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 143 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 143 of 227)
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the true equality of man, and practised this principle
by being courteous to the humble, no less than to the
high, and by treating all men in the same manner.

Mr. NicoUs always kept the motto of his family, "Fide
et Industria," as the guiding rule of his life; and to this
influence his success may be attributed. Those who knew
him best know that his triumphs were the well deserved
rewards of constant and devoted labor, of untiring thought
and an unshrinking sense of duty. His name will ever
be associated with the development of the best that has
contributed to the growth of his adopted city, whether
from a material or educational standpoint, and his mem-
ory is held in profound respect in the many circles with
which he was identified.

WILLIAM O. HEINLY is the present publisher and
proprietor of The Hamburg Item, published at Hamburg,
Berks Co., Pa. He is a son of David L. and the late
Maria Heinly, of Reading, and was born at Evansville on
July 10, 1862.

The family locating in Hamburg when he was six years
of age, he received his education in the public schools,
leaving the high school at the age of fifteen years to
enter the office of The lion — then established but a few
years by Samuel A. Focht — to learn the printer's trade.
About 1880 he took a position in the office of the Reading
Eagle, later working in various job printing and news-
paper offices in Reading, AUentown, Mincrsville. and other
places, until he reached the foremanship of the job depart-
ment of the Reading Times,

In 1884 he associated himself with John B. Clevenstine
in the commercial printing and engraving business. After
six months the business was divided by mutual consent,
Mr. Heinly taking the engraving branch, and he continued
this for one year. On Dec. 1, 1885, he entered for the
first time the editorial field, assuming the control of the
Herald at Claremont, Va., where he continued for several
years, returning to the foremanship of the Reading Times
job department in 1887.

The death of Mr. Focht, the founder of The Hamburg
Item, in September, 1887, necessitated the sale of the
office to close the estate. Mr. Heinly purchased the
property in December of that year, and took personal
control at the close of the year. During the twenty-two
years of his ownership the scope and influence of The
Item have widened, the paper has been enlarged from
a small folio to a large quarto, the office expanding
from a hand operated press to cylinder presses, with
folding machine, type-setting machine and stereotyping
department.

Mr. Heinly has always taken an active interest in all
public matters pertaining to the development of the town
of Hamburg and community. He was the prime mover
through the newspaper in the organization of the Board
of Trade in 1889, and has served as its secretary from
its organization to the present. He is a member of the
Board of Health, and its secretary; he is the registrar of
District No. 227 of the Pennsylvania State Department
of Health ; served five years as school director, and
planned the present improvement of the school grounds ;
he is a member of St. John's Lutheran Church and its
vested choir; also of the Pennsylvania State Editorial
Association, the International League of Press Clubs,
and the Reading Press Club ; Hamburg Council, Royal
Arcanum; Synunetry Lodge, I. O. O. F. ; Arcadia Cham-
ber, O. K, F. ; Hamburg Castle, K. G. E. ; Ontelaunee
Tribe, I. O. R. M. ; the Brotherhood of Odd Fellows of
Boston ; the Hamburg Motor Club, and the Hamburg
Rod and Gun Club. He is also president of the Hamburg
Gas Company, and interested in various industrial
enterprises.

He is the father of two children, Esther and Raymond.
Plis wife died in February, 1903.

REV. FREDERICK BENDER HAHN, pastor of Faith
and St. James Reformed Churches, whose useful life was
brought to an unexpected and untimely close. May 1(3,
1901, was one of the best known ministers of his faith,



and was greatly beloved by all who came within the rad-
iance of his pure Christian life.

The Rev. Mr. Hahn was born in Plainfield. Northampton
Co., Pa., Sept. 8, 1847, son of Richard and Sophia Hahn,
pious, industrious people of the sturdy pioneer type. His
early education was acquired in the public schools of his
native town, and he afterward attended the Normal
School at Kutztown, graduating in 1869. For some time
then he studied in the Academy at Mercersburg, after
which he went to Lancaster and, entered Franklin and
Marshall College there, whence he was graduated in 1873.
Having determined to consecrate his life to the service
of his Master, he at once entered the Theological Seminary,
completing his studies there in 1878, in the spring of
which year he was examined and licensed by the Lan-
caster Classis, and then dismissed to St. Paul's Classis in
the Pittsburg Synod.

In 1878 he was ordained by St. Paul's Classis, and re-
ceived a call from the Reformed Church at Greenville,
Mercer county, where he served six years, and where he
accomplished the building of a much needed church edifice.
He was then one year in Mt. Pleasant, resigning to accept
a call to a broader field of work in Meadville, Pa., where
he labored three years. From Meadville he accepted a
call from the Board of Home Missions to become pastor
of the First English Reformed Congregation in Cleveland,
now known as the Hough Avenue Church, and there he
performed a very difficult work, being compelled to himt
for members of the Reformed faith all over the city,
finally beginning to hold service in a hall which he rented
at -one dollar per night. In every parish to which he
gave his services he accomplished much from his mis-
sionary work in all the territory round. He often preached
three sermons on. Sunday, besides conducting Sunday-
school, and this, in addition to visiting the sick, and per-
forming the countless tasks that fall to the lot of the
average minister, often left him tired and worn at night —
but never too tired to answer the call of the poor or
afflicted. In 1889 he resigned at Cleveland, and was made
pastor of the Kutztown charge, consisting of St. Paul's
Church at Kutztown, and St. Peter's Church at Topton.
In 1892 he resigned and moved to Reading, taking charge
of two congregations — Faith and St. James — and in this
field he closed his well-spent life, and his labors were
not in vain. It was largely through his personal eflfort
that the debt on St. James was paid, and both charges
were left in much better condition than when he became
pastor. In 1895 at the organization of Reading Classis,
the Rev. Mr. Hahn was elected stated clerk, and he served
most efficiently until his death. He was a hard and earnest
worker, promptly responding to the call of duty, and he
considered at no time his own comfort or well being.
Often when ill he was urged for his own good to abandon
some part of his work, but he always declined, and his
last labor was to assist a fellow worker by holding serv-
ice in Boyertown. In his school days he was an indus-
trious student, and the habits there formed clung to him
all his life. No time was wasted, every minute of his
waking hours was spent in accomplishing some part pf
the great work in which he was engaged. Little children
instinctively loved him, and he was never so happy as
when surrounded by them. Over thirty ministers of the
Reformed Church came to do him honor at his funeral,
as well as about a dozen ministers of other denomina-
tions. Interment was made in the Charles Evans cemetery.

The following resolutions were passed by the Joint
Consistory :

"Reading, Pa., Mav 21, 1901.

"Whereas, It hath pleased an all-wise Providence to re-
move bv the hand of death from our midst our beloved
pastor and friend. Rev. F. B. Hahn, be it

"Resolved. That we the Joint Consistory of Faith
Reformed Church of Reading, and St. James Reformed
Church, of West Reading, hereby express our humble
submission to divine will. That we acknowledge our
debt to him as friend and faithful pastor, who for eight
years preached to us the pure and simple gospel of Jesus
Christ, and led us in paths of justice, peace, righteousness



BIOGRAPHICAL



533



and truth. That we, in behalf of the congregations we
represent, do consecrate ourselves anew to the . work of
the Master whom he loved, with the determination, by the
help of this same jMaster, of making constantly and in-
creasingly effective his teaching and labors among us.
"Resolved, That we express our heartfelt sympathy
for the stricken family, so suddenly bereft of its head
and support, and. that we will keep them in remernbrance
as the widow and orphans of a good man, a dear friend
and a faithful pastor.

"Resolved, That copies of these resolutions be sent
to the bereaved family and to the Record.

"By order of the Joint Consistory,

"G. B. Trechsel, Secretary."
Faith Reformed Sunday-school passed the following
resolutions :

"Whereas, The great and supreme Ruler of the uni-
verse has in His infinite wisdom removed our worthy
and esteemed pastor. Rev. F. B. Hahn; and

"Whereas, The long and intimate relation held with
him in the faithful discharge of his duties as pastor of
this church and Sunday-school makes it eminently be-
fitting that we record our appreciation of him; therefore
be it

"Resolved, That his labors in church and Sunday-
school will long be held in grateful remembrance.

"Resolved, That the sudden removal of such a life
from our midst leaves a vacancy that will be deeply felt
by all the members and friends of the Church and Sunday-
school, and will prove a serious loss to the community
and public.

"Resolved, That with deep sympathy for the be-
reaved family and relatives of the deceased, we express
our hope that even so great a loss to us all may be over-
ruled for good by Him who doeth all things well.

"Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be spread
upon the records of the Sunday-school, a copy printed
in the local papers, and a copy forwarded to the be-
reaved family.

"Horatio Jones,
"A. L. Bush,
"G. B. Trechsel,

"Committee."
On June 4, 1878, Mr. Hahn was married to Miss Ella
R. Bridenbaugh, sister of Rev. Dr. S. R. Bridenbaugh, of
the Second Reformed Church. Six children blessed this
union, two of whom preceded their father to eternal life.
Those surviving are : Mary, Edith, Ruth and John. Mrs.
Hahn has been a tireless worker in the cause of Christ,
and was her husband's very able assistant in the up-
building of his parishes. Her charity is broad, and she
has proved herself a ministering angel in the homes of
those sore oppressed ; while her own home has ever been
open to the poor, the needy and the stranger.

JESSE F. BECHTEL, of Colebrookdale township, Berks
county, has long held an honored place in the education-
al world as a teacher, his enthusiasm and magnetic per-
sonality winning his pupils and carrying them brave-
ly forward along the path to knowledge.

The Bechtel family came to America from the Ger-
man Palatinate. "On Aug. 24, 1728, eighty Palatines
with their families, in all 205 persons, who shortly be-
fore, after a seventy days' voyage had arrived in the ship
'Mortonhouse' from Deal, Capt. John Coultas, in the
• harbor of Philadelphia, appeared in the halls of Justice
in Philadelphia to render the oath of allegiance to the
Crown of England, declaring it to be their intention
'to settle themselves in Pennsylvania.' The company
consisted of eighty males and sixty-nine females up-
ward of sixteen years of age, and fifty-six children. Among
the names of the adults belonging to this company of
emigrants we find the name of (I) George Bechtel, pre-
sumably the father of Isaac and Gerhard Bechtel, head-
ing the list." Tradition says he came from Weinheim,
Germany



The large German family Bible of George Becht el is
yet in existence. The Bible came into the hands ot Ger-
hard Bechtel, and is now in the possession of one of
his descendants. On the fly-leaf is written this note in
German : "Diese Biebel ist gedruckt in Deutschland im
Jahr 1720. Im Tahr 1730 ist sie George Bechte l von Sei-
nem Vater von Deutschland nach Amerika geschickt wor-
den. Zwischen den Jahren 1750 und 1760 bekam sie Ger-
hard Bechtel." ~

"In the course of time the early history of the family
has been so obscured in the mists of the past that a
clear conception and an unerring presentation of the
facts are well-nigh impossible. Among the lists of emi-
grants who came over in the same ship with George Bech -
tel are found the names of Noll, Baer, Roth, Stauffer,
Latshaw, Dgtterer, Huber. Heller, Brunner, many of
whose descendants still reside m" eastern Pennsylvania."

(II) Isaac Bechtel became a farmer arid miller, and
had his home in and near Bechtelsville, now in Wash-
ington township, Pa. Bechtelsville was laid out by his
son, John S. Bechtel. Isaac, Bechtel and both of his
wives are buried m the old Hereford Mennonite grave-
yard near Bally, Washington township, Berks county, Penn-
sylvania. His tombstone bears the following inscription:

Hier ruhen die gebeine

des verstorbenen

Isaac Bechtel's

er wurde geboren den

23ten tag Juny A. D. 1751,'^

und ist gestorben den

Sten tag April, im Jahr

1820. er brachte sein

alter auf 6g Jahre, 9

monat und 10 tage.
€elig sind die toden
die im Herren sterben.

Isaac Bechtel married (first) Esther Stauffer (1757-
1805), and to this marriage were born fourteen children:
Jacob S., born Oct. 9, 1774, m. Anna W. Bechtel; Mary
S., Born Sept. 22, 1776, m. Abraham Eschbach; Elizabeth
S., born Nov. 14, 1778, m. Peter Eschbach ; Nancv . S.,
born Nov. 2, 1780, m. Joseph Reif; Susaji S., born Oct.
6, 1782, m. William Johnson; Caiiifiline S., born Oct.
15, 1784, .n^. John Bahr; John S - born Feb. 21, 1786, m.
Maria Hoch; George S., born Feb. 22, 1788, m. (first)

Miss Bar to, and (second) ; Sally S., born Dec.

25, 1789, m. Henry Sassaman; Isaa£ S., born Oct. 18,
1791, m. (first) Polly Sassaman, and (second) Betzy
Kehl; EqUx S., born Aug. 30, 1793, m. Henry Oberholtz-
er; Abraham S., born July 20, 1795, m'. (first) Nancy
Bechtel, and (second) Hettie Springer; GethariS., born
May 3, 1797, m. (first) Maria Erdman, (second) Mary
H. Fronheiser, and (third) Christina Gruber; and Qaidd
S., born Sept JI4^ 1799, died Feb. 28, 1800. Isaac Bechtel
m. (second) {Barbara BitzJ To this union no children
were born.

(Ill) Gerhard S. Bechtel, son of Isaac, born May 3,
1797, died Oct. 8, 1881. By occupation he was a car-
penter, undertaker and farmer. As undertaker he had
charge of hundreds of funerals in his time in the lower
end of the county. He and his assistants made the cof-
fins by hand as needed. For many years he was land-
lord of the "Washington Hotel" at Eschbachs. He was
a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and wor-
shipped at St. Joseph's Church, commonly known as Hill
Church, Pike township, Berks county, and he is buried
in the family lot in the cemetery near the church. He
tnarried Mpr'"" ''^HTOiiin and they had four children, as
follows: (iT'Lydia E., born April 2. 1818, died Aug.
2, 1852, m. John M. Stauffer, sheriff of Montgomery
county from 1859-62, and their children were : Elvina,
Jacob B. (a soldier in the Civil war and now a clerk
in the Adjutant General's office, Harrisburg, Pa.), Mary
and Wesley B. (2) Mary E., born Oct. 23, 1821. died Feb.
19, 1878, m. Jesse B. Pennepacker, and they had one
child, Amos B. (3) Elizabeth E., born Augf. 4, 1826, died
March 15, 1871, m. George M. EschbacK and bad children :



524



HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



Mary, Henry, Amanda, Emma, Peter, Jeremiah, Diana,
George, Lovina, Jesse and Kate B. (4) Levi E., born
Dec. 23, 1823, died Dec. 25, 1905, m. Catharine Cleav-
er, and became the father of Hiram, Amos, Lovina, Aman-
da, Mary, Catharine, Sarah, Lizzie, Olivia, Frank and
Edwin C. Gerhard S. Bechtel m. (second) Mary H.
J^ronheiser, and the only child of this union is Jesse
prBechtel, born Sept. 16, 1S52. Gerhard S. Bechtel ni.
(third) Christina Gruber, and their three children, Abra-
ham, Amanda and Catharine G., are all deceased.

(IV) Jesse F. Bechtel, son of Gerhard S. and Mary
H. (Fronheiser), born Sept. 16, 1852, at Eschbachs, in
Washington township, married, Sept. 23, 1876, Mary A.
W, Pennepaclcer, born June 19, 1856, daughter of Eli
and Sarah (Wieand) Pennepacker, a distant relative of
ex-Gov. Samuel Pennypacker. Four children have bless-
ed this union: (l) Marie Cordelia P., born July 8, 1877,
is at home. (2) Jesse Luther P., born Dec. 30, 1878,
graduated from the Philadelphia Business College and
College of Commerce, and is now employed by the Boy-
ertown Casket Company, in their store at Philadelphia.
He married Anna C. Gansz. (3) Grace Agnes P., born
Dec. 17, 1880, married Harry B. Renninger, and has one
child, Mae B. Renninger. (4) Abram Grant P., born
March 2, 1887, is a graduate of the Pottstown Business
College, and is now at home.

Jesse F. Bechtel has resided at Gabelsville, in Cole-
brookdale township, since 1880, in which year he built
his present home. At about the age of seven years he
came to Colebrookdale township to live with his uncle
Jesse B. Pennepacker, with whom he made his home
for ten or twelve years,' working on the farm in sum-
mer and attending the public schools in winter. During
the fall of 1870 he attended the Kallynean Academy at
Boyertown, Prof. L B. Hankey, principal. The same
year he was licensed to teach, receiving his first certificate
from the late D. B. Brunner, the Superintendent of Pub-
lic Schools of Berks county. He taught his first term
1870-71 in Pike township, near Hill Church. During the
summer of 1871 he again attended the Academy. He
has taught in all thirty-six terms, all with the exception
of the first term, in Colebrookdale township, having been
engaged at the Cleaver's, Gabelsville and Weisstown
scTiooIs, and in several families he has taught three gen-
erations. He has taught tmder the following county
superintendents : Brunner, Baer, Keck, Zechman and Rapp.
Since 1887 he has held a Permanent Certificate, and since
1893 he has been a member of the Berks county Teachers'
Reading Union. For three years, 1872-75, he was a clerk
in a general store — one year at Pikeville and two years at
Gabelsville.

Mr. Bechtel is a member of St. John's Evangelical
Lutheran Church, at Boyertown, where for more than
ten years he has served as elder, and since 1897 as sec-
retary of the Church council. He has represented his
church as lay delegate to the meetings of the Ministerium
of Pennsylvania and adjacent Stales at Lancaster in 1897,
Easton. 1902, Philadelphia, 1903, and AUentown, 1908.
For nineteen years he has been superintendent of the
Sunday-school (Union) at Gabelsville. In politics he
is a Republican, and he has been a delegate to a number
of County conventions, twice a State delegate, and for
twenty-four years committeeman for Colebrookdale town-
ship. From 1894 to 1899 he served as justice of the peace,
and in 1880, 1890 and 1900 he was census enumerator.
Mr. Bechtel has a fine collection of Indian relics, num-
bering some 1,600 specimens, and most of these were found
in the immediate vicinity of his home in what is known
as the Popodickon Valley (named for the Indian chief
who once lived there), tie also possesses a unique Wash-
ington button, made many years ago. It bears the motto
"Long live the President" ; along the outside are the in-
itials of the thirteen colonies. In the inner circle are the
initials G. W. He finds great pleasure in his well chosen
library, and takes a great interest in local history.

The first Bechtel Reunion was held Sept. 23, 1897, in
the old Hereford Mennonite Meeting-house (since then
replaced by a new structure). The original meeting-



house there was built in 1755, and its quaint appearance
indicated its great age. It was a low wooden building a
little larger than an ordinary school house. The joists
upon which the roof rested extended far over the sides
of the building. This venerable building was occupied
by the Old Mennonites, who held services there over
140 years. Many of the descendants of the first Bechtels
worshipped there. Among the ministers who served this
congregation are a number named Bechtel; in fact, the
family has supplied a minister from almost every genera-
tion.

CHESTER B. CLEAVER, a well-to-do business man
of Reading, Pa., who has served as county commissioner
of Berks county, was born in Pleasantville, Oley town-
ship, Berks county, Nov. 21, 1855, son of Hiram K. and
Catherine (Bertolet) Cleaver.

Samuel Cleaver, grandfather of Chester B., was a
farmer and blacksmith all of his life in Oley township,
where he had settled at an early day. He was first a
V/hig in politics and later a Republican, and he and his
wife were members of the Lutheran church. They were
the parents of six children : Albert, Samuel, Hiram K.,
Sarah, Angeline and Hanna.

Hiram K. Cleaver was born in Pike township, and
while engaged in farming, also worked at the trade of
blacksmith, which he had learned from his father. He
owned property in Oley township, which he conducted
until his death in 1877, at the age of forty-six years. His
first wife died in 1857. They were the parents of three
children : Chester B., Annie and Amanda. Mr. Cleaver
was married (second) to Esther Greisemer, and there
were three children born to this marriage also: Rosella,
Catherine and Mary Ann.

Chester B. Cleaver was educated in Oley township, and
when twelve years of age entered his uncle's store at
Girardville, Schuylkill county, where he remained three
years. Then after five months' attendance at the State
Normal School at Kutztown, he entered his father's
store at Pleasantville. Three years later he engaged in
the store business at Spangsville, and after a few years
returned to farming. _ In 1879 he purchased scvcnty-one
acres in Oley township, his present home, and here he
carried on operations until 1906. He purchased three
more tracts, having in all 174 acres. In 1906 he was
elected county commissioner on the Republican ticket, an
office he filled with efficiency and to the satisfaction of
all concerned. For the past twenty-three years Air.
Cleaver has been engaged in a horse and cattle business,
and in 1900 he opened a sale, exchange and livery stable
in Reading, in which new enterprise he has been very
successful. Pie is known throughout the county as an
able and honorable business man, and his reputation is
above reproach.

Mr. Cleaver married Ellen B. Weidner, and to this
union there were born four children : Howard. Webster,
Warden and Mabel. INIr. Cleaver is liberal in liis re-
ligious b°lief. Fraternally he is connected with Chandler
Lodge, No. 227, of Masons.

FRANK ALFRED TOWNSEND, until Oct. 8. 1907,
one of the valued employes of the Reading Water Depart-
ment, holding the position of draughtsman in the oflnce
of the Superintendent and Engineer, Emil L. Nuebling, is a
product of Reading institutions, though not a native son.
He was born in Vincennes, Ind., May 18, 1876.

Townsend is an English name which has been prom-
inent in the life of America for many generations. It
IS not well authenticated just when the first of the name
landed on our shores, but it was very early. Of this
branch of the family, John Townsend, grandfather of
Frank A., lived and died a Lancaster county farmer, and
his son Robert A., the father of our subject, was a school
teacher m the same coiintv for some thirty-five vears
He died Oct. 4, 1902, at the age of fifty-nine veafs, as
the result of an explosion. He married Elizabeth Matil-
da Conroy, daughter of John Conroy, of Lancaster, who
now survives him. She became the mother of eight chil-



BIOGRAPHICAL



525



dren, of whom four are now deceased, as follows : Rob-
ert, Winiam, Edward and Laura. Those living are :
Roberta Ella, wife of Herbert A. Brown, chief train
dispatcher of the Texas & Pacific railroad at Marshall,
Texas; Thomas Walter, assistant baggage master of the
same road, at the same point; Sara Elizabeth, principal
of the public school at Tenth and Union streets, Read-
ing; and Frank Alfred.

Frank Alfred Townsend was carefully educated in the
public schools of the city, graduating from the high
school in 1896 in the English Scientific course, adding
also three years of Latin. The following year he took
a post-graduate course, and then accepted a position with
E. E. Davis, assistant superintendent of Motive Power
and Rolling Equipment of the Philadelphia & Reading
Railroad. Remaining in this position from July 1, 1897,



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 143 of 227)