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 152 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 152 of 227)
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tled on a farm at Redland, Adams Co., Pa., nfear Lit-
tlestown. He married Margaret Rosenberger, and
they h^d the following children: Henry R., M'ary,
Margaret, Lizzie (a teacher at Littlestown, Pa.), and
Magdalena (who died young).

Melchior Nicks lived to be ninety years of age, and
during the last twenty years of his life was blind.
He understood the profession of veterinary well, and
his services were often solicited by his neighbors.
Mr. Nicks was possessed of wonderful psychic powers,
and, although blind, could tell by touch the ailment
from which an animal was suffering. He was also
a gifted mathematician, and in his blindness was able
to make all kind of difficult calculations. For in-
stance, he could tell by mental calculation, at any time
of the day, his own age in minutes and seconds, or
that of any friend who would give him the date of
birth and the hour of the day. His powers were
very remarkable.

Henry R. Nicks came to America with his father
in 1842. He worked on his father's farm in Adams
county, attending school whenever opportunity offered,
and teaching in his early manhood. In 1856. after
strenuous endeavor, he was able to enter the junior
class of Franklin and Marshall College, and gradu-
ated in 1858 with honors, being the salutatorian of
his class.



After graduating from college he continued to teach,
filling important stations at Limestoneville and Me-
chanicsburg. Having the ministry in view he had com-
menced a course of study in the theological seminary
at Mercersburg, when he was called, through Rev.
Dr. E. V. Gerhart, to come to Kutztown and open a
classical school. On Nov. 15, 1860, he located at Kutz-
town and opened what was known for a number of
years as Fairview Seminary, in what is the beautiful
mansion of Thomas S. Fister, immediately south of
the borough. Here he began with five pupils, and
for a period of months it was a severe struggle, and
a problem as to the success of the venture, but hard
work, sound scholarship and superior teaching ability
won, and by the spring of 1861 the school had been
placed in a flourishing condition and continued until
pupils overcrowded the school quarters and the town
became filled with boarding students. The success was
phenomenal, and by 1863 Professor Nicks began to
look around for permanent quarters, and through his
efforts a sufficient amount was subscribed to erect
what was known as Maxatawny Seminary, which
stood where the Principal's office of the Keystone
State Normal School is now located. These schools
were the beginning of the Keystone State Normal
School, and Professor Nicks was the real founder. He
broke the soil and sowed the seed, and others came
to reap. He led in the work of raising stock to enlarge
the institution and turn it into a State Normal School,
and if it had not been for his work and the confidence
which his success inspired, there would to-day be no
State Normal School at Kutztown.

When the Normal School was organized in 1866 he
accepted the position of associate principal and pro-
fessor of higher mathematics, and filled same with
great efficiency until 1867, when he accepted the prin-
cipalship of Palatinate College, Myerstown, Pa., now
Albright College. This position he held for seven
years, and during his incumbency the institution was in
a very flourishing- condition — Failing heaLth^ however,
compelled him to resign in 1874, and thus ended his
career as a teacher. The remaining days of his life he
spent on the farm, known as the old David Levan farm,
where he died Oct. 16, 1903, and he lies buried in Hope
cemetery. He was an educator of rare ability, un-
tiring, thorough and, withal, tactful. He had few
equals in the work of inspiring pupils with noble zeal
and lofty ambition, and many there are who rise and
bless him' for his noble work.

Professor Nicks married Sarah Levan, daughter of
David and Lydia (Jarrett) Levan. David Levan was
a son of John Levan. who was the grandson of Jacob
Levan, the immigrant, and one of the most promi-
nent early citizens of this section of the county. The
children of David Levan were: Anna Eliza m. James
G. Treichler, a well-known farmer and business man of
Kutztown; Sarah m. Henry R. Nicks; Alvin m. Anna
Weidner, and died at Kutztown in 1888. Professor
Nicks and wife had three children, namely: Annie, m.
to Nicholas Rahn; Mame, m. to Dr. Oscar W. Sellers,
of Philadelphia; and David Levan.

David Levan Nicks, an expert civil engineer at Kutz-
town, was born April 8, 1869, at Myerstown, Pa.,
and was educated at the Keystone State Normal
School and at Lafayette College, from which he grad-
uated in 1899. During 1890 and 1891 he was employed
by the Pennsylvania Schuylkill Valley Railroad Com-
pany, and from 1902 to 1904 by the Lehigh Engineer-
ing Company, Allentown, Pa. For one year he was
also in the employ of the United States Bureau of
Forestry, and was stationed in the Adirondack Moun-
tains and in the State of Maine. For the past three
years he has been in the employ of the city of Reading,
being one of the resident engineers in the department
of public improvements.

On Oct. 23, 1900, Mr. Nicks married Annie E Stoudt
daughter of Francis and Catherine (Emore) Stoudt'
and they have one child, Jarrett Levan, born Oct is'
1901.



550 HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA

GEORGE F. HAGENMAN, a leading member of until 1883, when he declined. For twenty years he was
the Berks county Bar, and a most public-spirited and chairman of the high school committee, and he advo-
progressive citizen of Reading, was born Alarch 9, cated better buildings and more modern heating ap-
1857 and died one of the victims of the wreck of the pliances. In recognition of his valuable services the
special train bearing the members of Rajah Temple board named the J. Hagenman School Building after
of the Mystic Shrine in California, May 11, 1907. him. He served the county commissioners as solicitor
Judge Jeremiah Hagenman, father of the late George for a number of years, and about 1860 he was instru-
F , was born in Phoenixville, Pa., Feb. 6, 1820, son of mental in having them to allow half of court fines to
Jeremiah F. and Mary H. (Idler) Hagenman, 'who be appropriated toward establishing a law^ library for
came to this country from Wurtemberg, Germany, in the Bench and Bar in the court house. This was done
1816, shortly after their marriage. The family lived in for five years, and a Law Library Association was
a little house near the Phoenix Iron Works for a num- incorporated, which now has a valuable library,
ber of years, the father winning their support by his In 1889 Judge Hagenman was elected president of the
work as a nail packer in the neighboring nail works. Keystone National Bank, and he held that position until
They moved to Reading in 1836, and there the father, his death March 36, 1904. He belonged to the Odd Fel-
Jeremiah F., died in 1856. He was a Democrat in lows, being affiliated with Salome Lodge, No. 105, I.
politics, and a Lutheran in religion. Flis wife, Mary O. O. F.; and Reading Encampment. No. 4S. He was
H. Idler, lived to the advanced age of ninety-three prominent on the Council of Grace Lutheran Church,
years. Their three children were: Lewis; Jeremiah; In 1850 Judge Hagenman was married to Louisa
and Mary (Craig). E. Boyer, daughter of George Boyer, who was a mem-
Judge Hagenman procured his preparatory educa- ber of Trinity Lutheran Congregation, and who took
tion in the schools of his native town, and when old an active part in the erection of the church building
enough began to assist his father in the nail works, in 1791. To Judge and Mrs. Hagenman was born
But the whole course of his life was altered by an one son, George F.

accident. He was out with. a number of companions George F. Hagenman was educated in the Reading

for the purpose of gathering hickory nuts; they came high school, and then took a three years' private course,

to a tall tree and this it was decided young Hagenman his mother's delicate health making him unwilling to

should climb and then shake off the nuts. In some leave her the length of time required for a collegiate

way he lost his hold and fell, breaking his arm. and course. It was this same thoughtful, chivalric con-

although the fracture was set and did not seem severe, sideration for others that characterized his entire life,

the bandages were left on too long, and amputation and endeared him to all who came in contact with him.

became necessary. Now, unfitted for manual labor. After completing his literary studies, he pursued a law

he determined to enter the legal profession. He con- course, reading under the direction of the late Henry

tinned his studies until old enough to teach, in the C. G. Reber, of Reading, and he was admitted to the

meantime assisting his father packing nails. In June. Bar of Berks county Jan. 22, 1881. and later to the

1S36, at Phoenixville, he began teaching, and at the Supreme, Superior and United States District Courts,

end of three months removed to Reading, where he He practised alone until 1889, when he formed a

was also engaged in teaching, and at the same time partnership with his father under the name of J.

pursued some of the higher branches of study until Hagenman & Son and this was terminated only with

he was nineteen years of age. He then began the the death of the senior member. Father and son

study of law under the direction of the Hon. Peter showed a marked resemblance in disposition and in

Filbert, teaching occasionally, and he was admitted to tastes. Both were sternly just, yet their mercy tem-

the Bar April 7. 1842. In the following autumn he pered justice — both loved their profession, yet in their

opened an office in Reading, and entered upon a sue- love never lost sight of its mission, and never through

cessful general practice, which he conducted success- legal technicalities were blinded to the welfare of the

fully for seventeen years. At the end of that time community.

he was elected additional law judge for Berks county Like his father Mr. George F. Hagenman was a

for a term of ten years. In 1875 he was elected presi- Democrat, and was active in party work. He was

dent judge, and in 1879 re-elected. elected county solicitor a number of terms, and

Soon after his admission to the Bar Judge Hagen- acquitted himself with honor. For seven years he was

man began to be actively interested in politics, and a member of the school board, taking a deep interest

until his elevation to the Bench was very prominently in the cause of education. For a number of years he

identified with the Democratic party. He was a dele- was a director in the Keystone National Bank,

gate to a number of State conventions, and was a mem- Mr. Hagenman had long taken an active part in

ber of the convention that nominated Horatio Sey- Masonry, in which he had attained the Thirty-second

mour for President in 1868. He was the first incum- degree. He belonged to Lodge No. 62. F. & A. M.,

bent of the office of district attorney elected in 1850, Reading; was past high priest of Chapter No. 152,

and at the end of three years was re-elected. He was Royal Arch Masons; was past commander of De Molay

elevated to the Bench as stated above, and his duties Commandery, No. 9, K. T, ; and a member of Rajah

thereon terminated in 1890. His career on the Bench Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S. He was also affiliated

was an honorable one, and rarely, indeed, were any with the Odd Fellows,
of his decisions reversed in higher courts, though some

of the cases tried before him were of the most notable DR. PHILIP M. ZIEGLER died at his home No.

in the history of the county. Among these may be 524 Franklin street, Reading! Nov. 23, 1907, after a long

incntioned the Hunsecker case, brought over from life devoted to ministering to the sufferings of man-

Schuylkill county. This trial continued for thirteen kind. He was born near Annville, Lebanon county,

weeks, and in the course of the argument one of the Jan. 11, 1834, a representative of the fourth generation

attorneys cited the opinion of Judge Woodward, which of the family in America, his great-grandfather Philip

was in opposition to that of Judge Hagenman. The Ziegler, having come to this country from Switzerland

latter indicated his decisive character by replying: in 1734 and located in Berks county.

"I am responsible for my opinion; Judge Woodward Dr. Ziegler's parents. Philip and Catharine Ziegler,

foi his." moved from Lebanon county to near Mastersonville'

Judge Hagenman was for forty years interested in Lancaster county, when the Doctor was but a bov

the public schools of Reading. About 1846 he became He attended Mt. Joy Academy and Lititz Academy

a director in the Southeast ward, serving several years. Returning then to Mt. Joy he read medicine under

In 1858 he was elected to represent the same ward Dr. J. L. Ziegler, and after a course at the Pennsvl-

(afterward the Third and then the Fourth) nn the vania Medical School, graduated from that institution

school board and was afterward re-elected each term in 1859. I-Te located for practice in Elizabetht6wn



BIOGRAPHICAL



551



Lancaster county, and won a high place in the estima-
tion of the people.

The Civil war broke out, and he became an assistant
surgeon of the 62d Pa. V. I., and in that capacity
served until the close of the war. When peace was
declared, acting under the advice of the regimental
surgeon. Dr. Kerr, he applied for a commission as
surgeon in the regular army, but while this was pend-
ing, he purchased the drug store of Dr. J. Heyl Raser,
at No. 526 Penn street, Reading, Pa. His commission
arrived in due time, but he resigned it out of considera-
tion to his family and his new enterprise, and continued
in the drug business until his death, a period of more
than forty-two years.

Dr. Ziegler was by profession a Presbyterian, and
was one of the organizers of Olivet Church, at Read-
' ing, being elected an elder of same. He labored
earnestly and efficiently in developing the congregation
and placing it on a sure foundation. While at school
he had become proficient in the classics, and never al-
lowed this attainment to suflfer by disuse. As a teacher
of the Bible class in his chosen church, no matter
what other helps he might use, his scholars received the
benefit of his study of the lesson in original Greek.
Though a man of warm impulses and kind heart, the
decisiveness with which he expressed his convictions —
and they were never wavering — often gave color to a
severity not intentional. Eminently successful in his
business, his prosperity was based as much on his
unflinching honesty as on sound business principles
so that his store became known for honest drugs.
Purity rather than price influenced his purchase, and
if a salesman deceived and ventured to trade with him
again, he found his reception very frigid, and if he
persisted the interview would be terminated abruptly
in a most startling manner. He was bashful in every-
thing that called notice to personal merit, and seemed
uncomfortable when paid a compliment. The earnes.t-
ness with which he regarded everything in life was
stamped on his countenance, giving it a look of
severity, yet no man could laugh at a clean joke more
heartily than he. While he undoubtedly felt much
satisfaction in having been an officer in the Union
army, he seemed to think the part he played was too
humble to publish by joining any of the organizations
based on army service, and it was a long time before
he would consent to be mustered into Gen. William
H. Keim Post, No. 76, G. A. R., and just the year be-
fore his death he became a companion of Pennsylvania
Commandery, Military Order of the Loyal Legion. He
was one of the founders of the Reading Hospital, and
among its most liberal contributors, and for many years
was its treasurer and a manager until his business in-
terests interfered. He was conducting his business
with his usual energy, when suddenly stricken, and
the whole community was shocked to hear of his
death.

On July 13, 1871, Dr. Ziegler married Sarah Ann
McFarland, daughter of William and Elizabeth (Arbuc-
kle) McFarland. To this union were born two children:
Howard P.; and Stella, wife of Dr. William W. Livin-
good, of Reading. He is also survived by two sis-
ters, Mrs. Catharine Geib and Mrs. Isaac Zook, of
Mastersonville, Lancaster county.

CHRISTIAN H. RUHL, attorney at the Reading Bar
since 1875, and President of the Berks County Trust
Company since its organization in 1900. was born at
Carlisle, Cumberland county. Pa., Aug. 7, 1853. He
was educated in the local schools, and at Dickinson
College, from which institution he was graduated in
1874. During his course of study in the College he
had entered the law offices of Charles E. McLaughlin,
Esq., at Carlisle, for the purpose of taking up the prac-
tice of law as his profession, and shortly after his
graduation was admitted to the Cumberland County
Bar (Aug. 24, 1874). Having decided to locate in a
larger county, he selected Berks county for his field



of practice and removing to Reading was admitted to
the Bar April 15, 1875. He gradually secured an in-
creasing .practice by his careful attention to business,
and when James N. Ermentrout, Esq. (member of the
law-partnership of Daniel and James N. Ermentrout),
was elevated to the Bench Jan. 1, 1886, his senior part-
ner. Hon. Daniel Ermentrout (then in Congress from
the Berks District), selected Mr. Ruhl to take the
place of his brother, and formed the partnership of Er-
mentrout & Ruhl ; and this partnership continued in
a very active and successful practice until the decease
of Mr. Ermentrout in 1899.

Mr. Ermentrout having been prominently identified
with the political aflfairs of the county during this
time, the legal business of the firm was attended to
almost wholly by Mr. fiuhl. Their business embraced
an extensive practice in all the local courts, and the
prosecution of numerous cases and the settlement of
intricate estates having involved much litigation, he
came to attend the terms of the Supreme court an-
nually during the week set apart for Berks county. He
began his practice before the Supreme court in 1877.
The State reports during a period of thirty years
show cases annually which were represented by Mr.
Ruhl, either for the plaintiff or for the defendant, and
the paper-books display his great care and ability in
the preparation of his legal contests. Besides appear-
ing before the Supreme and Superior courts of the
State, he has also had considerable practice before the
District, Circuit and Supreme courts of the United
States, which has given himi a wide acquaintance with
the legal profession in many States of the Union. He
has been a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Associa-
tion for many years. In 1904 he represented the asso-
ciation as one of the delegates to the Universal Con-
gress of Lawyers which assembled at St. Louis, Mo.;
and in 1905 to the American Bar Association which
assembled at Narragansett Pier, R. I. During this
time, from 1898 to 1905, he officiated as the Register
in Bankruptcy. From; the time of locating in Berks
county, Mr. Ruhl has taken an attive part in local
politics with the Democratic party and exerted a large
influence throughout the county in the nomination of
candidates for office.

Mr. Ruhl has been identified with different financial
institutions of this community, either as counsel or
director, for many years: National Bank of Boyer-
town. Wbmelsdorf National Bank, and East Reading
Electric Street Railway Company. H'e was one of the
organizers of the Berks County Trust Company in
1900, and has since officiated as its president; also
of the Reading Glove & Mitten Manufacturing Com-
pany in 1898, and has since served as a director.

In 1878," Mr. Ruhl was married to Elizabeth K.
Runkle, daughter of John Runkle, of Reading, manu-
facturer for many years, who died in 1904, aged eighty-
seven years. They have been active members of the
First Presbyterian Church since their marriage. He
served as a trustee of the congregation and as su-
perintendent of the Sunday-school for many years.
They also co-operated heartily in the successful estab-
lishment of the Homeopathic Hospital in 1888, and the
Young Women's Christian Association in 1898, Mr.
Ruhl serving the former as secretary for five years,
and as president for twelve years, and the latter as
president since its organization.

Mr. Ruhl's father, jfesse Ruhl, was born in 1812, in
Lancaster county, near Mt. Joy. He was a year old when
his parents moved to Cumberland county, about three
miles east of Carlisle, and engaged in farming. Upon
the decease of his father, he carried on the farm until
1865, when he removed to Carlisle, and lived there in
retirement until his death in 1891. He was married
to Mary Ann Gladfelter, daughter of George Gladfelter,
of York county, and they had four children: Joseph
(farmer on the homestead) ; George (for many years



553



HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



in business at Carlisle and died in 1906); Catharine (m.
to John H. Strickler) ; and Christian Henry (the subject
of this sketch).

His grandfather was Christian Ruhl, born in 1751
in Lancaster county, and brought up to farming. He
removed to Cumberland county in 1813, and besides
carrying on farming was also engaged in lumbering,
milling and distilling until he died in 1850.

His great-grandfather was also named Christian, born
in Lancaster county, followed farming, and died in
1829.

His great-great-grandfather emigrated from Holland
in 1743, and settled near M'ount Joy, in Lancaster
county.

WILLIAM RICK, Mayor of Reading for the term of
1008-11, was born July 28, 1875, at the village of Millers-
burg, Bethel township, Berks county. He acquired his
preliminary education in the local schools and at the
Keystone State Normal School, after which he entered
Muhlenberg College at Allentown, Pa., and remaining there
three years, was graduated in June, 1893. He then be-
gan the study of law by registering as a student in the
law office of Jacobs & Keiser, at Reading, and on Nov.
11. ISOt), was regularly admitted to practise before the
courts of Berks county. He then went to the Yale Law
School, and graduated in 1897. Immediately beginning
active practice, he has continued with increasing success
until the present time, his offices being at No. 526 Court
street. Shortly after entering upon his legal practice, he
identified himself with the Republican party, and in ap-
preciation of his services was given the appointment of
deputy controller of Berks county by Joseph N. Shomo,
who was appointed on May 22, 1901, by the Governor,
as the first controller of the county, a position which
he filled until Jan, 6, 1902, In 1904 in the organization
of the school board of that year, Mr. Rick was elected
school solicitor of the Reading school district, and served
for the term of 1904-'07,

In 1908 Mr. Rick was nominated for mayor of Reading
on the Republican ticket, being chosen in preference to
several other candidates. His Democratic opponent was
Edward Yeager, wto had been Mayor three years before,
and who was popular with the community. .A. vigorous
campaign was waged, Mr, Rick conducting much of it
himself and making numerous speeches. Though Read-
ing was normally Democratic by about 500, Mr. Rick
was triumphantly elected mayor by upwards of 1.800
majority, being the youngest candidate ever elected to
that position. Shortly before his inauguration he formed
a law partnership with Frederick W. NicoUs, under the
title of Rick & Nicolls. and, though he spent part of his
time in attending to his law business, devoted himself
principally to the intricate municipal affairs of the city.
One of the most remarkable local improvements during
his term was the completion of the Spring street subway,
connecting the northeastern section of the city with the
north central, and greatly expediting traffic and transpor-
tation which had formerly been almost impossible between
these districts except by a circuitous route.

Mr. Rick has always had a good business head, and
it is as a business lawyer, seeing the common sense
side of the law and discarding its technicalities and in-
equalities, that he has been particularly successful. His
conduct of city affairs thus far has also been on a strictly
business basis, as well as of absolute integrity. His busi-
ness capacity is evidenced by his connection with a num-
ber of local enterprises, being a director of the Berks



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 152 of 227)