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 165 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 165 of 227)
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of medicine with his father, following with courses in
the M?edico-Chirurgical College of Philadelphia, and the
Baltimore Medical University, from which latter he
graduated in 1894. After that he did post-graduate work
at the University of Vermont, graduating therefrom in
1895. and Jefferson Medical College. Philadelphia, grad-
uating from the latter in 1896. While there he was on
the hospital staff as clinical assistant in the eye and
surgical department of Jefferson College Hospital. H«
commenced practice in Lehigh county in July, 1896, re-
maining at his father's old location in Macungie until
Sept. 28, 1898, when he came to Reading, becoming a
member of the staff of Reading Hospital, where he
serv^sd for a period of five years. Meantime he had
entered upon general practice as assistant to his suc-
cessful father; and his increasing practice made it ne-
cessary for him' to resign from his hospital duties at
the end of that time. Dr. Strasser is a general prac-
titioner, and has been very successful in his treatment
of many complicated cases, giving most careful atten-
tion to his patients, sparing himself in no way when
life or health are in the balance. Thus he has won
the confidence and affection of the community, and he
enjoys as much practice as he is able to handle. He
was nominated as candidate for Coroner of Berks
county on June 5, 1906, his thirty-third birthday, and



was elected the following fall, being his first candidacy
and the winner over five competitors. It was his lot to
officiate at the Boyertown fire which occurred Jan. 13,
1908, and where 171 lives perished. The Doctor is a
close student and has associated himself with the var-
ious medical organizations of his county and State, in-
cluding the Lehigh County Medical Society, the Read-
ing Medical Society and the Pennsylvania State Med-
ical Association. The Doctor's offices are located at
No. 1024 Elm Street, where he also has his home. In
politics he is a Democrat.

Dr. Strasser married Miss Laura E. Dreibelbis, daugh-
ter of Dr. Samuel L. Dreibelbis, and one child has been
born to this union, a daughter. Hazel.

DAVID MERKEL. One of the well-known names
in Berks county is that of Merkel. The family has
been connected with the history of this section of the
State for many years, a worthy representative being
the subject of this review. David Merkel was born in
Longswamp township, Berks county, M'ay 3, 1837. He
was the son of Peter Merkel, and the grandson of
Peter Merkel.

Peter Merkel, the grandfather, is supposed to have
been a native of Germany, leaving that country with
his parents when quite young. He married Christiana
Weiss, and together they made their home in the
vicinity of Fogelsville, in Macungie township, where
they lived for many years. They both lie in the old
cemetery at Zeigler's church in Lehigh county. Their
family numbered five children: Peter (2); John, who
lived in Weisenburg township, and whose only son
was named Charles; Jacob, who also had a son Charles,
and whose home was near Kline's Corner, in Maxataw-
ny township; Jonas, of Longswamp township, whose
children were — John, Willoughby and Mary; Daniel,
also of Longswamp township, who had three children
— Nathan, Eliza and Hannah.

Peter Merkel (2), son of Peter, and father of David,
was born in Macungie, Lehigh county, Sept. 23. 1796.
His occupation was that of farming, which he followed
all of his life. A fine tract of seventy acres of land
lying on the line between Maxatawny and Longswamp
townships was kept under cultivation. Besides his
farm work he took great interest in the affairs of the
community, and was also active in the work of Zeig-
ler's Church, being deacon and elder of that organiza-
tion. Peter Merkel's wife was Catharine Walbert,
daughter of John Walbert. . She was born Sept. 14,
1801, and died March 27, 1865, aged sixty-three years,
six months, thirteen days. Her husband died two
years later, on May 30th at the age of seventy years,
eight months, seven days. Both are buried at Zeig-
ler's Church in Lehigh county. To Mr. and Mrs. Mer-
kel seven children were born, four daughters and three
sons: Hettie died unmarried; Caroline m. David Zeig-
ler; Eliza m. Isaac Mayer; John, a resident of Maxa-
tawny township, had children — Albert, William, Har-
vey, Cassie, Peter, and four who died in childhood;
Mary, born Dec. 24, 1834, m. Thomas Warmkessel;
David is referred to later; Henry, living near Cedar-
ville, has six children living — Frank, Harry, Peter, Ed-
win, Eliza and Hettie.

David Merkel spent the first eighteen vears of his
life on the farm, where he became proficient in all
work pertaining to an agricultural life. Here was ac-
quired the strength of mind and muscle that was to
become such a factor in his future life work of rail-
roading. He also learned the trade of saddler which
he followed for four years, when he resided near Farm-
ington, Lehigh county. At the age of twenty-two he
became an employe of the East Catasauqua & Fogels-
ville Railroad, and four years later he was given the
place of section foreman, retaining this position for
mcrre than forty years, or until two years before his
death. 'J'be long service to the railroad entitled him
to the well-earnpd pension which he was receiving at
the time of his death. Aug. 31, 1906. at his home one



590



HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



mile south of Rothrocksville, in Maxatawny township,
where he had made his residence since 1868. Here on
a fine tract of nine acres with a substantial brick resi-
dence he lived all of the time that could be spared
from the exacting duties required by such an important
public utility as a railroad. He was a Reformed mem-
ber of the Maxatawny Zion Church, in the adjoining
graveyard of which he is buried.

On Oct. 5, 1861, Mr. Merkel married Sarah Ma-
tilda, daughter of Peter Schwoyer, of Fritztown,
Spring township. They became the parents of eight
children: Catharine, born Oct. 3, 1862, m. Frank
Moyer, of Hoffmansville, Pa.; George M., born Feb.
3, 1864, is a farmer in Richmond township; Louisa
R., born Oct. 20, 1865, m, Charles Levan, of Maxa-
tawny; Anna Esther, born Nov. 2, 1867, m. Martin
Good, of New York City; Laura E., born Aug. 31.
1870. m. James Guldin, a farmer of Maxatawny town-
ship; Robert W., born 1874, died 1889; Lillie A., born
June 28, 1877, m. John Kemp; Caroline, born 1883,
died 1886.,

ELMEJR. F. REED, senior member of the firm of
Reed & Kurtz, restaurant proprietors at No. 433 Penn
street, Reading, was born on the old Reed homestead
in Marion township, Berks county, Feb. 8, 1876, son of
Franklin B. Reed, and grandson of Daniel Reed.

Franklin B. Reed was born one mile north of
Stouchsburg, Dec. 23, 1839, and died Jan. 16, 1905. He
was reared to farming, and he followed that occupation
all of his life on the Marion township homestead. He
owned a tract of forty-five acres there, and this tract
was crossed by the old Union canal and Tulpehocken
creek. He was a man of progressive spirit, and
for eleven years was a school director in his township.
He was a prominent member of Reed church, at
Stouchsburg. which had been founded by earlier mem-
bers of the family and several of their pioneer neighbors
in the Tulpehocken settlement in 1733. He served as
a deacon and elder, and also as treasurer of the church.
He was always active in public affairs, and was one of
the useful men in his commiinity. He was an antiquar-
ian, and he had a large collection of Indian relics, in-
cluding arrow heads, tomahawks, hatchets, skinners,
giggers, etc., all now in the possession of his son, John
A. Mr. Reed married Rebecca E. Reed, born Aug. 35,
1841, daughter of John S. and Rebecca (Eckert) Reed.
She now lives among her children. Three children were
born of this union, namely: William, born in 1864. was
drowned in the Union canal at the age of seven years;
John A., born Oct. 3, 1871. married Annie Sholl; and
Elmer F.

Elmer F. Reed received his education in the district
schools, and later attended Stouchsburg Academy,
then under the direction of Rev. John Klingler and
Prof. Harry Posey. He was brought up on the home
farm, working there until he was nineteen years of
age. In 1895 he came to Reading and entered the em-
ploy of Ezra Wenrich, proprietor of Wenrich's restau-
rant below Sixth street on Penn, now at Penn and
Seventh streets. There Mr. Reed worked for about
four years, gaining a very thorough and practical
knowledge of the business. In 1899 he began for him-
self at No. 545 Penn street, and for three years car-
ried on the restaurant there with great success. In 1902
he formed a partnership with Adam Kurtz, under the
firm name of Reed & Kurtz, and they have since con-
ducted the restaurant at No. 433 Penn street. They
are well known all over the county, and have a very,
large trade, paying particular attention to working men.
They employ seven waiters, and the partners personally
look after the business.

Mr. Reed is a member of Camp No. 560, P. O. S. of
A., at Reading; and the Liberty Fire Company. He is
a member of Reed's Lutheran Church at Stouchsburg.
In politics he is a Republican.

On Alarch 3, 1907, Mr. Reed married Hermie Hoffa.
daughter of Jacob and Mary (Schoener) Hoffa, of



Marion township. Two children have been born to
them, namely: Earl Valentine and Theodore Roosevelt.

ADAM KURTZ, junior member of the firm of Reed
& Kurtz, .proprietors of a popular restaurant at No.
433 Penn street, Reading, Pa., was born Aug. 21, 1877,
in Marion township, Berks Co., Pa., son of William
and Seleca (Kintzer) Kurtz.

William Kurtz was born March 32, 1834, in Marion
township, where the Kurtz family was established
early in the eighteenth century. All of his life has
been spent in agricultural pursuits on the fine 100-
acre farm on which he now resides, and on which is
situated an old two and one-half story stone barn, a
part of which was erected by Johann Jacob Losch,
in about 1753, in which year he also erected the old his-
toric house, which was used as an Indian fort in Col-
onial days. William Kurtz was married (first) May
12, 1863, to Amanda Grimes, who died in 1865, in her
twenty-first year, leaving two children: Lizzie, m.
to David Althouse, of Womelsdorf; and Sallie, m.
to William Boyer, of Heidelberg township. Mr.
Kurtz's second marriage occurred in 1867, when he
was united with Seleca Kintzer, daughter of Isaac
and Rebecca Kintzer, and there were two sons born
to this marriage: Adam; and Samuel, born March 3,
1881, m. Lottie Trautman. by whom he has had two
children, Mildred and George W.

Adam Kurtz received his education in the public
schools of his native township, and his youth was
spent in agricultural pursuits on the old home farm.
Deciding that there was a brighter future offered
him in the city, he came to Reading in 1895, and for
a time was in the employ of E. S. Wenrich, at No.
545 Penn street, but in June, 1903, with Elmer F.
Reed as a partner, he established the present busi-
ness, the connection having continued to the present
time. The restaurant caters especially to the work-
ing man, and is one of the most popular of its kind
in the city, gratifying success having attended the
partners' efforts. In fraternal circles, Mr. Kurtz is
connected with Washington Camp No. 560. P. O. S.
of A.; Muhlenberg Lodge. No. 1082, I. O. O. F.. both
of Reading; Chandler Lodge. No. 327, F. & A. M.;
Reading Lodge of Perfection, 14th degree; Williams-
port Consistory. 32d degree, and Rajah Temple, A.
A. O. N. M. S. He is also a member of Liberty
Fire Company. He and his family belong to First
Reformed Church.

On June 1, 1903, Mr. Kurtz was married to Bessie
Horn, eldest daughter of Robert and Mary (Reider)
Horn, of Reading. Mr. and Mrs. Kurtz reside in their
comfortable home at No. 513 Weiser street.

ROBERT H. DENNISON, Sr., now retired, who-
was master painter for the Philadelphia & Reading
system, with headquarters at Reading. Pa., is one of
the best known men in his line in this city, as well
as a highly respected citizen. Although a native of
another country he has given his allegiance to his
adopted land and proved himself a public-spirited,
progressive and intelligent citizen, He was born in
1862, at Kingston, Canada, and was but a child when
his parents removed to Albany, N. Y., and in the pub-
lic schools of that city he obtained his education.

His schooling completed, Mr. Dennison apprenticed
himself to learn the trade of carriage painter, a call-
ing he industriously and successfully followed until
1887, when he was offered a position in the painting
department of the New York Central Railroad. This
he accepted and held until 1896, when he became mas-
ter painter for the Philadelphia & Reading Company.
This position he continued to fill until his retirement
to the satisfaction of all concerned. He showed great
executive ability in his management of the two hun-
dred men under him, his work covering several di-
visions of the system, and he won the regard and
respect of his subordinates as well as his superiors,
a state of affairs very essential to success.



BIOGRAPHICAL



591



In 1887 Mr. Dennison was married to Miss Margaret
Acker, of Albany, N. Y., and to this union has been
born one son, Robert H., who is employed in the
mechanical department of the Philadelphia & Read-
ing Company. The pleasant home and comfortable
residence of Mr. Dennison is located on the Kutz-
town Road, Hyde Park. Mr. Dennison is a member
of the Masonic fraternity, belonging to St. John's
Lodge, No. 435, F. & A. M., of Reading; Reading
Chapter, No. 237, R. A. M.; Reading Commandery.
No. 42, K. T.; Philadelphia Consistory, No. 320, of
Philadelphia; a charter member of the Lodge of Per-
fection, of Reading; and Rajah Temple, A. A. O. N.
M. S. He also belongs to Reading Lodge of Elks.
Mr. and Mrs. Dennison .are members of the Episcopal
Church.

CHARLES A. SMITH, the well known contractor
of Reading, who resides at No. 313 North Ninth street,
was born in Philadelphia, Pa., Sept. 10, 1856, son of
Joseph T., whose father was a farmer of Adams coun-
ty.

Joseph T. Smith attended the public schools of Ad-
ams county, and when a young man learned the brick-
laying trade. His early business life was spent in
Reading, but later he removed to Philadelphia, where
he spent eight years, at the end of that time return-
ing to Reading. In 1873 he engaged in contracting
in brick, and this he followed very successfully until
his death, Aug. 6, 1891. He married Barbara Ritner,
daughter of Jacob Ritner, and to this union there were
born: Frank, a brick layer is employed with his
brother; Charles A.; Mary, m. to George Rippel; John,
deceased; Vincent A.; and William A., who was
Charles' partner until his death in 1897. For a number
of years Mr. Joseph T. Smith was a school controller
from the Ninth ward.

Charles A. Smith's educational advantages were se-
cured in the schools of Reading, after leaving which
he secured employment in the Scott works, and he
continued at various positions until 1873, when he
began to learn the bricklayer's trade with H. J. De-
Long, of Reading. Remaining with this gentleman
but a short time, Mr. Smith entered his father's em-
ploy and continued with him until the latter's death,
when he and his brother William took uo the business,
which they continued until William's death. Since
this time Mr. Charles A. Smith has continued the
business alone with great success. Among th^ many
large buildings of Reading erected by the Smiths may
be mentioned the St. Joseph Hospital, and Mr. Smith
has also done much work for the well-known firm of
Rehr & Fricker.

Charles A. Smith married Maggie Waldman, daugh-
ter of Joseph Waldman, and to this union there have
been born: Joseph, who is engaged with his father
at brick laying; Mamie; William, and Edward. Mr.
Smith is a Democrat in politics, but has never cared
for office. He is a member of the St. Paul's Catholic
Church. Fraternally, Mr. Smith is affiliated with the
Eagles.

LOTZ. The records of the Lotz family show that
it was founded in America prior to the Revolution by
(I) Nicholas Lotz, who was born Feb. 20, 1740, in
the Palatinate, Germany. He emigrated to Pennsyl-
vania when still a young man. first settling in the
western section of the county of Berks. Some time
previous to the breaking out of hostilities in the Rev-
olution, he located at Wyomissing creek, where he be-
came the owner of two miles at its mouth, a princely
possession, and he conducted it very successfully.
When the struggle for independence demanded his ser-
vices, he was prominently identified with the patriotic
movement at Reading. In January, 1775, he was se-
lected chairman of the standing committee. He served
as delegate to the Provincial Conference in June, 1776,
and upon his return home he took an active part in the



enlistment of men. He himself was commissioned
lieutenant-colonel, and took part in the campaign of
the "Flying Camp" at New York, where he was en-
gaged in the battle of Long Island and taken prisoner.
He was admitted to parole within certain bounds on
April 16, 1777, and exchanged on Sept. 10, 1779. He
showed great interest in militia matters, being at the
head of the battalion in the central section of the county
from 1775 through a period of miany years. In 1780
he was appointed commissioner of Forage, and as such
purchased supplies for the army until the close of
the war. The executive council addressed him as col-
onel, and recognized him as holding such rank. Col.
Lotz represented Berks county in the General Assembly
from 1784 to 1786, and again from 1790 to 1794, and
he filled the office of associate judge of the coun-
ty from 1795 to 1806. Gov. Thomas Mifflin gave
him the appointment, not only because of his
belief that he was the best man for the exalted
position, but also because of the deep friendship which
existed between them. While President Washington
was at Reading on his way to Carlisle, in 1794, Col.
Lotz commanded the imposing parade which honored
the presence of the distinguished visitor. The review
took place in Penn square, and the President was sta-
tioned on the second story of the "Federal Inn" (now
the site of the Farmers Bank building). Col. Lotz
was a tall, finely proportioned man, over six feet in
height, and weighing about 300 pounds, and upon that
occasion, he attracted marked attention not only on
account of his commanding presence, but also because
of his military, political and social prominence. Col.
Lotz died at Reading Nov. 28, 1807, and his' remains
were interred in the graveyard of the Reformed church,
but later they were removed to the Charles EVans
cemetery. Eight children survived Col. Lotz: Philip,
Nicholas, Jacob, John, Henry, Michael, William and
Rosa (m. to John Yeager).

(II) Philip Lotz, son of Col. Lotz, was a life-long
resident of Reading and for many years he kept a hotel
at Lutz Dam. By trade he was a saddler. In 1856-57
he represented the Southwest ward in the council. By
his wife. Catherine, he had children as follows: Sarah
m. Ivan Benson; Rebecca m. a Mr. Shanaman; Hannah
m. George Fichthorn; Mary ra. Paris Hain; Molly m.
George East; Peter m. and his children were — Mary,
Henry, William, John and Peter (twins), Harry. James!
Philip and Louise; Philip; William m. and had children
— Barbara, Kathryn, Henry, Caroline, Philip, William,
Casper and Emma.

(HI) Philip Lotz, son of Philip Lotz, was born Nov.
24, 1802, and died Aug. 9, 1858, aged fifty-five years.
By trade he was a butcher, and followed that occupa-
tion many years, residing at Lutz's Dam where the
sheet mill is now located. The old stone house was
built in 1811, and there all his children were born. This
landmark is still standing. Philip Lotz married Anna
East, born July 7, 1808, died May 20, 1882. aged sev-
enty-four years. Their children were: Henry and Na-
than died in infancy; Cyrus and Jeremiah were killed
in the Civil war; Mary Ann died in infancy; Sarah m.
Charles Melcher; Catherine m. Alfred Franks, of Read-
ing; Michael was killed in the Civil war; Ivans, born
Nov. H, 1842, died May 17, 1899; Andrew; and Anna
■m. Harry Cook, of Reading. , *

(IV) Andrew Lotz, son of Philip Lotz, was born
in Reading April 6, 1844, and has always made this
city his home. When only seventeen years of age
he commenced working on the old Schuylkill canal as
a laborer, and after two years began boating on the
canal, under Captain Aaron Hoyer. After several
seasons they were in the employ of the government
in the vicinity of Washington, but upon the outbreak
of the Civil war, he sympathized with the struggle
of the government, and in 1864 enlisted in Company D,
198th Pa. V. I., and served fifteen months. He was
wounded in the leg at South Side Railroad in Virginia,
March 29, 1864. After the war he returned to Reading



nd2



HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



and became bar clerk for several establishments, finally
establishing himself in the hotel business in which
he continued for twenty years, but he is now living
retired at No. 458 Tulpehocken street, Reading. In
18G5 Mr. Lotz married Ellen Catherine Lieb, born
March 8. 1850, daughter of Joshua Lieb of Spring town-
ship. Mr. and Mrs. Lotz had these children: Sallie C,
George E., Rosa, Annie, Edward, Joseph, Ella and
Howard, all of whom reside in Reading.

(V) Geoege E. Lotz, son of Andrew Lotz, was born in
Reading Aug. 16. 1869. He commenced working in a
pipe foundry at Second and Court streets when only
fourteen years old, and there remained for several years,
when he went to work in a brick yard. After several
years he engaged with the United States Express Com-
pany, and was with them for nine years, when he
changed to the Adams Express Company, and remained
with thera for eighteen months. For one year he was
in the employ of the Union Cab Company, and then for
another year he was with a wholesale house. His next
employer was Wj. H. Luden, the candy manufacturer of
Reading, whose head teamster he was for three years.
On Jan. 8, 1906, Mr. Lotz embarked in the hotel busi-
ness, and is the proprietor of the popular hotel at No.
153 North Tenth street, which he has since conducted
so as to win for his hostelry a steady patronage, not
only from the traveling public, but also from residents
of the city.

For three years Mr. Lotz served as a member of the
National Guard, and with Company I of the Fourth
Regiment was at Drifton, and at Latimore, Pa. This
company was first attached to the Eleventh regiment.
He is now a member of the Sons of Veterans, Camp
No. 16; the Old Guard Association; the Reading
Turnverein; and Nest No. 116, American Order of
Owls. He is also the representative of the Liquor
Dealers Protective Association. Ever since old enough
to cast his first vote, he has been a Democrat.

On May 14, 1889, Mr. Lotz married Catherine Raeger,
daughter of Henry and Emma (Snyder) Raeger, of
Reading, and they have two children, Elwood Hl and
Walter A.



(III) Witliam Lotz, son of Philip, and father of
Casper Lotz, was born at Reading April 4, 1799. All of
his life was spent in Reading, where he carried on a
large and successful butchering business on North Fifth
street at the location of the present Masonic Temple.
Mr. Lotz was active in church work, assisting in
building the First Reformed and St. John's Re-
formed churches of Reading. He served on the build-
ing committees of both churches, and was very liberal
in his contributions. Among other things he contrib-
uted the brick used in the erection of St. John's Re-
formed church at Ninth and Chestnut streets. He mar-
ried Sarah Hess, daughter of Casper Hess, of Reading,
and they had these children: Barbara m. Rev. Henry
Hoflfman, a Reformed minister; Kathryn m. John H.
Seltzer; Caroline died unmarried; William died in in-
fancy; Henry is of Reading; Philip is of Reading; Cas-
per FI.; Emma m. Albert Briemer. of Reading.

(IV) Casper H. Lotz was bom in Reading Oct. 27,
1839. and was educated in the public schools of Read-
ing. He learned butcherinp- from his father, following
that line of business all of his active life in Reading.
For years he attended the Reading miarket on Penn
Square, and was one of the well known butchers of the
city for nearly half a century, and controlled the best
trade, always carrying a very fine class of goods. He
gave his personal supervision to the work. His butcher
shop was on North Fifth street, the present location of
the Masonic Temple. This property was the home-



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 165 of 227)