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 164 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 164 of 227)
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records (Vol. VL Page 87) at Vienna, Austria, date the
origin of the family to the age of Knighthood and
Chivalry. In A. D. 1143 they were found at
Mergentheim, Swabia (the headquarters of the order
of Teutonic Knights in the year 1386), and vicinity,
where a Knight Templar whose birthplace and home
was Mergentheim, after long and strenuous service in
the Holy Land, and being disabled for further service
from wounds, returning, took unto himself an orphaned
nephew, named Edward Strasser. He taught him
Astronorhy, Astrology, Alchemy and other occult arts
he had learned in the East. Edward practiced these
arts among many rich Counts and Princesses, compiled
books on these subjects and acquired great wealth and
fame. He united in matrimony with Jutta Von Schenck,
and died at Mergentheim. A. D. 1197, leaving one son
Rudiger Strasser. who loved arms more than the arts
of peace. He sold his father's books and possessions,
and as a man of war roamed over many lands with a
company of mounted knights called the Black Band.
Only after he had had enough of the warrior's life did
he marry Euphragine Mehring, the wealthy widow of
a patrician at Zweibriicken. Here he lived until his
death, A. D. 1232, and left three sons, viz.: Arnold.
Gunther and Frederick. Arnold, being of delicate
health, entered a cloister, and there is no further record
of' him. nor of Frederick, who, after a duel with
Count Von Spanheim, whom he killed, fled and was



never after heard from. Gunther, however, remained at
Zweibriicken of which he was Mayor (Stadtfocht), and
was married to Sophia Von Elrichshousen, of a
good Prankish or Franconian noble family. He
died A. D. 1315, leaving one son John Strasser.
The latter had no love for arms, engaged himself with
books, music, literary work and the fine arts, and lived
a quiet private life. His wife was Elizabeth Mastlin
of humble birth, but had wealth of beauty and mind.
In A. D. 1335, during a violent storm, his house was
destroyed by fire, and his wife and five children
perished, only one small boy being rescued. In con-
sequence of this misfortune the circumstances and
standing of this family were greatly reduced, and
later we find the family mostly as farmers, mechanics
and merchants in the vicinity of Zweibriicken, Alsace
and the Palatinates in which regions they were still
found in the beginning of the ISth century, but accurate
and connected records are wanting.

The American Strasser family is without a doubt of
German ancestry. Their nativity and time of emigra-
tion cannot now be definitely fixed. Tradition has the
ancestral home at Wurtemberg, Rhenish Palatinate, and
Zweibriicken, and the time antedates the American Rev-
olution, for we find them enrolled as soldiers of the
war for independence as well as all the wars for the de-
fense and preservation of the Union.

According to Colonial Records, on Nov. 3, 1749. John
Nicholas Strasser enters a caveat against the acceptance
of a survey on that oiece of land which he holds by
warrant of 37th of March — made to Georare Boone,
until he hears as to his claim, signed Richard Peters,
to Nicholas Schull, Surveyor General. Also warrants of
land surveyor May 7, 1753, Oct. 6, 1773, etc. The same
John Nicholas Strasser, of Albany, Berks Co., Pa., was
naturalized April 11, 1763, and as early as 1754 he is as-
sessed £18, 4s., 6d. tax in Albany township, and his name
appears for successive years to 1790, with the additional
names of John, Jr., a weaver, Henry, Peter George.

Not until 1'773 does the name of Conrad Strasser
appear as a taxable married mian in Windsor township.
This is the great-grandfather of Dr. Thomas A. Stras-
ser, of Reading, and Strasser's Thai or Valley, Windsor
township, Berks Co., Pa., was the permanent if not
the original homestead of this family. What was the
relationship of this family and the Albany family is
not now known, but from the similarity of the names
of their children as we shall see it must have been
close.

The church books of Zion's Church at or near Wind-
sor Castle_ record the baptisms of seven children, the
parents being Conrad Strascher and his wife Catharina.
They are Conrad, born August, 1744; sponsors, Conrad
Strascher and wife Catharina, the parents; Andon. July

1, 1746, sponsor Andon ; Elizabeth, born Nov. 1. 1747,

sponsor Elizabeth ; Peter, born April 9, 1749, spon-
sors: Peter Rothermel and wife Sabylla; Mathias, born

July 32, 1751, sponsor Mathias ; Phillipus, born

1753; and Johanes, born April 30, 1756. Where these
baptisms took place is not stated, but Zion's Church was
not then organized. Another record is the baptism
of John Henry Strasser, born April 11, 1777; sponsors,
Conrad Strasser and wife Dorethy.

Conrad Strasser was twice married; his first wife.
Dorethy (Housknecht), bore him six children, viz.:
Conrad, born in 1708; John, 1770; Jilagdalena; John
Nicholas, died previous to 1795; John Henry; and
George. His second wife, Christina (Rausch or Hum-
mel?) also bore him two daughters and four sons.
They were: Elizabeth, Catharine, Frederick, INIichael
(grandfather of our subject). Peter and Daniel.

Accordingly, there was Conrad, the first, father of
seven children; Conrad, the second, father of twelve
children; and Conrad, the third, oldest son of Conrad
the second and brother of Michael. Conrad, the third,
was thrice married, first to a Miss Sheidy, by whom
he had a son John; second to a Miss Hummel, by
whom he had one daughter, Rosina; third to Rosina



BIOGRAPHICAL



587



Hummel, a sister of second wife, and they had nine
children, Jeremiah^ Jacob, Isaac (m. to Hannah
Knittle), Hetty, Sallie, Catharine, Polly, Rachael and
Leah.

On Nov. 9, 1790, Conrad Strasser, the second, peti-
tioned the Orphans' court of Berks county, to appoint
guardians for his sons, John Henry and George, they
being minors under the age of fourteen years. On
the same day Magdalena, a daughter, John (Johanes),
John Nicholas, minors above the age of fourteen
years, petitioned court to choose guardians; they chose
Conrad, the father, and the court approved and ap-
pointed him for all the above children. Conrad, the
third and oldest son, born in 1768, being of age, was
not included in the above. On May 5, 1803, Christina
Strasser, widow and relict of Conrad Strasser, late of
Windsor township, petitioned the courts — says her hus-
band died and left issue eleven children (John Nicholas
having died between 1790 and 1795), that Frederick,
Michael, Peter and Daniel are minors under age of
fourteen years and have no guardians to care for their
persons and estates; the court appointed John George
Focht. The same day appeared Elizabeth Strasser ,and
Catharine Strasser, daughters of. the aforesaid Conrad
Strasser, they being minors above the age of fourteen
years; they chose Peter Bauscher, which choice was
approved by the court. This accounts for the twelve
children of Conrad Strasser, the second. The court
records show that Magdalena Strasser gave a power
of attorney to John Strasser, her next friend, both then
living in Paxton township, Dauphin county, dated 1795.
to collect that share of inheritance due her from her
mother's estate through the death of John Nicholas
(Honnickel) Strasser. her brother.

Elizabeth Strasser was married to Adam (no far-
ther record). Catharine was born Sept. 16, 1785, and
married George Sontag, the progenitor of the Windsor
Sundays, and died March 5, 1850 (tombstone record,
Zion's Church). Frederick's name is on the tax lists of
Greenwich township from 1810 to 1813, when it disap-
pears. Peter settled at Roaring Creek, Columbia county,
and his wife's tombstone at Zion's Churchyard records
— "mother of seventeen children." Daniel lived on one
of the original Conrad Strasser farms, died there about
1840, leaving a large family.

Michael Strasser, the grandfather of Dr. Thomas Au-
gustus, the seventh son of Conrad, the second, and his
second wife, Christina, was born at the old homestead
in Strasser's Valley, Windsor township, about the year
1791. He was confirmed in the Lutheran faith at
Zion's Church. His father having died about January,
1799 (his will probated Feb. 12, 1799), and he being one
of the three youngest sons mentioned in above will,
who were to learn a trade arriving at the age of sixteen
years, he accordingly became a carpenter and cabinet-
maker and his name appears as a taxable single man
in Maxatawny from 1810 to 1815. At this time Kutz-
town was incorporated as a borough and it was here
he made his permanent home and carried on his trade.
He was a member of the first fire company of Kutztown
organized in 1815, and built one of the first three houses
in Freetown, upper Main street, above Baldy's lane. He
was married to Sarah Kittling, about 1816. a native of
Mifflinburg, Pa., a sister' of Mrs. Jacob Humbert,
mother of Rev. David Humbert, Bowers Station. Mrs.
Jacob Baldy and Mrs. Peter Fritz of Kutztown were
aunts. Jacob of Mifflinburg, was a brother and so was
William, of near Blandon. M'ichael was successful in
business, had just finished a new homie, and had a
promising future, but in the prime of life he became
the victim of a typhoid fever epidemic and died about
December, 1821. His remains were interred in the old
Union Churchyard at Kutztown, but his resting-place
cannot now be located. Letters of administration were
granted to John_ Wanner and Solomon Kutz, Jan. 7,
1823. He left his widow and one son. Isaac Kittling
Strasser, and one daughter, Abigail. .The widow was
remarried to Solomon Kutz, a widower with a large



family. Their issue was seven children: among them,
Louisa E., born in 1826, m. Daniel B. Kutz, in 1850,
both living over fifty years in the house built by Michael
Strasser; Lydia m. John Van Scheetz; Susan, born Sept.
3, 1832, m. Harry Scheldt. Sarah, mother of the above,
and maternal grandmother of our subject, died on her
birthday, on June 29, about the year 1846, aged exactly
fifty years. Abigail, only daughter of Michael Strasser,
was born Sept. 10, 1821, and was married to John
Snyder. They reared a large family. Mr. Snyder dying,
she married Egedius Butz. She survived him and died
in 1908, aged almost eighty-seven years.

Isaac K. Strasser was born on his father's (Michael)
homestead at Kutztown, Pa., Aug. 3, 1817. Orphaned •
at an early age, he lived with his mother until he was
apprenticed to a Mr. Kraft at Reading, Pa., serving
four years as a saddler and harness maker. Returning
to Kutztown he bought the property now the corner
of M'ain street and Strasser Alley, where he lived over
half a century, reared a large family, and carried on his
business.

In 1842, he married Flora Anna Koser, a daughter of
John George Koser and wife Esther (Christ) of Green-
wich township. Esther was the oldest daughter of
Jacob Christ and wife (nee Merkel). She is buried at
Bethel or Zion's Church, Grimville, Pa., and her tomb-
stone records: "Esther Koser," daughter of Jacob Christ,
born March 21st, 1794, married Dec. 36th, 1811. Had
3 children, 1 son and 2 daughters. Died Jan. 24th, 1832,
aged 37 years, 10 months, and 3 days. Text, St. John
5-24." Her sisters were: Rachel m. Daniel Beaver, and
moved to Tulpehocken; Kate m. a Christman; Pdlly m.
a Messersmith, of Fleetwood; and Hannah m. Martin
Wanner, she aged over ninety years. Her brothers were
Jonathan, m. to Susan Bieber; Daniel, Jacob and Solo-
mon (the grandfather of Nathan C. Schaefler, State
Superintendent of Pennsylvania Schools).

John George Koser, maternal grandfather of Dr.
Thomas A. Strasser, was born in Greenwich township,
Jan. 7. 1787, on the old homestead, and died at Kutz-
town Nov. 28, 1873. He was the son of John George
Koser of Greenwich and his second wife a Baer, of
Albany. His second wife was. Anna Maria Helfrich.
widow of Sam Helfrich, and sister of Colonel Daniel
Grim, and a born Krouse. She had four daughters.
Anna Maria, Sallie, Amelia and Betzy Helfrich, and
died at Kutztown about 1865. His sisters were: Regina,
wife of Henry Adam, who went West; Barbara, wife
of A. Schearer of Windsor; another married to a Mr.
Bailer; and one married to a Kercher, moved to Lehigh
Gap. The Koser family were pioneer settlers of Green-
wich and extensive land owners. In 1754 George Koser
is taxed £16, 4s., 6d.; in 1759, John Koser, £20, and
later we have names of John, Jacob, and George. One
Jacob Koser (according to Colonial records), aged
twenty-three years, qualified Sept. 23, 1734, having emi-
grated in ship "Hope" from Rotterdam; and Christopher
Koser, aged thirty-six years, in the ship "Mary" of Lon-
don, qualified Sept. 6, 1733. John Koser was naturalized
at Northern Liberties, Philadelphia county, on the 24th
and 25th of Sept., 1764. The Kosers who first emi-
grated were natives of Wurtemberg, Swabia.

The Koser family is of Greek origin. In the year
1102 one Herman Abolde, a crusader, armourer and
farrier returning homeward from the east, took a
Cyprian youth captive in the mountains of tlie Isle of
Cyprus, and brought him safely through Italy and
Switzerland to his home in Saltzburg, Germany. Here
the Bishop Eustachius, after a consultation, himself
baptized and named him Herman Koser — signifying,
"the rescued, or the redeemed." He learned the trade
of his captor and later became a great warrior, and
by his valor became the chief of a large troop of
knights he massed in Bohmen, Ungarn and Sclavonia,
with which he made many destructive invasions into
Baiern, Schlesien and Sachsen. In Schlesien he stole
and married a lady of noble family whose name was
Isabella Von Koeneritz. During an engagement in



588



HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



the vicinity of Regentsburg. while following up the
enemy and rashly crossing the Danube at a dangerous
place, he was drowned in the year 1145. His four
sons followed the footsteps of their father and three
remained in the many violent battles they fought. The
fourth and youngest, named Ferdinand Koser, joined
the Crusades and returning he found most of his prop-
erty at Saltzburg. destroyed. He sold the rest at a
small price and moved to Augsburg and from there to
Donauworth, where he married Durethe Meininger,
and on his death, A. D. 1203, he left one son Karl
Koser. He married Elenora Schippen of Innsbruck,
and left several sons, whose descendants were decim-
ated by famine, pestilence and the sword during the
Thirty Years' war, so that (according to the genealogi-
cial tables at Vienna. Vol. Ill, Page 202). in the year 1634,
only two remained. These two were distantly related
and the one, Albert Koser, was a magistrate or judge
(Schultheiss Zu Soflingen) at Ulm, and his descend-
ants were scattered in Upper Swabiaiand Switzerland.
The other one was John George Koser, who was
primus or principal (Kloisterfocht) of a monastery at
Frankfurt-on-the-Main. In the middle of the eighteenth
century his descendants are found at Frankfurt and
also in other places on the Main, and the Rhine, and in
various circumstances.

Flora Anna Koser had one brother, Daniel, who died
March 18, 1821, in his ninth year. She was born March
2, 1822, on the original Koser homestead, in Greenwich
township. She had one sister, Hannah, born July 12.
1824, married to Joseph Dry, of Drysville. She raised
a family of ten children, and is now living at Reading,
Pa., in her eighty-fifth year.

Isaac K. Strasser and his wife. Flora Anna, were
the parents of eleven children as follows: (1) Charles
Koser, born July 19, 1843, died in infancy. (2) Dr.
Thomas .Augustus was born Dec. 24. 1845. (3) Anna
Familia Caroline, born Sept. 23, 1847, is the de-
ceased wife of William Weaver, a traveling salesman
(left no issue). (4) Sarah Sabina C, born Oct. 27. 1849,
(first) m. Eugene D. Bieber, of Kutztown (had chil-
dren: Rev. Herbert Walter, a Presbyterian minister
at Bradford, Pa., and Stella Louisa, m. to Mr. Robert
Alsover, of Big Stone Gap, Va.), and (second) Charles
Messersmith, deceased (children: George Strasser
Messersmith and Lieutenant Robert Eugene Messer-
smith of the U. S. Marine service). (5) Horace Wil-
liam, born March 23, 1852, a railroad engineer and
former clerk in a mercantile house, died in Reading in
October, 1885. He m. Mary Scheidy, and left no chil-
dren. (0) Leander Gustave, born Feb. 37, 1854, died in
infancy. (7) Ellen Esther, born Feb. 10. 1855, died at
Kutztown in July, 1876, aged over twenty-one years.
(8) Clara Louisa, born March 28, 1857, m. Levi S.
Mabry, of Mertztown, at one time a justice of the
peace and deputy treasurer and later Register of Wills
of Berks county. They have one son Roy, a graduate
of Keystone State Normal School, and of Ursinus Col-
lege. (9) Annie Lydia, born Nov. 8, 1858, m. Nathan S.
Schaeffer, a merchant of Fleetwood, and they have
one daughter Helen. (10) Elizabeth Alice, born Sept.
10. 1861, m. Josiah Koch, a contractor and builder of
Reading, and died the mother of Harry, Elsie. Floyd
and Evelyn. (11) Avila Maria, born April 22, 1864, died
in infancy. Isaac K. Strasser, father of above, died at
Fleetwood. June, 1897, aged seventy-nine years and
ten months. His wife Flora Anna died in August, 1896,
aged seventy-four years. Both are resting in Hope
Cemetery, at Kutztown.

Dr. Thomas Augustus Strasser was born at Kutz-
town, Berks Co., Pa., on Dec. 24. 1845. From boyhood
he loved books and Nature, and evinced a desire foT
study, preferring the field of Science. His ambition
was to obtain a classical or higher university education
but circumstances were not favorable as he was the
oldest of a large family. He felt it incumbent to assist
his parents rather than impose a burden. Ete regularly
attended the public and private schools at Kutztown



and at the age of fourteen, the Allentown Seminary,
now MJuhlenberg College. Against his own inclination,
but to comply with his father's wishes, he served as a
clerk in the store of G. Y. Kemp and Jacob Sunday
from the Spring of 1861 to the Fall of 1862. At this
time a business life being distasteful and not conducive
to study, he resolved to enter upon teaching as a step-
ping-stone to a learned profession. He secured the
Lockridge school. Longswamp township, and in the
spring of 1863 returning home he continued his studies
at Maxatawny and Fairview Seminary (now Keystone
State Normal School), until fall, when he taught two
successive terms in the Kutztown public schools, in the
meantime continuing his studies at Fairview Seminary
during the summer and private tutoring while teaching.
In the spring of 1865 he entered the office of Drs. Ger-
asche and Trexler as a medical student and in the fol-
lowing October matriculated in and attended the Med-
ical Deparment of the University of Pennsylvania,
session 1865-66. Returning to Kutztown in the Spring
of this year he opened a private school having 75 to 85
pupils on the roll, continuing the same time his medical
studies with his preceptors. In October, 1866, he re-en-
tered the University and took his degree in Medicine
on March 14, 1867. The following May he located at
Pleasant Corner, Lehigh county; the field being con-
tracted and isolated and not adapted, for a permanent
home he returned to his native place to await the op-
portunity of a more promjsing field. On Oct. 21, 1868,
he located at Millerstown, Lehigh county (now Macun-
gie). where by January, 1869, he had succeeded in
establishing himself in an extensive and lucrative practice,
and here he remained for a period of seventeen years,
having a career of continued success. This success he
ascribes in a large measure to the advice of his mother:
Remember the poor, be kind and considerate, the Lord
is their paymaster. During this time he succeeded Dr.
William Herbst, of Trexlertown, as physician and sur-
geon to the Lehigh County Almshouse and hospital,
serving nine years. In 1870 he became a member of
Lehigh Lodge, No. 33io, F. & A. M., Trexlertown, and
other organizations. He served fourteen years as a
school director of Macungie. The most important
events here were his marriage and the birth of his three
children. On May 17. 1870, Dr. Strassex united himself
in hymeneal bonds with Alawilda Catharine Elizabeth
Greasemer, only daughter of Dr. Abraham Greasemer,
a dentist of Allentown and his wife Sarah (Stettler)
and sister of their only son, Asher B.. a physician and
dentist. Dr. Greasemer was born in Hereford town-
ship, Nov. 4. 1822, and is still living. His wife Sarah
was born December. 1826, near Ziegels church, Weis-
enburg. Lehigh county, and died Aug. 7, 1907.

The children of Dr. and Mrs. Strasser are: (1)
Charles William Thomas, born March 22. 1871. is
a graduate of Allentown high school, Muhlenberg Col-
lege, attended Mt. Airy Lutheran Theological Seminary
and graduated from Divinity Department, Yale Univ-
sity. He has served over ten years the Hamilton
charge, Monroe county. He was married to IMinnie Har-
man, of the same place. (2) Robert Eugene, born
June 5, 187.1, a successful physician at Reading, is
mentioned farther on. (3) Ellen Esther, born Aug. 8,
1876, a graduate of the Reading high school, is the
wife of H. M. Albright, a manufacturer and wholesale
shoe merchant, at No. 335 Penn street, Reading. They
have one daughter, Elizabeth Strasser Albright.

A Reading medical practitioner expressing an urgent
desire to retire from practice, induced Dr. Strasser to
buy the house at No. 210 North Sixth street, on condi-
tion that they enter into partnership for a short time
until he introduced him into the practice, when he was
to relinquish in his favor. Accordingly Dr. Strasser
moved from Macungie to the above place on Oct. 5,
1885, but the latter part of the above ciontract never
having been fulfilled, this move proved neither agree-
able nor profitable, but entailed a great financial sac-
rifice on the part of Dr. Strasser. In October 1888



BIOGRAPHICAL



589



he moved to No. 31 South Ninth street, and attended
special courses on eye, ear, nose and throat diseases
at the Philadelphia and New York Polyclinic and post-
graduate schools. His practice steadily increased and
in April, 1891, he located at No. 914 Penn street, and in
May, 1899, he moved to No. 931 Penn street, where hav-
ing relinquished general practice he still continues the
treatment of eye, ear, nose and throat and chronic
diseases.

Dr. Strasser is now past sixty-three years and is still
a lover of books and nature and although his youthful
aspirations for a higher university training were not
realized he has more than compensated for it by his
studious life and a library of standard authors. As a
relaxation from his professional duties, he has engaged
in original research in signalling through space, direct
conversions of the energy of coal (crystallized sunlight)
into electricity, local and long-distance electric steth-
oscopy for diagnosis of diseases of heart and lungs,
transportation of electric power, navigation of space,
heating and lighting, aids of hearing for the deaf, means
of a literature for the blind, the phonograph and other
fascinating and interesting subjects. In 1899 he dis-
covered the principle of long-distance telegraphy and
telephony, by means of loadinpj the lines thereby neu-
tralizing the electrostatic capacity with the electro-mag-
netic induction and sending along the wires distortion-
less waves suffering equal attenuation. He was antic-
ipated by Prof. Pupin, of Columbia University, who
realized over one million dollars from the idea. In
the spring of 1900 he designed a self-restoring or auto-
matic eye or ear for the detection of wireless tele-
graphic and telephonic waves, and later found it was
used in the Italian navy and was the coherer used by
Signor Marconi to receive the first wireless signal
across the Atlantic on Dec. 12. 1901. He has since con-
tinued the work and his experiments, and invented
transmitters, repeaters and receivers embodying an en-
tire new and broad principle for telephoay, with and
without wires, and foresees the possibility at a day not
far distant of talking across the Atlantic and the Con-
tinent as easily as we talk to New York or Chicago.

Dr. Strasser, having considered through life that the
acquisition of knovv^ledge for the betterment of society
or race and the conscientious discharge of the duties
of his self-sacrificing profession are paramount, found
no time for the acquisition of wealth.

'Dr. Robert Eugene Strasser began his education at
the common schools of Macungie and Reading, to which
city he had come with his father when a boy, and
later attended the high school. He took up the reading



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 164 of 227)