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 142 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 142 of 227)
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of the future possibihties of any particular section of
the city, makes him one of the strongest real estate men
in the city. The firm also does a large business in fire
insurlance.

Mr. Luppold is a man of family. He married, June 21,
1901, Miss Cora K., daughter of Morris H. Boyer, a
larmer of Amityville, Berks county. To them have come
two daughters, Helen B. and Ahce B., now (1909) six
and three years old, respectively.

In the public life of the city, Mr. Luppold has taken
an active part ever since he can remember. He is an
ardent Democrat, and as president of the Northeastern
Democratic Club gives much attention to the interests
of his party, in both the local field and the larger state
and national. For a period of five years he has repre-
sented the Ninth ward on the school board, and gave most
intelligent attention to the interests of education through-
out the city, which may be truthfully said to possess one
of the best school systems in the country. At present he
is serving his second term as city assessor, having- iirst
been elected to that responsible position in February, 1905,
and re-elected in February, 1908.

Mr. Luppold is affiliated with several of the best fra-
ternal organizations, among them being the P. O. S. of A.,
of which he is treasurer, and the Maccabees. His re-
ligious life has been passed in the St John's Lutheran
Church, where he is one of the influential and active
members.

Life means to us all that which we would have it
mean. It is true that untoward circumstances seem at
times to thwart our best efforts, but no man is the "vic-
tim of circumstances" for any great length of time, un-
less he wills it so. This, in brief, is the philosophy of
William H. Luppold, who by reason of energy and will
power is one of the leading men of his city.

JOHN WEILER, publisher, of the Reading Post, the
Deutsche Eiche and Die Biene, is one of the best known
men in newspaper circles in Reading. He was born April
17, 1852, in Essingen, Oberamt Aalen, Kingdom of Wurt-
emberg, Germany, and was educated in the cornmon and
high schools of his native land. After several years'
employment in the post-office at Stuttgart, he came to
America in 1872, and in the same year entered the service
of William Rosenthal, at that time the owner of. the
Reading Post, as collector. He then, after a short time,
became a reporter, then editor, then manager, and finally
for the past fifteen years he has had general supervision
of the establishment. In June, 1908, he purchased the
Reading Post printing establishment from Mr. Rosenthal,
and in less than one year, after making great improve-
ments, the business had been more than doubled. The
Post had been published for forty years when it came
into the possession of Mr. Weiler. It is the -oldest German
daily paper in the State of Pennsylvania outside of Phila-
delphia and Pittsburg, and its readers include all classes
of the German speaking population, by whom it is regarded
as the best public medium of communication.

Mr. Weiler also publishes two other papers — Die Bienc
is a weekly containing entertaining and instructive mat-
ter for the numerous subscribers ; and the Deutsche Eiche
is the organ of the German Order of Harugari, and is
an eight-page weekly edited personally by Mr. Weiler.

Notwithstanding the vast and responsible work entailed
by the publication of three papers, Mr. Weiler has always
had some time to spare for matters of public interest, and
he has taken great pride in the development of his
adopted town, and he has given much time to furthering
•the interests of the city. He is an active member of the
Reading Press Club, and has officiated as its president
for several terms, and he is also connected with all the
German organizations in the city, and is a member of
Teutonia Lodge, No. 367, F. & A. M., which he has served
as master.



Over thirty years ago Mr. Weiler was married to Miss
Louise Hansen, who died in 1907. He has three sons :
Philip A., owner of the Keystone Electric Company;
George Fred, an electrical engineer; and Harry H., asso-
ciated with his father and thoroughly interested in news-
paper work.

SAMUEL K. SPANG, sou of Jacob K. and Sarah
(Kauffman) Spang, was born at Hamburg, Pa., Jan. 14,
1868. He was educated in the schools of Reading, in-
cluding a business course in the Interstate Commercial
College, and upon finishing his preparation; assisted his
father for six years as clerk, etc., in the business of
manufacturing charcoal iron at Lenhartsville, Berks coun-
ty, where his father conducted an old-established
iron works. In November, 1891, he became a clerk m
the office of the Reading Trust Company, and after fill-
ing this position very satisfactorily until December, 19.03,
the directors selected hinj as treasurer of the company,
which responsible position he has since held.

Mr. Spang was married in 1900, to Ella Rick, daugh-
ter of Cyrus Rick, who was for many years cashier of
the Farmers' National Bank of Reading. They have
three children: Emily R., Mary R. and Charles R. Mr.
Spang is a member of Trinity Lutheran Church, Reading.
He has officiated as secretary of the congregation for four
years.

His great-grandfather, Frederick Spang, was a prominent
iron manufacturer in Oley township before 1800, having
then become the owner of the Oley Forge along Mana-
tawny Creek, and operated it very successfully until his
death. He was succeeded by his son Jacob S. Spang,
and by his grandson Jacob K. Spang. For many years
the plant was known as the "Spang Forge," and the set-
tlement came to be called Spangsville.

LEONARD M. "RUTH, cashier of the Wernersville
National Bank, of Wernersville, Pa., was born in Lower
Heidelberg township, son of James H. and Catharine
(Dundore) Ruth.

Leonard Ruth, Mr. Ruth's great-grandfather, was a son
of Michael Ruth, and carried on farming near Hain's
Church. He married Elizabeth Weinhold, of Cumru (now
Spring) township, and they had ten children, four of
whom died in infancy. The others were : Isaac, Josiah,
Levi, Elizabeth, Michael W. and Leonard.

Michael W. Ruth, son of Leonard, was a farmer of
Lower Heidelberg township. He was born in 1830, and
died in 1905. He married Catharine Hain, daughter of
John Hain, and she died shortly after her husband's death
at the age of seventy-four years. They had six child-
ren: James H. (father of Leonard M.) ; Frank P. (died
young) ; J. Hain (m. Mary Moyer, and after her de-
cease Jennie Rothenberger) ; Ellen (m. Samuel R. Fisher) •
Emma (m. Garson M. Huyett) ; and Mary (died young)'.

James H. Ruth, father of Leonard M., was born in
Lower Heidelberg township in 1852, educated in the local
schools, and brought up to farming, which occupation he
has followed up to the present time. He officiated as
a school director of the township, for three terms, and
also as treasurer, deacon and elder of the Hain's Church
for nine years. He married Catharine Dundore, daughter
of John D. and Sarah A. (Scholl) Dundore. Mr. Dun-
dore was brought up on a farm in Bern township, and
carried on farming operations in Lower Heidelberg town-
ship. Mr. Ruth had six children: Leonard M.; Jennie (m
Amos Yoder) ; and Elizabeth, Ellen, Laura, and Mary'
all of whom are single. '

Leonard M. Ruth was born Aug. 2, 1875, and was edu
cated in the local schools. He graduated from the West
Chester State Normal School in 1895, and then 'taught
public school for eleven years— in Lower Heidelberg
township four years, and as principal of the Robesonia
high school for seven years. Upon the organization of
the Wernersville National Bank in 1906, he was chosen
one of the directors and cashier, and he has officiated
as such until now in a highly satisfactory manner



520



HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



In 1904 Mr. Ruth was elected treasurer and deacon in
the Hain's Church, and served as such for two years.
He was one of the charter members of the Citizens' Hose
Company No. 1, for the protection of the people of the
village from fire, and has since maintained an active
membership.

Mr. Ruth married Laura E. Mengle, daughter of Sam-
uel G. and Agnes (Shoup) Mengle, of Lower Heidelberg
township. Mrs. Laura E. Ruth was born Oct. 19, 1875, in
Muhlenberg township.

The great-grandfather of Mrs. Laura E. Ruth was
Daniel Mengel, of Richmond township. He married Su-
sanna Kind, and they both lived to the age of eighty-
seven years. They were the parents of eighteen child-
ren, one of whom, Samuel, was the grandfather of Mrs.
Ruth. He was a farmer in Maiden-creek township, and
he married Henrietta Gerhard, of Alsace township, by
whom he had four children, Nathaniel, David Llewellyn,
Rebecca Jane and Samuel G.

Dr. Samuel G. Mengle, father of Mrs. Ruth, was born
April 19, ISJO, in Ontelaunee township. He was educated
in the local schools, and graduated from the Jefferson
Medical College, of Philadelphia, in 1S70. On Jan. 1, 1S73,
he married Agnes Shoup, daughter of Richard Shoup,
and Ihey had four children, Stella, Laurant, Laura and
Carrie, all but Mrs. Ruth dj'ing young. Mrs. Agnes
(Shoup) Mengle, the mother of Mrs. Ruth, was born
Dec. 24, 1854, in Cumru township, was educated in vhe
local schools, and died in 1883. Two year» after the
death of Mrs. Mengle, Dr. Mengle moved to Peru, 111.,
where he married a second time, and where h^ is nuw
practising medicine.

Richard Shoup, the maternal grandfather of ]Mrs. Ruth,
was a farmer of Cumru township, who died in 1896. at
the age of sixty-seven years. He married Elvina Gcr-
hart, daughter of John B. Gerhart. of Lower Heidelberg,
by whom he had one daughter, Agnes. After the death
of Elvina (Gerhart) Shoup in 1866, Richard Shoup mar-
ried (second) Kate Lamm. They had three children,
Thomas, Emma, and Adalaide.

John B. Gerhart, the maternal great-grandfather of. Mrs.
Ruth, married Sarah Kline, and had five children: Elvina,
Sarah, Ellenora, Rebecca, and John K.

Owing to the early death of her mother, Mrs. Laura
E. Ruth, at the age of seven years was placed into the
care of John K. Gerhart, and his sister Rebecca. She
was reared in Lower Heidelberg township, educated in
the local schools, and for a few terms attended Al-
bright College, Myerstown, Pennsylvania.

GUSTAVUS ANTHONY NICOLLS, for many years
prominently connected with the Philadelphia & Read-
ing Railroad Company, and one of Reading's most dis-
tinguished citizens, was born April 3, 1817, at Abbey
View, Thomastown, County Kilkenny, Ireland. He was
the eldest child of Colonel William Dann Nicolls, of the
English Royal Artillery, who married Maria Graves,
daughter of Anthony Graves, a land proprietor in Coun-
ty Kilkenny, Ireland. Three children were born to Col-
onel and Mrs. Nicolls: Gustavus Anthony, born April
3, 1817; William Jasper, born in 1824 at Exeter, Eng-
land ; and Maria Anne, born in 1825 at Woolwich. The
Nicolls family is descended from John Nicolls, of Ar-
ran. in Strathmore, near Inverness, Scotland, born in
1540.

Like the uncle after whom he was named. General Gus-
tavus Nicolls, of the Royal Engineers, Mr. Nicolls^ was
intended for the army. His early education was direct-
ed with this in mind, under the personal supervision of
his father, and later he was a student for some years
at the Waterford Classical and Mathematical Academy, an
institution noted for the scholarship of its pupils. He
finished his schooling at the Wanstead Military College,
near London. His proficiency in all branches of math-
ematics .was well shown in his subsequent success in civil
engineering. It was his father's wish to have him sent
to the East Indies immediately upon the conclusion of
his student life, and his uncle. Sir Jasper Nicolls, who



had served with distinction in South America and India
and was then commander-in-chief in India, promised to
give him an appointment as aide-de-camip on his per-
sonal staff. But the young man had other ambitions,
and believing that the United States oflfered a more con-
genial field for his talents and energy left for this coun-
try, sailing from England in September, 1834.

Arriving in Philadelphia, Mr. Nicolls studied law for
a time in the office of Plenry M. Phillips. In April,
1835, he was appointed a rodman in the engineer corps
of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company, and
in 1836 was promoted to assistant engineer, taking charge
of the completion of a section of railroad between Doug-
lassville and Exeter. In 1837 he became principal as-
sistant and was stationed at Reading, and the next year
he became superintendent of transportation, holding that
position for eight years, until 1846. He then became
chief engineer and general superintendent of the com-
pany, holding both positions for thirteen years, by the
end of which time the duties had become so arduous
that it was necessary to divide the work, and Mr. Ni-
colls chose the position of general superintendent. He
served as such from that time until February, 1871, when
he was appointed to act also as president's assistant.
This change made it necessary for him to remove his
residence from Reading to Philadelphia where he resided
until his return to Reading in May, 1877. Meantime, in
1873, he was elected second vice-president of the com-
pany, and was unanimously re-elected to that position
in 1875 and 1876. In 1877 the positions of first and
second vice-president were abolished, and then Mr. Ni-
colls was elected president of the following branch rail-
roads of the company: Reading & Columbia, East Penn-
sylvania, East Mahanoy, Allentown, and Chester & Del-
aware River. In 1876 he was chosen president of the
Susquehanna & Tide Water Canal Company. These var-
ious positions he continued to fill, by annual re-elections,
until his death. He was in the employ of the Philadel-
phia & Reading Railroad Company for over fifty years,
and his ability, energy and integrity could have no bet-
ter witness than his long retention in the various po-
sitions to which he was chosen.

Coming to Reading in 1836, at the very dawn of the
great developments which have taken place through the
combination of iron, coal, and steam, Mr. Nicolls was
foremost among the men who directed that develop-
ment, and his name will always be prominent among
the leaders of his day. During his unusually long term
of service with the Philadelphia & Reading Company,
covering over half a century, he saw the company ad-
vance from a modest beginning to colossal proportions,
and had the satisfaction of knowing that his interest and
energy had much to do with its growth and progress.
During his entire career as an official his constancy to
the interests of the company was a prominent character-
istic, and his intelligent, systematic management not on-
ly resulted in great financial benefit to the road but in
many other advantages, as well as in contributing to the
safety and comfort of its patrons. His courage and re-
source were never better shown than during the great
riots of 1877 at Reading, when the whole community
was aroused and alarnied over the rebellion of excited
and dissatisfied railroad employes. He was fearless in
occupying his prominent position at the passenger sta-
tion, giving valuable suggestions for the preservation
of the company's property and for the movement of
regular trains. His attachment to the companv was
no less marked than his consideration for its employes.
On one occasion during the riots he was endeavoring
to quell some disturbance, when one of the rioters said
to his companions: "Let's shoot that fellow!" "No,
that's Nicolls," said the strikers who knew him, "and if
you try to kill him, you must do it over our dead bod-
ies."

Though he was probably best known in his connection
with the Philadelphia & Reading Company, Air. Nicolls
was a nian too broad and widely sympathetic to confine
his activities to any one line. He was a director of the




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BIOGRAPHICAL



521



Reading Fire Insurance & Trust Company from the
time of its organization in 1868 until 1875. In 1862 he
was elected a trustee of the Charles Evans Cemetery
Company, and continued to serve as such until his
death. He was also a director of the Schuylkill & Le-
high Railroad Company. During the year 1882 the "Read-
ing, Marietta & Hanover Railroad"— a branch line of
the Philadelphia & Reading system— was completed main-
ly under his supervision. He was a charter itiember of
the Philadelphia, Reading & Pottsville Telegraph Com-
■ pany. In the organization of the company in ' 1847 he
was elected a member, of the board of managers, to
which position he was annually re-elected for a long period.

As a citizen of Reading Mr. Nicolls always manifest-
ed the keenest interest in its material development and
prosperity. Enterprises of various kinds received his
active encouragement. He assisted in erecting the cot-
ton factory and the steam forge shortly after 1850, two
large and costly establishmients which proved largely
instrumental in building up the respective sections of
Reading in which they were situated, affording constant
employment to many working-people.

In the Civil war period Mr. Nicolls showed himself thor-
oughly in sympathy with the Union. He attended and en-
couraged a number of public meetings held by prominent
citizens regardless of political affiliations, supported the
government by his voice and material aid, and was con-
stantly liberal in encouraging voluntary enlistments. When
the State was threatened with invasion in 1862 he enlisted
in Company E, 11th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer
Militia, commanded by Capt. Charles H. Hunter, and
served as a corporal. This Company was named after him,
being known as "Nicolls Guards." After the war he de-
voted miuch time and influence to commemorate the dis-
tinguished part which Berks county took in its successful
prosecution. In 1883 he prepared a suitable and superior
design for a monument, and suggested the center of
Penn Square as a proper place for its loca-
tion, believing that patriotism should be grandly typified
in the form of a "Soldiers' Monument" placed permanently
m the most prominent place in the community, where the
eyes of future generations could behold what their fore-
fathers had done to commemorate the services and sacrifi-
ces made by the people to preserve and perpetuate the
Constitution and the Union. In politics he was originally
a Whig, later a Republican. In 1864 Mr. Nicolls was
offered the 'nomination for Congress by the Republican
party, but his numerous business .duties, particularly
those concerning the Philadelphia & Reading Company,
made it imipossible for him to accept.

Mr. Nicolls was active in the various charities sup-
ported in the city. He was always a generous contributor
to the work of the "Reading Benevolent Society," of
which he served as president for eleven years, from
1860 to 1871. The Young Men's Christian Association
also found him a liberal- and ardent supporter of its work,
and he served as president for over two years, from
1880 to 1882. For a number of years be served as
one of the managers of the Reading Dispensary and of
the Reading Hospital. He served the "Home for Widows
and Single Women of Reading" as chairman of the
building committee in the erection of its handsome and
commodious stone structure; and the Reading Society of
Natural Sciences received his earnest support and at-
tention from the time of its organization in 1869 until
its dissolution in 1884. During this period one of its
most active members, Mr. Hiram Hollenbush, a few years
before his death made for Mr. Nicolls a cabinet contain-
ing a beautiful and complete collection of the various
kinds of woods found in Berks county.

For many years Mr. Nicolls was a vestryman of Christ
Episcopal Church of Reading. He served as a member
of the building committee which had charge of the alter-
ations of the church edifice when it was remodeled from
a brick building to the present beautiful and costly struc-
ture, which, with its towering and graceful spire, became
at once the most imposing house of worship in Reading.
He served as vestryman until 1871. From the time he



came here he was a devout and consistent member of the
Protestant Episcopal Church.

For over forty years before his death Mr. Nicolls was
-an indefatigable traveler. In 1848 he made a trip to the
British Isles which covered a period o'f three months,
during which he visited all the places of importance. In
1856, with a party of friends, he made a trip through the
South and also visited the Island of Cuba. While so-
journing in Cuba he addressed a series of letters to the
Reading Times which were published in that paper, nar-
rating the experiences of the party in that country, the
sights -observed, impressions received, and other inter-
esting material. In 1872 he visited all the countries of
Continental Europe. In 1878 he again went to the Coij-
tinent, visiting the Paris Exposition, England, Sweden
and Russia; some of his letters home were published on
account of the general interest they possessed and the
infoirmation they contained. In 1884 he again crossed the
ocean, spending several months in the British Isles.

In May, 1846, Mr. Nicolls married Rosa Catharine
Muhlenberg, daughter of Hon. Henry A. Muhlenberg, who
for a number of years was member of Congress from
this district, and who was also the first minister from
this country to Austria. He was at the time of his de-
cease, in 1844, the Democratic candidate for Governor.
Mrs. Nicolls, who died May 15, 1867, was a woman
highly esteemed for her intellectual superiority. She was
distinguished for her activity in charitable work in the
city, and during the Civil war was untiring in her efforts
in behalf of soldiers and their families who needed as-
sistance. She was foremost in the movement which re-
sulted in the formation of the first Ladies' Aid Society
in the country, served as its president from the time of
its organization until the close of the war, and was con-
stantly active in performing valuable services by collect-
ing useful materials and forwarding them to the men on
the field of battle, as well as in aiding the families of sol-
diers. Her kindness and devotion were highly appreciated,
and her name became proverbial in that connection among
the many who felt her unselfish and well-directed efforts.

In January, 1869, Mr. Nicolls married Annie Hall
Muhlenberg, daughter of Dr. F. A. Muhlenberg, of Lan-
caster, Pa. His only child, Fredericlc William Nicolls,
was born to this union Feb. 7, 1870. He is now actively
engaged in the practice of law in the City of Reading.

For many years Mr. Nicolls made his home at the
southeast corner of Penn and Fourth streets, Reading.
In 1870 he began the erection of the handsome and com -
modious double residence, three stories in height and con-
structed of sandstone, at the northwest corner of Wal-
nut and Fourth streets, the first costly improvement
of the kind in that section of the city. The plans he
prepared himself, and the building was put up under his
personal supervision. It was finished in 1871, and even
now, after the lapse of many years, is regarded as one
of the most dignified and tasteful homes in the city.

Though his schooling ended at the age of seventeen,
Mr. Nicolls by constant reading and study continued his
education until the latest years of his life. He was well
acquainted with the Latin and Greek classics, from which,
like English gentlemen of education, he was able to
quote freely, and could both read and speak French with
Sonne fluency. He was fond of English literature in all
its forms and was particularly versed in natural sciences
and mechanics, of which he had made a careful study.
He took a deep interest in the great discussion occasioned
by the publication of Darwin's works and was well ac-
quainted with most phases of the controversies in science
and religion, ,so characteristic of the latter part of the
nineteenth century. He collected a library of some three
thousand volumes, distinguished more for the variety and
solidity of the subjects than for the mere beauty of the
bindings.

He was a man almost six feet in height, erect in car-
riage, rather striking in appearance, and with a dignity and
courtesy of demeanor which marked him as the gentle-
man by birth and breeding. But though intellectually an
aristocrat, he was socially a democrat. He believed in



523



HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



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 142 of 227)