced into the
hands of receivers. Mr. Keim was appointed one of the
three receivers, and he filled the important position with
great credit for four years, when the receivership was
terminated. He and his associates were highly com-
plimented for their skill, energy and devotion in restoring
the solvency of the company. In a re-organization of
the inter-related affairs of the railway and coal and iron
company, he became the president at different times, espec-
ially from 1881 to 1886, and 1888 to 1891, being obliged
to retire from the active management of the complicated
affairs of these two gigantic corporations on account of
ill health. In 1888 he was also chosen one of the directors
of the Baltimore & Ohio railroad, continuing to serve on
the board until his decease in 1893. His brother-in-law.
Charles F. Mayer, was then and had been for some years
president of that company. Mr. Keim's grandfather,



George de B. Keim, who for many years was a prominent
hardware merchant and financier of Reading, was one
of the incorporators in the founding and establishing of
the Pliiladelphia & Reading railroad; and his uncle, Wirt
Robinson, was on the staff of engineers who built the
road.

The criminal prosecution of the "Mollie Maguires" by
the Philadelphia & Reading railroad in the coal regions
was a most laborious and hazardous undertaking, and the
president of the company, Franklin E. Gowan, Esq., not
only accomplished a brilliant success in destroying this
malicious and nefarious secret society, but displayed ex-
traordinary and well directed courage. In his great
endeavors and final success, Mr. ■ Keim was of much
valuable assistance to him in the preparation and direction
of the cases, although not publicly concerned in the note-
worthy trials.

Historical matters relating to his native county and State
received Mr. Keim's early attention. In 1853, shortly after
his admission to the bar, he identified himself with the
Historical Society of Pennsylvania, at Philadelphia, and
he continued in active membership for forty years, having
officiated as first vice-president from 1868 until his death,
a period covering twenty-five years. He was also a mem-
ber of the Sons of the Revolution; of the American Phil-
osophical Society; and he was one of the directors of
the Finance Company of Pennsylvania, at Philadelphia,
which he assisted in re-organizing. While residing at
Reading, from 1849 to 1855, he took an interest in local
matters and joined the militia and the volunteer fire
department. He was possessed of a truly sociable nature,
which he displayed at all times in a straightforward, un-
pretentious manner. He was very fond of both literature
and art, and owned a large library of valuable books,
while the numerous choice paintings which adorned his
home, at No. 2009 De Lancy Place, gave evidence of
culture and critical artistic taste. After his death, Mrs.
Keim donated all of his Americana, comprising historical
works of great value and numbering about a thousand
volumes, to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

In 1853 Mr. Keim married Elizabeth Cocke Trezevant,
only daughter of Dr. Louis Cruger and Elizabeth Marion
(Cocke) Trezevant, of Charleston, S. C. The latter was a
daughter of BuUer and Elizabeth (Barron) Cocke. Mrs.
Keim's father was the only child of Hon. Louis Treze-
vant, a justice of the Supreme court of South Carolina, and
his wife Henrietta Morrell (Nethercliffe) Trezevant, of Sa-
vannah, Ga. To Mr. and Mrs. Keim two daughters were
born : Julia Mayer and Susan Douglass. The latter mar-
ried William Lyttleton Savage, of Philadelphia, son of
William L. and Sarah (Chauncey) Savage.

Mr. Keim died Dec. 18, 1893, and his remains were inter-
red in the Keim lot in the Charles Evans cemetery, Read-
ing. His death elicited many testimonials of regret and
condolence, which were highly complimentary to his life
and character.

DREIBELBIS-DREIBELBIES. * The early home of
this family was in southeastern Switzerland, in the part
originally a portion of the German Empire.

(I) John Jacob Dreibelbis (Dreibelbies) came to Ameri-
ca from Hannesthal, Switzerland, crossing the ocean on
the ship "Mary" from London, and landing at Phila-
delphia Oct. 26, 1732. Its passenger list showed sixty-
nine male passengers over sixteen years of age, and one
hundred and twenty-two women apd children. It is
probable that John Jacob was single. He used to say in
the spring of the year, "now the Rhine is overflowing,
because of the snow melting on the Alps." The exact
date that he settled in Berks county is uncertain, but in
1743 he settled on the farm located about a quarter of a
mile east of Fleetwood, now the property of Milton
ShoUenberger. This farm originally consisted of 157
acres, but it has since been divided into two farms, one
now owned by Charles Leibelsberger. On the part owned
by Mr. ShoUenberger John Jacob Dreibelbis built the first
set of buildings near a spring of fine water, which the



BIOGRAPHICAL



497



Indians named "Dreibelbis ispring.*" This spring and
the streams in that vicinity were alive with brook trout
until some time before the Civil war. Jokn Jacob Dreibel-
bis was a farmer and became a very extensive land owner.
In 1759 he was the largest tax payer in Richmond town-
ship, paying a federal tax of thirty pounds. On April 11,
1752, he obtained by warrant from the State two tracts
ofland located in Richmond township, Berks county, one
being for fifty acres and the other for one hundred. On
Feb. 3, 1753, he obtained a warrant for one hundred acres,
and on April 12, 1753, for five hundred acres. In appear-
ance Mr. Dreibelbis was small and of dark complexion,
with black eyes and hair, indicating that he was of Jewish
extraction, as were the Kelchners, Wanners, Biebers and
one family of Merkles in the same vicinity. He died in
1761. He married either a Merkle or a Rothermel, probably
the first mentioned and daughter of Georg Merkle, and
his six children, three sons and three daughters, were :
Abraham; Martin; Jacob; Mary Elizabeth m. John Wan-
ner; Mary Magdalena m. (second) Martin Wanner; and
Phiiibena, who went with her brother Martin to Schuyl-
kill Haven, m. William Koch, and her three daughters
married, respectively, a Huntzinger, a Rausch and a
Holler. .The last will and testament of John Jacob
Dreibelbis, made Feb. 5, 1761, and probated Feb. 21, 1761.
is written in good English and is on record in Will Book
1, p. 94. To each of his three sons he gave a farm, and
to each of his daughters 150 pounds in lawful money. "My
oldest son Abraham shall have all that tract ir( Rich-
mond township, 157 acres." "My executors shall build
a house for my son Martin on land given him lying on
the Mesilm (Moselem) Road. The house must be 30 feet
long and 24 feet wide." "My executors shall also build
a house for my son Jacob, on land bequested to him
near the road leading from Eastown to Reading." And
lastly I will and do order that my younger children
shall be taught to read and write." The will is signed
by the testator in good legible German. The executors
were Abraham' Dreibelbis and "my loving and trusty
friend George Merkel." John Jacob Dreibelbis was buried
in a private graveyard on the Shollenberger farm. He
has no tombstone, but his grandson Daniel who is also
buried there has a marble tombstone. A number of the
early members of the family are buried in this neglected
spot.

(II) Abraham Dreibelbis, eldest son of John Jacob,
was born about 1749, and died in December, 1803, and
is buried in the same cemetery as his father. He was en-
gaged in farming on the homestead, and at his death
left a large estate. By his wife, Ahna Margaret, he had
six children: Daniel obtained the homestead; Abraham ob-
tained the grist mill; Peter received 300 pounds gold
and silver money; Maria Barbara married John Haak;
Isaac and Joseph. The last three — Maria Barbara, Isaac
and Joseph — were each bequeathed 900 pounds of money.

(III) Joseph Dreibelbis, son of Abraham and Anna
Margaret, lived in the hills about Fleetwood. He died
at Fleetwood, and is buried in the Dreibelbis private bur-
ial ground. His children were: Daniel, Abraham, Reuben,
Isaac, Rebecca, Susan, Stephen and Mary.

(IV) Daniel Dreibelbis, son of Joseph, had a small
farm in Ruscombmanor township, on which he lived. He
is btft-ied at Friedensburg. He married Sarah Heater,
who bore him nine sons and two daughters, as follows :
Joel, Isaac, James, Orlando, Jonathan, Daniel, Ephraim,
Solomon, Samuel, Luzetta and Lizzie.

(V) Isaac Dreibelbis, son of Daniel and Sarah, was
born Jan. 9, 1839. He is a farmer by occupation, and lives
in Rockland township, Berks county, near where Oley,
Ruscombmanor and Rockland townships meet. In 1859
he married Hannah Heck, and their children were: Isaac
H., Katie, Mary, Lydia, Annie, Louisa and four that died
young.

(VI) Isaac H. Dreibelbis, son of Isaac and Hannah, was
born at Fleetwood, Oct. 10, 1864, and' is now a successful
business man in Reading. In 1895 he married Mary Kate
Bernhard, widow of Thomas Leinbach, and they have
one son, Isaac Franklin.

32



(II) Martin Dreibelbies, second son of John Jacob, was
born in "Mosselem" in Richmond township, Oct. 5,
1751, and died at Schuylkill Haven, Pa., in 1799. In
1775 he moved to Manheim township across the Blue
Mountains in Schuylkill county (then Berks), where he
was the founder of Schuylkill Haven. He opened up
many enterprises and became very prominent. He mar-
ried Catharine, daughter George Markel ' (Merkel), of
Richmond township, and their children were : Jacob m.
Margaret Mush ; Daniel m. Christina Leise ; George _ m.
Mary Magdalena Weber; Mary m. Jeremiah Reed; Eliza-
beth m. John Hughes; Catharine m. Michael Moser; Re-
becca never married; and Christina m. Benjamin Pott,
founder of Pottsville, Pennsylvania.

(III) George Dreibelbies, son of Martin, married Mary
Magdalena Weber (or Weaver), who lived to the age of
eighty-eight years. He is thought to have died in young
manhood, and it is probable that both are buried at Friedens
Reformed Church, on the banks of the Little Schuylkill,
where many of their descendants are also buried. Among
their children was a son George.

(IV) George Dreibelbies, son of George and Mary Mag-
dalena, was born June 1, 1808. He married Anna Heisler
(also spelled Heysler), a sister of Rev. Daniel Yost Heis-
ler, D. D. (the latter an intimate friend of Dr. Henry
Harbaugh). Mrs. Dreibelbies was born March 20, 1810,
and she became the mother of fifteen children: The eldest
died at birth Jan. 10, 1829; the second, born Oct. 7, 1830,
lived but three hours ; George Washington, born Oct. 6,
1831; Maria Carolina, Aug. 28, 1833; Sarah, May 2, 1835;
Daniel, Feb. 10, 1837 (lived in Kansas) ; Rebecca, Aug. 1,
1838 (m. Daniel Freeman, of New Ringgold) ; Jacob Ed-
ward, Feb. 15, 1840; Lewis Martin, Sept. 7, 1841; Catha-
rine Maria, Oct. 7, 1843; William H., Oct. 1', 1844; Ben-
jamin F., March 25, 1846; Joseph, April 17, 1848; Alfred
H., July 12, 1850; and Sarah Louise, Oct. 24, 1851.

(V) George Washington Dreibelbies, son of George
and Anna, born Oct. 6, 1831, married Rebecca Sassaman,
of East Brunswick township, Schuylkill county. They
had three children : Henry, of New Ringgold, Pa. ; Cor-
dilia (Nester), of Geneva, N. Y. ; and Mary (Bachman).

(V) Jacob Edward Dreibelbies, son of George and
Anna, born Feb. 15, 1840, now lives at Lehighton, Pa.,_ to
which place he removed after the death of his wife,
March 7, 1872. He is a tanner by trade, and his appren-
ticeship was served at New Ringgold. When the Rebellion
broke out he enlisted from or near there. On his re-
turn from the service he married, and settled at Tama-
qua. Pa., working in what is known as the Anderline
tannery. His -wife was Catherine Bankes, daughter of
Andrew and Katharine (Paul) Bankes, of what was popu-
larly called "Es Rothe Thai" — the Red Valley — ^below
New Ringgold. The branch of the Lehigh Valley Railroad
leading from' Lizard Creek Junction to Pottsville goes
through the old home. They had children as follows :
Rev. George A. ; Ambrose Eldrid, of Lehighton, Pa. ;
Carrie Joanna, a foreign missionary; Lewis Daniel, of
Perth Amboy, N. J.; and Mary Elizabeth, who married
Thomas C. Catelle, of Wilmington, Delaware.

(VI) Rev. George A. Dreibelbies, son of Jacob
Edward and Catherine, was born at Tamaqua, Pa., Oct.
14, 1862, and is now located at Shanesville, Tuscarawas
Co., Ohio. His early boyhood was passed in his native
place, and there he received his first schooling. He was
but nine when his mother died and was buried at New
Ringgold, and his father removed to Lehighton. Young
George was placed with the David Wertman family for



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 134 of 227)