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 154 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 154 of 227)
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Western soil, and raised very large crops. He also
engaged in stock raising, meeting with great success.
He purchased his land at several dollars an acre, and
commenced raising alfalfa, which greatly enhanced
the value of the land, and his real estate speculations
always were profitable. During the winter of 1898-99
Mr. Dietrich came East, and, becoming ill, decided to
remain in the region of his nativity. Until the spring
of 1907 he resided on South Third Street, in Hamburg,
and he then located in Reading, where he purchased
a fine home at No. 1019 Franklin street. He is now
living retired. Mr. Dietrich has been twice married.
In 1859 he married Catharine Raub, daughter of Leon-
ard Raub, and to this union were born children as fol-
lows: Sarah died aged twenty-two years; William L.
lives at Sweetwater, Buffalo Co., Nebr.; Lucinda C.
died in her fourth year; Emma R. rri. Wellington
Moser, a native of Columbia county, and they now live
at Turbotville, Northumberland Co., Pennsylvania.

In 1900 Mr. Dietrich married (second) Lizzie Hoff,
of Hamburg, daughter of John and Ellen (Gehris) Hofif,
of Reading.



(II) Johann Michael Dietrich, the sixth child
of Adam the emigrant, was born April 6. 177'5, and died
near Klinesville, on his large farm in Greenwich town-
ship now owned by Daniel J. Fraunfelder, June 19,
1861, aged eighty-six years, two months, thirteen days.
He married Sophia Brunner, bdrn in Greenwich, Nov.
8, 1779, died Sept. 23, 1863, aged eighty-three years, ten
months, fifteen days. They are buried beside each
other in the graveyard at Lenhartsville. They were
devout Lutherans, and he was a foremost member
of the Lenhartsville church, serving the congregation
faithfully as an official many years. He helped to
build the church in 1856 and gave liberally toward its
erection. Michael Dietrich, as he was known, began
farming on a large tract located midway between Len-
hartsville and Virginville, on the Ontelaunee. This
farm is now owned by a Luckenbill. On April 14, 1814,
he bought a 156-acre tract from George and Eva
Heinly, located in Greenwich, one mile east of Klines-
ville. Here he built a big stone house and greatly
improved the land. On Aug. 15, 1853, he sold this
farm to his son Michael for $3,600 in gold or silver.
Mdchael Dietrich and wife remained on this farm until
they died. Some of their children were born at this
place. i

After the father's death Michael Dietrich, Jr., lived
on the farm, and on April 17, 1867. sold it to his son
Eli for $6,660. Eli Dietrich in 1882 traded the farm
to Henry Fraunfelder, for a 117-acre farm in Maxa-
tawny. located to the right of the main road leading
from Eagle Point to Kutztown. Here Eli has since
lived and prospered. The "Dietrich Farm," as it is
still known locally, is one of the best farms in the
township, and is bounded by lands of other Dietrichs.

Sophia Brunner, wife of Johann Michael Dietrich, was
a devout Christian. She read her Bible daily and
taught her children the love of the Master. She liked
to collect relics, and had many old dishes, coins, etc.
The children of Michael and Sophia Dietrich were as
follows: (1) Maria Barbara (Polly), born Jan. 2. 1799,
died June 11, 1877, m. Christian Braucher. (2) Michael,
born May 12, 1801. died, July 14, 1880, married Hannah
Will. They had these children: Catharyn, Mary, Wil-
loughby, Caroline, Benneville, Abby, Anna Caroline and
Eli. (3) Daniel is mentioned later. (4) Lydia, 1805-
1863, m. Daniel Stump. (5) Betsy m. John Kistler
(6) Hannah, 1808-1886, m. Samuel Kunkel. (7) Sallie,
1810-1895, m. Jonas Wiesner. (8) Catharine m. Nathan
Kistler. (9) Heinrich ("Harry"). •

(IV) Benneville Dietrich was born in Greenwich
township June 15, 1836, son of -(HI) Michael, Jr., son
of (II) Johann Michael, son of (I) Adam the 'emi-
grant. He was reared to farm, life in his native town-
ship. In 1868 he came to Albany township, where
he purchased the farm of ninety-five acres on Pine



556



HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



creek now owned by Mrs. Braucher. This farm he
cultivated some twenty-four years, operating at the
same time a sawmill. Benneville Dietrich was a vet-
eran of the Civil War. going forth to do battle under
the flag in Company K. 170th Pa. V. I. With his
family he belonged to New Bethel Lutheran and Re-
formed (Corner) church. He is described as of sturdy
build, and wore his red beard long and flowing. He
married Matilda, daughter of Christian Braucher. Mrs.
Dietrich was born March 22, 1835, and died Feb. 13.
1907, aged seventy-one years, eleven months, twenty-
two days. To her were born six children, noted as
follows: Mary m. Clayton Smith of Sellersville, Pa.;
William L., of Sittlers, Schuylkill county, m. Emma
Smith, who died in 1907, the mother of Jennie, Mamie.
Annie and Sallie (twins), Irene and Frank; Daniel
O., of Watkins, N. Y.. m. Esther Robinson, and they
have Samuel, Oliver and Clayton; Charles W.; Sarah
Jane, born 1871, died when less than a year nld; Jon-
athan p., a blacksmith at Tamaqua, Pa., m. Clara Ely
(no issue). The father of this family died July 26,
1887, at the comparatively early age of fifty-one years.
(V) Charles W. Dietrich was born March
22, 1868. in Albany township. He passed his life to
the time of his majority on the home farm, acquiring
such education as the country schools afforded. Upon
attaining his majority, he served the farmers about
the neighborhood for five years, and then took up
residence on his present farm in 1894. The farm had
been owned by his father-in-law, Dav,id S. Kamp. and
consists of seventy-nine acres, twenty-nine of which
is woodland. To this Mr. Dietrich has added a tract
of 136 acres of wooded land adjacent. One of the
particularly strong points of this farm is the excellent
and abundant water supply. Mr. Dietrich built a barn
in 1889, and in 1896 a substantial frame farm-house.
These, together with other minor improvements, have
greatly increased the value of the farm. General
farming is carried on by Mr. Dietrich and with a
success which always attends earnest and persistent
agricultural effort in Berks county. He is an influential
member of the Democratic party in his locality, and
has at different times served as delegate to county
conventions. He is now serving as registry assessor
of the district, having been elected at the spring elec-
tion of 1909. In a social way he affiliates with Wash-
ington Camp No. 288, P. O. S. of A., at Steinsville,
and the Independent Order of Americans. Lodge No.
544, at Kempton. He and his family are members of
the New "Bethel (Corner) church, which Mr. Dietrich
has served three terms as deacon.

Mr. Dietrich married. Oct. 10, 1891. Amanda E.
Kamp. only child of David S. and Fianna (Berk)
Kamp, of Albany township. Their children are: Ida
N., who graduated from the public school of Albany
at the age of twelve; Oscar J., Mabel F. and Edna M.

(Ill) Daniel Dietrich, son of Johann Michael, was
born in Greenwich township, one mile northeast of
Klinesville Jan. 2. 1803, and died March 22, 1884. He
and his wife are buried in the cemetery at the United
Brethren Church in Tilden township. He was edu-
cated in the pay schools of his native township, and
was trained to farming, remaining at home until his
marriage, in 1828, after which he located in Albany
township, on a farm belonging to his father. There he
lived for three years. In 1834 he located in Bern (now
Centre) township, where he purchased a farm of 121
acres from the Kauffmans. This was extremely fertile
land, and was located along Irish creek about two
miles west of Centreport, and the cultivation of this
farm engrossed his attention until his death. In politics
he was a Democrat, and he was a man of high repute
and of great influence in his district. In his earlier life
he was a Lutheran member of Belleman's Church, serv-
ing as an official, but later he became active in Salem
United Brethren Church of Tilden township. Pie was
liberal in his contributions toward religious and chari-
table objects. At the time of his death his estate was
valued at $32,000.



In 1828 Mr. Dietrich married Salome Fisher, born

Sept. 29, 1808, daughter of Philip and (Weaver)

Fisher, of Windsor township, and she died July 10,
1878. They had children as follows: Levi F. is men-
tioned below. Daniel F. is mentioned below. Hen-
ry died age sixteen years. Samuel died unmarried.
Eliza m. Isaac Rhoads and lives at Shoemakersville.

(IV) Levi F. Dietrich, son of Daniel and Salome, was
born in Windsor township July 23. 1832, and was
educated in the common schools of his district and at
White Hall Academy, in Cumberland county, Pa. He
taught school in Centre township three terms. In 1855
he became a practical farmer, and has attained consider-
able success in that line. His home farm consists of
165 acres of the best land in the township (Centre) and
is kept in excellent condition; the buildings and general
condition of farm and live stock could not be improved
upon. He also owns a farm of 103 acres elsewhere in
the same township, and this he has rented. About
1897 he sold a half interest in the old Centre township
Dietrich homestead to his brother. Daniel F. Mr. Diet-
rich has ever been prominently identified with the pro-
gressive movements of the district. He is a Democrat
in politics, and has served as school director seven
years and as assessor nine years. In 1884 he was elected
prothonotary of Berks county, serving most efficiently
from Jan. 1. 1885, until Jan. 1, 1888. He and his family
are faithful members of Belleman's Lutheran Church,
where Mr. Dietrich has served as a deacon for many
years. On Nov. 10, 1854, he married Louisa Moser. and
they have ten children: (1) Henrietta m. George B.
Miller, of Hamburg, who for seven years was a leader
in the Democratic party, and who for three years was
register of wills. (2) Salome m. William E. Gruber. a
carriage manufacturer of Mt. Pleasant, Berks county.
(3) Howard M. lives at Bernville. (4) Valeria m.
James H. HoUenbach, cabinet-maker and undertaker
at Bernville. (5) Emma m. Jeremiah Heckman, hosiery
manufacturer at Shoemakersville. (6) Levi H. is a
prosperous farmer in Centre township. (7) Nelson C.
lives in Centre township. (8) Wilson P. lives in Centre
township. (9) Irwin R. resides in Philadelphia. (10)
Horace is a farmer in Centre township.

(IV) Daniel F. Dietrich, son of Daniel and Salome,
was born Sept. 6, 1834, and is now a prominent
citizen of Reading. He attended pay schools four win-
ters, and then the public schools of his district, later
for three months a boarding-school at Amityville. and
lastly the Freeland Seminary, at the Trappe, in Mont-
gomery county. Until he was twenty-four years of age
he assisted his father on the home farm. At that time
he was married and began for himself on one of his
father's farms in Centre township, where he remained
four years, and then moved to a farm in Exeter town-
ship, near Jacksonwald, belonging to his father-in-law.
For one year he lived there as a tenant and then pur-
chased the farm, cultivating it four years. In 1868 he
moved to Reading, where the previous year (Nov. 7,
1867) he had bought out the mercantile firm of Lein-
bach & Brother, then located at No. 325 Penn street.
Mr. Dietrich formed a partnership with Peter A. Alt-
house, iMider the firm name of Dietrich & Althouse,
general merchants and merchant tailors, and this lasted
eighteen months, when Mr. Dietrich took in Elijah Am-
nion, who bought out Mr. Althouse. and for twelve
years the firm of Dietrich & .Amnion had one of the
largest and best known stores in the city and county.
Mr. Dietrich continued the extensive business alone
from 1882 until his retirement in 1902, when he was suc-
ceeded by his eldest son, Elmer W. The Dietrich store
at No. 325 Penn has been a well-known stand since
1868.

Mr. Dietrich is a director and large stockholder of the
Reading Real Estate Exchange, with offices at No. 612
Washington street. Before he became a member of the
Real Estate Company he built nineteen houses in the
city. He owns the Dietrich farm of 160 acres in Centre
township. Since 1S64 he 'has been the owner of the



BIOGRAPHICAL



557



farm on which he formerly lived in Exeter township.
He has made his residence since 1868 at No. 203 South
Fourth street. While engaged in farming he took a
fancy to fine horses and cattle, his herd of Holsteins
being the finest in the county.

In politics Mr. Dietrich is a Democrat. While living
in Exeter township he served as school director. In
1897 he was a candidate for register of wills, and had
ninety-seven delegates in the convention. In 1888 he
was a delegate to the State Convention, and at the
same time his brother was a delegate to the same con-
vention from the country. He and his family are faith-
ful members of the First Reformed Church in Reading,
and he has served for more than a quarter of a century
as elder. He is prominent in the Classis of the Re-
formed Church of Eastern Pennsylvania, serving fre-
quently as a delegate and in various other important
capacities.

On Nov. 6, 1858, Mr. Dietrich married Catherine A.
Althouse, daughter of Henry and Mary (Kissinger)
Althouse, of Bern township. They had children: (1)
Clara A. m. William A. Heilig, of Cleveland, Ohio. (2)
Ida m. Joseph W. Holmes, a coal merchant at Reading.
(3) Irvin died in infancy. (4) Elmer W. succeeded his
father in business; he m. Laura Ermentrout. (5) D.
Wellington is unmarried and is president of the Sea-
board Milling Company, West Reading. (6) Harry
W., manager of Seaboard Milling Company, m. Ella
Showalter.



(Ill) Heinrich Dietrich (son of Johann Michael and
grandson of Adam the emigrant) was born in Greenwich
township, Berks county, April 16, 1816, and died sud-
denly of apoplexy near New Smithville, in Maxatawny
township (where he had his home), on May 27, 1901,
in the eighty-sixth year of his age. He is buried at
Grimville, by the side of his wife Judith (nee Kutz),
a daughter of the late Joseph Kutz, who lived on the
Sacony near Kutztown, and was nearly one hundred
years old when he died. Heinrich Dietrich was reared
upon the farm, and after he became of age rode on
horseback to Ohio, where he lived two years and worked
upon a farm. In 1842 he married and for some years
was a farmer at Kohler's Hill, in Greenwich. Here one
of his horses which had been bitten by a mad dog had
hydrophobia, which caused a great sensation in the dis-
trict. Later Heinrich Dietrich bought a large farm lo-
cated in Maxatawny township, across the line of
Greenwich, and along Weisenburg township, Lehigh
county. This farm he operated for many years. He
also operated a clover mill located on this place, in the
Mill Creek valley. Early in the seventies he retired to
a 40-acre tract lying adjacent to his large farm, which
he sold to his son-in-law. Henry Fenstermacher. Here
he lived until, becoming too old, he was requested by
his daughter Isabella, wife of Henry Fenstermacher, to
make his home with them. This he did, and he died
at their home, ripe in years, a highly esteemed man.
Heinrich Dietrich was better known as "Harry Diet-
rich." He was a man of more than ordinary intelligence,
and throughout his lifetime a constant reader. He is
remembered with profound reverence by his many
grandchildren. He read the Bible often. He was a man
of strong convictions and a strict disciplinarian in the
family. He had one favorite ejaculation, "By Judas."
He was never heard to use God's name in vain. He
was tall, about six feet in height, and erect in his bear-
ing until he was seventy-five years old, when he became
very stooped and walked with a cane, but he was well
preserved, had good teeth, eyes and ears, and retained
all his faculties to the last. His thick hair was black
until he was sixty-five years old. Altogether he was a
man of fine appearance. He was a pleasant talker and
loved company. On his eighty-fifth birthday his child-
ren, grandchildren and great-grandchildren held a birth-
day party in his honor. They had an elaborate dinner,
and he was given the seat of honor at the table, and with
happy tears streaming down his cheeks praised God



for this pleasant event. He told the gathering that this
was his last birthday on earth, and his prediction proved
true. In the late afternoon of the last Monday in May,
the following month, his spirit took its flight. His wife
Judith had preceded him in death about twenty-five
years. The following were their children: William J.,
1843-1870; Susan, born April 7, 1845, is unmarried; Isa-
belle m. Henry Fenstermacher; Henry A., born Feb.
6, 1850, m. Sallie Buchman, and they live at Ricketts, Pa.
(they have Franklin, Louisa, and Emma); Hettie E.,
born July 14, 1853, m. Amos Loch; Alfred, 1855-1856;
Emma, born Aug. 1, 1857, m. Amos Loch; Annie M.,
1860-1882; Sarah, born 1862, is the widow of Sylvester
Weil.

(IV) William J. Dietrich (son of Heinrich) was born
in Greenwich township, Berks county, Dec. 9, 1843, and
died at Hamburg, from typhoid pneumonia, July 19, 1876,
in the thirty-third year of his life. He was reared upon
his father's farm, and in his youth attended the public
schools with regularity. He had a bright mind and
was a student. He was made administrator of an estate
before he was thirty years old, and was helpful in many
ways in his community. He owned a small farm one-
quarter of a mile from where his father lived, located
in Greenwich township, now owned by Lewis Behler.
This he operated until the latter part of 1874. when it
was sold and he m-oved to Hamburg, where his death
occurred. He worked in the ore mines in Maxatawny
township in 1873 and 1874, during the spring and fall.
At Hamburg he followed huckstering and butchering,
and for a short time worked in the rolling-mill, which
is now abandoned. He and his family were devout
Lutherans, and constant in their attendance at worship.
Mr. Dietrich was a man of fine appearance. On July 11,
1868, he married Susanna F. Seaman, youngest daugh-
ter of Jonathan Seaman, a foremost man of Tilden
township. She was born Dec. 24, 1844, and died sud-
denly of apoplexy Sunday night, June 4, 1899, in her
fifty-fifth year. Mr. and Mrs. Dietrich are buried in
the Dietrich family plot at Hamburg. Mrs. Dietrich
was a woman of noble character and high intelligence.
She had many virtues, and was a pious woman.
Being left a widow with six children, the youngest
a posthumous son, she reared them in the fear and
admonition of God, and her last spoken word was
"God." She was esteemed by all who knew her.

William J. and Susanna F. Dietrich had the follow-
ing children: (1) Lizzie C, 1868-1881. (2) Agnes V.,
born Feb. J, 1870, m. G. J. Heintzelman, the financial
manager and general superintendent of the Trexler &
Turrell Lumber Company, Ricketts, Pa. They have a
daughter, Carrie May. and a son, Henry Clay. (3) Zi-
villa J., 1871-1872. (4) Oscar H., born July 23. 1872. m.
Aquilla Kostenbader, and has daughters. Mabel and Su-
san. He is the secretary and treasurer and business
manager of the Dietrich Motor Car Company (Inc.) of
Allentown, Pa. He is a successful and prosperous bus-
iness man of Allentown. (5) David J., born M'arch 1,

1874. (6) William J., is mentioned further on. (7) Al-
fred M., born Nov. 30, 1876, is married and has one
son, Alfred.

(V) William J. Dietrich, of Reading, is a represent-
ative and native citizen of Berks county, Pa. He
was born at West Hamburg, Tilden township. May 12,

1875, son of William J. and Susanna F. (Seaman) Dietrich,
both deceased. When he was five years old his mother
moved to Hamburg, and in 1884 they moved to the home
of his grandfather, Harry B. Dietrich, in Maxatawny
township. From 1885 to 1894 he was hired to farmers in
Maxatawny and Greenwich townships, and for one year
(1891) he lived in Lynn township, Lehigh county. The
young man even in those boyhood days showed the same
conscientiousness in the performance of duty that has char-
acterized all his later years. In 1894 he worked m the lum-
ber-mill at Ricketts, in Wyoming and Sullivan counties,
Pa., and in seven months saved $112. Mr. Dietrich is
a self-mar'e man. The public schools afforded him his
mental training, and he early showed a fondness for



558



HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



books, coupled with an investigating mind — a desire for
thorough understanding of every subject within his
sphere of observation. In the winter of 1894-95 he
last attended public school as a pupil, and in the
spring of 1895 he entered the Keystone State Normal
School, at Kutztown, with four teachers from Tilden
township. In the examination that was required for
their admission M'r. Dietrich made a. high average.
In the same spring he was also examined by the county
superintendent, receiving a creditable certificate, en-
titling him to teach in the public schools. In Septem-
ber, 1895. he went to Philadelphia, and remained until
March, 1896, working during the holiday season for
John Wanamaker, and afterward in a wholesale dry
goods house. On his return from Philadelphia he again
entered the Normal School, at Kutztown, and con-
tinued there until June, 1898, when he graduated. The
school board of Tilden township then tendered him the
West Hamburg school at a salary of thirty dollars
a month, for seven months, which he accepted. In the
fall of 1899 he began teaching the Five Mile House
school in Cumru township, at forty dollars a month,
teaching this school one term, when the board offered
him his preference of six schools in Miohnton, where
he resided. He accented the grammar school, and
taught there three terms; and later, during 1905-06, he
taught Yocom's school one term in the same township.
He was original in many of his methods to interest the
pupils, which won their attention, respect and good-
will. He considered order and discipline necessary for
effective work, and few teachers in the county stood
equally high with patrons and pupils. Mr. Dietrich
also taught night school in Reading for a number of
terms, winning commendation for the success of his
efforts.

In October, 1904, Mr, Dietrich was apoointed a clerk
in the Philadelphia post-office, but this position he re-
signed in March of the following year because of fam-
ily ties, his wife and children having continued at their
home in Reading. Postmaster Clayton McMichael en-
deavored to dissuade Mr. Dietrich from resigning, say-
ing that "he had a future in the government postal
service," but he persisted, and during 1904-05 worked at
life insurance in Reading and Berks county — a business
that he had followed to some extent in 1902. Mr. Diet-
rich is of the temperament that does not permit of idle-
ness, and when he was engaged in teaching, as soon
as the vacation season approached he found something
to engage his time and attention profitably. During the
sumimer of 1900 he was engaged as a conductor on the
trolley. During 1901 he represented a New York pub-
lishing house before school boards and succeeded in se-
curing the adoption of their text-books in a number
of school districts. Since the early spring of 1906 Mr.
Dietrich has been in the employ of J. H. Beers & Co..
publishers of Chicago, collecting much of the gen-
ealogical material used in their Historical and Bio-
graphical Annals of Berks County. Pa. Mr. Dietrich
' has a valuable collection of coins, stamps and china-
ware. He has a large acquaintance among profession-
al nien and those in public life, and has traveled the en-
tire county by political districts a number of times. He
is well read, and posted on public questions. His
library of standard works has been carefully selected,
and contains all the works on local history (Berks
county) ever published. He is especially fond of his-
tory and has collected much information pertaining to
the county. He is a member of the Pennsylvania
German Society; and of the Berks County Historical
Society, and has contributed articles to both. In the
latter his "Caves of Richmond and Perry Townships,
Berks County," was published in .permanent form
and is preserved in the archives of the Society,
In 1903 he organized along original lines the Dietrich
Family Association, which held successful reunions
in 1903. 1904 and 1906. He is also a member of the
P. O. S. of A.; K. of P.; I. O. O. F.; and Chandler
Lodge, No. 1227, F. & .\. M, ; E.Kcelsior Chapter, No.



236, R. A. M.; Reading Lodge of Perfection, fourteenth
degree; and Reading Commandery, No. 42, K. T.

O.n May 20, 1899, Mr. Dietrich married Miss Sallie



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 154 of 227)