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 163 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 163 of 227)
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delphia. Three children were born of this union:
Katharine and Josephine, both in school; and George,
Jr. In politics Mr. Delany is an ardent Democrat. In
his religious faith he is a Presbyterian. His position
at various times as private secretary to three great rail-
road magnates was certainly remarkable, reflecting
credit upon his intelligence and ability.

DR. CHARLES CLINTON BOYER.. The Boyers,
as the original spelling of the name Beyer or Bayer
indicates, are Rhine Bavarians. The records show that
this family dates back into the earliest tribal history
of Germany and France, in both of which countries
they hold an honorable place' today. Miany of them be-
came Protestants both in Germany and France; per-
secution drove them to America. About thirty-five
Boyers, as the ships' lists show, came to Pennsylvania
before the Revolutionary war. From the well-known
fact that the earlier settlers "sent for their relatives
and kin," we gather that the Boyer settlers of Pennsyl-
vania were blood relatives in Europe. There are thous-
ands of them now in Philadelphia, Reading, and in the
States of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Virginia, Ken-
tucky, Missouri, Illinois, etc.

Philip Beyer, who came over in the ship' "Winter
Galley" in 1738, was the European ancestor of Dr.
Charles Clinton Boyer, of Kutztown. Philip Beyer, as
the connection of events proves, found his way into Bern
township, Berks county, where, as the list of Berks
county taxables shows, he owned property in the vi-
cinity of what is now known as St. Michael's Church,
before 1755. This church was founded a few years
before Philip died, and it is likely that he is buried in



the cemetery of St. Michael's, but the brown headstones
found over the earliest graves of the church reveal
nothing concerning him. The early church records, to-
gether with the list of Bern taxables, seem to prove
that there were at least four sons, namely: M'ichael, ,
Henry, John and Christopher. The mother's name, at
this writing, has not been ascertained. Philip disap-
pears from the tax list in 1780.

Christopher Beyer, in all probability the youngest
son of Philip Beyer, was born in Bern township, Berks
county, about 1740 or 1745. He became a member of
the Lutheran Church. To his marriage with Katherine
Reif Schneider were born children as follows: Chris-
topher, born in 1765; Jacob, 1767; Henry; Christian,
1781; Daniel, and two daughters. In 1785, or soon
afterwards, the family removed to what is now Bruns-
wick township, Schuylkill county. The elder Chris-
topher's name appears for the first time on' the tax list
of Brunswick township in 1791. He lived in a log
hut, probably constructed by himself, against a hill side
in the rear of what is now known as Friedens Church,
about a mile north of McKeansburg. Whetheror not he
was the schoolmaster of the congregation is a little uncer-
tain. Missionaries stopped at his house and preached
in his barn, as Rev. H. A. Weller records in his history
of Friedens Church. He was certainly closely identified
with this congregation, as we infer from a fragment of
church records to which his name is signed. His name
disappears from the tax list in 1811, or soon afterward.
He and his wife lie buried in Boyer's Row, Friedens
cemetery, but the brown headstones that marked the
graves were rudely removed when the present church
building was erected.

Jacob Boyer. second son of Christopher and Kather-
ine (Reifschneider) Beyer, was born in Bern township,
Berks county, Jan. 14, 1767, and became a member of
Friedens Church (Lutheran). In 1802 he owned a large
farm in Lewistown Valley, about four miles north of
Friedens Church. He died April 1, 1829. and lies buried
in Friedens cemetery. His wife, Susanna Schaeffer,
born Jan. 14, 1775, died Nov. 4, 1849, in the home of a
daughter, and is buried in the cemetery of the Lutheran
Church, East Germantown, Ind. Their children were:
Jacob, Samuel. Joseph, Daniel, Mary, Elizabeth, Susan,
Kate and Hettie.

Samuel Boyer, second son of Jacob and Susanna
(Schaefifer) Boyer, was born in Lewistown, Schuylkill
county, Feb. 13, 1801. He was confirmed in the Luth-
eran Church and on Nov. 9, 1823, was married by Pastor
Schofer to Lydia Bensinger, daughter of Michael Ben-
singer. When his father died six years later, Samuel,
who was a blacksmith by trade, took the father's farm,
which, as the deeds show, comprised about 300 acres.
On the Yost farm, which he owned soon afterward, he
carried on milling. He was prominently identified with
the founding and maintenance of the Lutheran Church
at Lewistown. In 1873, when he was serving as township
supervisor, he died in the Bauscher home, where he had
called to warm himself on a bitterly cold morning. His
wife, Lydia, born Feb. 29, 1808, survived him until 1894.
They are buried at Lewistown. The sons and daughters
of this marriage were: Israel. Samuel, Emanuel, Joseph,
Benjamin, William, Jacob, Daniel, John, Catherine,
Elizabeth and Caroline.

Joseph Boyer, fourth son of Samuel and Lydia (Ben-
singer) Boyer, was born Jan. 27, 1831. When he began
to go to school the free school bill of 1834 and 1835,
framed by Lawyer Breck and saved bv Thaddeus
Stevens in Governor Wolf's administration, had just
been put into operation by Secretary of State Thomas
Burrowes. The Lewistown school fell in line in 1837.
The teachers, however, were poorly qualified. Joseph's
best teacher was a Mr. Huey. The school terms were
short, about three months, and the branches about the
same as those of subscription schools. The rod was
freely used, and the pupils were hardly able to under-
stand the importance of an education. The English
language was not in high repute in the valley as yet and



584



HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



German spelling, together with the trapping system in
the "paragraph reading" of the German Psalter, was
about all that counted for much in serious study. There
were no blackboards and few books. The long plank
benches were arranged around the walls of the room,
with benches for the smaller boys and girls in the
middle of the room. The old frame schoolhouse, how-
ever, in which Joseph Boyer received his education,
has long since been replaced. Joseph was a miller by
trade, but lived on a Lewistown farm the greater part of
his life. He was confirmed in the Lutheran Church of
Lewistown. In 1856 he married Magdalena Gunsette,
daughter of Christian Gunsette (who came from Alsace
with his father Philip Henry and his mother Margaret
(Houser) Gunsette in 1828) and Mary (Lintz) Gunsette
(a Lehigh county p^irl). To this marriage were born:
Charles Clinton. Alice Minerva, George Harris and
Frank Samuel. Joseph Boyer served his township eight
terms as supervisor of roads, took an active interest in
the political affairs of his times, and lived to enjoy a
ripe old age. At this writing he is seventy-nine years
old and his faithful helpmate fe\enty-five.

Dr. Charles Clinton Boyer, eldest son of Joseph and
Magdalena (Gunsette) Boyer, was born at Lewistown,
Schuylkill county, Aug. 6. 1860. His first school teacher
was Mr. Benjamin Scheirer, a man of learning, of
charming personality and remarkable teaching powders.
His last teacher in the public schools was that excellent
master of boys, Mr. David Bauscher. He was confirmed
in the Lutheran faith by Rev. I. X. S. Erb, and it was
partly through his influence, and that of Mr. Bauscher,
that in 1877 Mr. Boyer first came to the Kutztown Nor-
mal school, to which he continued to return every spring
as a student until 1883. For one term he was a pupil
of the now illustrious Dr. Thomas Balliet in his Center
Square Academy. He prepared for college under Rev.
Mr. Erb, while teaching at Landingville and('Orwigsburg.
In 1885 he was graduated from Muhlenberg College with
second honor. He studied Theology at the Lutheran
Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, but. called, to
the chair of Latin and Greek at Kutztown through Dr.
Schaefifer, he completed his theological course under
Dr. Hancher, and was ordained with his class in 1888.
Then, while teaching, writing and preaching, he com-
pleted six years of post-graduate work, graduating from
Wooster University in 1894, and receiving the title Doctor
of Philosophy cum laudc. His thesis on "Psychic Initia-
tive in Education" attracted considerable attention.
After that he studied psychology, experimental and
theoretical, under Dr. H'ugo Munsterberg, of Harvard
University. In 1901 he traveled in Europe, accom-
panied by Professor George E. Kramlich, the main ob-
ject of interest being history, education and art.

Dr. Boyer began his teaching career at Patterson,
Schuylkill Co., Pa., when he was seventeen years of
age. Then he taught an ungraded school in Lewistown
for two years. Hie gave up this school for the Landing-
ville grammar school, in order that he might take up
college preparatory work under the Rev. Mr. Erb. of
Orwigsburg. This proved to be his stepping-stone to
the principalship of the Orwigsburg high school, where
he remained until in 1883, when he entered college. In
the fall of 1887, after conducting a very successful
summer school for teaching at Lynnville, Pa., he was
called to the chair of Latin and Greek in the State
Normal School, at Kutztown, Pa. Two years later when
he had entered upon his duties as professor of Greek in
the Pennsylvania MaMtary Academy, at Chester, Pa.,
he was recalled to Kutztown to teach psychology and
English classics. Two years later, after supplying the pul-
pit of St. John's Lutheran Church at Boyertown. Pa., for
six months or more, and confirming a large class of
catechumens, he went to Boyertown as pastor of this
congre.gation. remaining there until 1893. Then Dr.
Schaeffer. the principal of the Normal School, became
Superintendent of Public Instruction, and Professor
Boyer was called back to the Normal again, this time
to the chair of Pedagogy, under the principalship of Dr.



Hancher. In 1900, when Vice Principal Rothermel be-
came Principal, Dr. Boyer became Vice Principal of
the Normal School, a position which he fills with much
ability at this writing.

Dr. Boyer has few superiors as a teacher. His rapid
promotions were due not simply to his acknowledged
scholarship, but to his marked teaching powers. Pro-
gressive and modern in spirit and method, he is also
well proportioned and conservative. He has served
the cause of the Normal school and education about
twenty-two years at this writing. As an institute in-
structor and lecturer he is as well received in Maryland,
Delaware and New Jersey as in Pennsylvania. Among
the subjects on which he has lectured most frequently
are"Mental Moods and Tenses," "On the Up-Grade."
"Lawlessness in Pupils." "Serpent and Dove in Disci-
pline," "As You Would Like It in Schooldays," "The
Roman Child and Ours," "Spencer's Theory of Con-
sequence." "In Touch with the Infinite in Teaching,"
"Vulcan and Venus." and "An Hour in Europe." He
is considered an eloquent and forceful talker, and a
master in the art of thinking, and this is as true of
his sermons as of his lectures. The most tempting
propositions have at this writing not persuaded him to
leave Kutztown.

As an author Dr. Boyer has won signal success. He
published his "Concrete Psychology" in 1891. for the
use of his own classes. "Principles and Methods of
Teaching," a work that has now gone through many
editions, and that is deservedly popular, followed in
1899. A book entitled VVavmarks of General History"
was published in 1902. This work, like that on methods
of teaching, is highly praised by the reviewers. His
book on "Modern Methods for Modern Teachers" was
published in 1909. He is a member of the National
Education Association, the Pennsylvania German So-
city and the Historical Society of Berks county, etc.

In 1889 Dr. Charles Qinton Boyer was united in mar-
riage with Margie Wright, daughter of Calvin D.
Wright, a cavalry oflicer of the Third Pennsylvania
Regiment during the Civil war, and his wife, Kath-
erine (Gartley) Wright. She was born Oct. 11, 1869. in
Pottsville. Pa. The Wrights were originally English
Quakers and the Gartleys Scotch Presbyterians.
Through her Gartley ancestry Mrs. Boyer is related to
the Potts family, founders of Pottstown, Pa., and
through her father's more distant Lafferty ancestry she
is also of Irish descent. She is a cultured artist and
musician, and devotes much of her energies to church
work. There is one son, Karl Wright Boyer. born at
Mt. Carm,el, Pa., Nov. 26, 1897.

PETER BARBEY, the founder of Barbev's Brewery
at Reading, Pa., was born Nov. 9, 1825, in Dierbach,
Canton of Bergzabern, Rhinepfalz, Bavaria, son of Chris-
topher Barbey. He attended the schools of his native
place until he was fourteen years of age, when he entered
the brewing establishment of his uncle, Peter Barbey, for
the purpose of learning the business. After remaining
there three years, he found employment in France and
Switzerland in dififerent brewing establishments during
the next four years, in observance of a German custom
to increase his knowledge of the business in this way by
practical experience. He then returned home, and being
twenty-one years of age, entered the army in a cavalry
regiment where he served as a soldier for four years. At
the expiration of his term of service, he emigrated to
America, proceeding immediately to Philadelphia, and for
several years he was engaged there in different breweries;
he then located at Reading, and entered the employ of
Frederick Lauer, also a German, who had by this 'time
established himself in the brewing business at Third and
Chestnut streets. In 1860 Mr. Barbev embarked in bus-
iness for himself as a brewer, and carried his affairs on
with increasing success until his decease in 1897.

Mr. Barbey was a Democrat in politics, but never
inclined to fill any public offices. He assisted in organizing
the Keystone National Bank in 1883 and served as a direc-



BIOGRAPHICAL



585



tor until his decease in 1897. He was prominently identified
with Teutonia Lodge, No. 368, F. & A. M., in which he was'
a past master, and with Germania Lodge, L O. O. F.

Mr. Barbey married Rosina Kuntz, daughter of Philip
Kuntz, of Rhenish Bavaria, and they had two children:
Katrina, who died in infancy; and John, who, after ar-
riving of age, engaged with his father in the brewing
business under the name of P. Barbey & Son. Not-
withstanding the decease of his father in 1897, the firm
name has been continued until the present time.

JOHN BARBEY, son of Peter and Rosina (Kuntz)
Barbey, was born in Philadelphia, Pa., Oct. 19, 1850.
When he was four years old his parents moved to Read-
ing, where his father became engaged in the manufac-
ture of malt liquors. He was educated in the local
schools, taking an extra course in a business college,
and was then placed in his father's brewery for the pur-
pose of learning all the details of the brewing business.
In this he was very successful, and in 1880 the father
admitted him into partnership, and they traded under the
firm name of P. Barbey & Son. The father died in 1897,
but the son has continued the business under the same
hame with increasing success up to the present. In 1906
the capacity of his large plant was the greatest of any at
Reading, a fact which evinces the superior judgment of
the son in conducting the complicated affairs of the brew-
ery for the years it has been under his management.

Mr. Barbey has become largely interested in a number
of the financial institutions of Reading, particularly the
Keystone Bank, Farmers Bank, Colonial Trust Company,
and several industrial institutions, in a number of which
he is a director. He has been prominently identified with
the Masonic fraternity at Reading since 1876, becoming a
Mason in Chandler Lodge, No. 237, and a Knight Tem-
plar in the Reading Commandery, No. 42, of which he was
Eminent Commander in 1886. He has reached the thirty-
second degree.

Mr. Barbey married Mary Ellen Garst, daughter of
George W. Garst, of Reading, a prominent building
contractor for many years. They have seven children,
six daughters and one son, John.

JO*IN B. STERLEY, M. D., one of the most prom-
inent citizens of Reading, Berks Co., Pa., who was
distinguished as a physician and surgeon, died in Read-
ing, Nov. 24, 1905. Dr. Sterley was born July 26, 1837,
in Limerick township, Montgomery county, son of
Philip and Elizabeth (Bertolette") Sterley, both of
French origin.

The Sterley family was founded at an early day in
Salford township, Montgomery county, by great-grand-
father Sterley, who emigrated from Lorraine, France.
and here the grandfather of the Doctor was born and
reared until manhood, when he removed to Limerick
township, carrying on agricultural pursuits in that lo-
cality all the rest of his life.

Philip Sterley, father of the Doctor, was born Feb.
22, 1800, and was educated in the common schools.
He followed the occupation of his father, being a good,
practical farmer and public-spirited citizen. In politics
a Whig and later a Republican, he was interested in
the success of his party, but never to the extent of
running for any office. He died in 1868.

The early life of Dr. John B. Sterley was spent upon
his father's farm, and until about sixteen years of age
he attended the common schools of his native locality.
At this time he went to Philadelphia, where for one
year he was employed by his cousin. Simon R. Snyder,
after leaving whom he entered Freeland Seminary (now
Ursinus College). After two and one-half years of
study, young Sterley engaged in teaching in Oley
township, but after six months gave up the profes-
sion, having fully decided to engage in the practice of
medicine. He entered the offices of Drs. Keeler and
Groflf of Harleysville, Pa., to take up his preliminary
studies, and shortly after entered the University of
Pennsylvania, from which institution he was graduated
with honor,. March 6, 1857. Locating at Earlville, Lan-



caster county, Dr. Sterley continued there until 1860,
when he moved his office to Annville. Lebanon county.
In July, 1862, Dr. Sterley joined the 167th Pa. V. I.,
receiving the commission of surgeon, and at the expira-
tion of nine months was appointed examining district
surgeon for the Ninth Congressional District of Penn-
sylvania, a position he ably filled until June, 1864, when
he left the service. Until 1879 he practiced at St. Marys,
Elk Co., Pa., but in the year mentioned he removed to
Reading, to which city, its people, its development and
its varied interests, he devoted the remainder of his
life. The first board of pension examiners of Berks
county was organized in 1881 with Dr. Sterley as one
of its members, and he served the full term, being re-
turned to the board under the Harrison administration,
when he was made president. On May 11, 1898, he
was reappointed by President McKinley.

On Sept. 1, 1864, Dr. Sterley was married to Amanda
R. Rightmeyer, and the one child of this union, Win-
field Bradley, born Sept. 18, 1865, died Jan. 17, 1877.

Dr. Sterley was a Republican in politics. He was one
of the organizers and vice-president of the Reading
& Southwestern Electric Railroad. His profession con-
nects him with the following societies: the Reading
Medical Association; Berks County Medical Society,
and the Pennsylvania State Medical Society. He was
prominently connected with St. John's Lodge, No. 435,
F. & A. M., and was also an active worker of Gen.
William H. Keim Post, No. 76, G. A. R. The death of
Dr. Sterley brought grief to a large circle outside his
own immediate family. His personality was strong,
and of him it may be truly said as of another: "He
earned honor and respect in public life as well as af-
fection and veneration in private."

Mrs. Sterley, who survives her husband, resides in
Reading, where she is very well known, and where she
owns considerable city and suburban property.

BENJAMIN F. DETTRA, one of the older members
of the Berks county Bar, was born in Upper Providence
township, Montgomery county. July 4, 1845. His grand-
father, Abraham Dettra, was a farmer in Lower Sal-
ford township, that county, and his father, Abraham
Dettra, was a farmer in Upper Providence township,
same county. He diefl about sixty years ago. His
wife was Sarah Boas, daughter of John E. Boas, who
was an influential farmer and for many years justice
of his township; Mr. Boas died in Chester county, Pa.
Mr. and Mrs. Abraham Dettra had four children,
as follows: William C. died when thirty-seven years
old; Andora married Samuel Bard, of Montgomery
county, and died at the age of forty years; John B. is
a builder of Montgomery county; and Benjamin F.

Benjamin F. Dettra attended the district school and
Washington Collegiate Institute, where he prepared
himself for work in the school-room as teacher. He
served in the Civil war in the 129th Pa. V. I. and on
his return home passed the next five years in teaching
in the winter and working on the farm in the summer.
He now decided to take up the law for a life work, and
began reading in the office of the late Albert G. Green,
being admitted to the Bar in April, 1875. and later to
the higher courts. He has since pursued the practice
at Reading. In addition to looking after a large private
practice Mr. Dettra. has at different times served as
county and city solicitor, and as solicitor for the Board
of School Controllers.

Mr. Dettra has always been alive to the public in-
terest, is a supporter of the Democratic party, and
holds membership in the Royal Arcanum and other
insurance companies, and is a member of the Calvary
Reformed Church of Reading.

On Dec. 25, 1869. Mr. Dettra married Emma Louisa
Reese, daughter oi William Reese, a farmer of Chester
county. Four children have been born to this mar-
riage: Emma V. died in October, 1903, aged twenty-
four; Susan R. and Sarah M. are at home; and Paul
Sterly was a member of the class of 1906 in the Read-
ing high school.



586



HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



STRASSER. The biography of the individual man is
but the history of the human race and his family, plus
his environments.

Since the beginning of time our sun and the myriads
of shining stars have been oscillating and radiating
energy in the form of wireless waves into the ether of
infinite space. Primitive man viewed them with super-
stitious awe and framed supernatural myths. Science
regards them as an electro-magnetic displacement or
disturbance of the ether, periodic in space and time,
traveling 186,500 miles per second. The ether being
the source and reservoir of all energy, there is a con-
stant interchange of energy from ether to matter, and
matter to ether, transforming it at one time into kinetic,
at another into potential energy, thus causing or con-
stituting all the phenomena of the material universe
and known as the science of Natural Philosophy. But
the loftiest ideal of man conceives them as symbols of
infinite Wisdom, Power and Love, and as wireless
telephonic messages of glad tidings of peace on earth
and good-will toward men.

"The works of God are fair for naught
Unless our eyes, in seeing.
See hidden in the thing the thought
That animates its being."

Mother Nature, the patient teacher, is ever beckon-
ing to man the imitator, and ready to unlock her sec-
rets. But how blind and deaf a pupil is man! Thund-
ers rolled and lightning flashed for ages before he
heard or saw how to use these wireless waves to per-
form the recent wonders of the X-ray, the wireless
telegraph and wireless telephone. Nature never sleeps.
Her essence is motion. Ether, matter and motion act-
ing and reacting, forming and transforming, are the
bases of all phenomena in time and space. The high-
est and most mysterious is life with all its environments.

Thus is man, his energy, his powers, his physical and
mental characteristics — all that he is — indirectly indebted
to the wireless ether waves of space. Wave motion is
cyclic — crest and trough, nodes and loops of energy.
Such is the story of the Universe and Life. Exaltation
alternating debasement with intermediate nodes _ of
equilibrium — in fine, evolution, involution, dissolution.

Tradition is ever rife, but vague and mythical, hence
the data here given are only such as are based on
authentic records.

The family name Strasser (or Strascher) is of an-
cient origin extensively disseminated, and its influence
in church and State, in both the Old and the New world
was no small factor. The genealogical and heraldry



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 163 of 227)