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 182 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 182 of 227)
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ion of Philadelphia county the larger portion of this
tract of land was brought within the confines of Maxa-
tawny township, Berks county, close by the borders
of Lehigh. Casper Wister dealt extensively in lands,
and on the early records he is almost invariably desig-
nated as the brass button maker of Philadelphia.
In October, 1734, Casper Wister and his wife Cath-
erine conveyed 133 acres of this land to one Jost Hen-
ry Sasamonhousen, "Blacksmith," who on March 5,
1761, in confirmation of his title to the same, .ob-
tained a patent deed for it from the proprietaries,
John and Thomas Penn. On Dec. 3, 1761, Jost H'en-
ry Sasamonhousen and his wife Petronilla conveyed
the same to Henry Sasamonhousen, one of their sons,
and on April 19, 1775, Henry Sasamonhousen and
Elizabeth, his wife, conveyed it to George Smith,
of Macungie township, Northampton (now Lehigh)
county. From George Smitli it descended to his son,
George Smith, Sr., from him to his son, George
Smith, Jr., and from him to his son, George L. Smith,
who is the present owner and occupant.

Two George Schmits came from Germany to Ameri-
ca in the fall of 1749, one on the ship "Patience,"
Sept. 19', and the other on the ship "Leslie," on Oct.
7. Other George Schmits came in other years, but
the weight of circumstances favors the theory that
one of the two arrivals named was the George Smith
who came into possession of this tract of land in 1775.
The future investigator through the help of addition-
al facts may be able to determine wliich of the two
it was. Landing at Philadelphia, he in time removed
inland with the incoming drift of homeseekers, and
settled where now is Fogelsville, within the present
bounds of Lehigh county. He and his wife are in-
terred in a family burying ground on the farm which
he acquired in 1775, but as their tombstones have
long ago crumbled away it cannot be ascertained when
either was born or how long they lived. Their son,
Joh. Georg Schmit, was born Feb. 12, 1770, while
thev yet lived in Lehigh county. Hie married Margaret
Klein, born April 10, 1768, and in course of time came
into possession of the farm, improved it and lived
upon it until the end of his days. He died Jan. 21,
1855, and his wife Margaret Oct. 33, 1850. both being
buried in. the same little burying ground that con-
tains the unmarked graves of their parents.

When Joh. Georg Schmit came into possession of
the farm, the house upon it was a massive stone
structure, built in 1740, probably with a view of not
merely using it for a house but in case of emergency
as a fort as well. This was occupied until in 1841,
when it was abandoned for a new and larger house,
also of stone, which is the Smith family homestead
of to-day. From the information at hand it does not
appear fully what family Joh. Georg Schmit and his
wife Margaret had, but it is definitely known that
they had a son, George, designated as George Schmidt,
Jr., and another named John, who lived near Clauss-
ville, and there raised a family, among whom were
several sons. They also had a daughter, Elizabeth,
who died Oct. 13, 1804, at the age of six and one-half
years; and a son Jonathan, who died May 1. 1816.
in his twenty-third year, both of whom are buried
in the aforementioned little family graveyard.

George Schmidt, Jr., was born April 25, 1800, on
the old homestead in Maxatawny, where he always
lived. The country becoming. Anglicized by this time,
the spelling of the name with him changed from
Schmidt to Smith. He married Lydia Leibensper-
ger, born Nov. 10, 1798, in Lehigh county, and to
them, were born seven children, namely: Stephen,
Caroline, David, George L.. Alfred. James and Re-
becca. (1) Stephen died March 37, 1896, leaving a
widow, one son and four daughters. (2) Caroline



BIOGRAPHICAL



643



died Jan. 17, 1838, in her tenth year. (3) David mar-
ried Catherine Adams, engaged at farming in Le-
high county, and died leaving a widow and two sons.
(4) George L. (5) Alfred died March 11, 1847, in his
seventh year. (i6) James, who was a physician, died
unmarried May 8, 1861, in his twenty-sixth year.
(7) Rebecca married John Kump, of Maxatawny
township, who died survived by his widow and three
children. The remains of Caroline, Alfred and James
rest in the little family burying ground on the Smith
ancestral farm. George Smith, Jr., died Sept. 1, 1890.
During his active years he was one of the leading
spirits of his locality, enterprising and successful
in his own affairs, and bearing his full share of the
duties and responsibilities of citizenship, and during
his long lifetime was respected and honored by those
who knew him. HDis wife died Feb. 3, 1865, twenty-
five years before the death of her husband, and the two
rest side bv side in the family graveyard.

George L. Smith, the fourth child of George and
Lydia (Leibensperger) Smith, was born June 26, 1833,
in the same house in which his father was born and
in which his grandfather had lived. He grew to man-
hood upon the old homestead and received the benefit
of the schools of his neighborhood, later attending
a select school in -Reading, of which the late Hon.
Daniel Ermentrout was principal. He then returned
to the farm and continued at farm labor until in 1854,
when he went to Lehigh county and there for three
years engaged at clerking in a general store. Re-
turning to Maxatawny township, he took charge of
the old homestead and has remained upon it ever
since, engaged at farming and stock-raising. He mar-
ried Louisa Dutt, daughter of Thomas and Henri-
etta (Strauss) Dnitt, who paternally is of English
ancestry and whose family formerly lived in Mont-
gomery county. In course of time he acquired title
to the old homestead and improved it in various ways,
making it for himself and children not only a pleasant
abiding place, but a home in the highest and best
sense. He is an enterprising and progressive citizen,
a man of intelligence and integrity, and enjoys the
confidence and respect of all his neighbors and friends.
He belongs to the Reformed Church, the church of his
family for generations past. In politics he is a Re-
publican. To George L. and Louisa (Dutt) Smith
five children were born, namely: Elizabeth, m. to
Edwin Boyer; Rev. George B.; Dr. James, a prac-
ticing physician living at Allentown, who m. Mary
L. Richards, of Maxatawny, and had two children:
Marion (died in 1903, aged seven years) and George;
Anna, m. to George Strump, and had two children:
Wayne and Mark (died aged five years) ; and William,
m. to Annie Kiefier, living at home..

Rev. George B. Smith, second child of George L.
and Louisa (Dutt) Smith, was born. July 8, 1867,
on the homestead in Maxatawny township which his
family have owned and occupied continuously for
generations. He was reared on the farm and em-
ployed at such duties as usually fall to the lot of
farmer boys. His education began in the country
district school, and was continued in the Keystone
State Normal school at Kutztown. His object in
entering the latter school was to merely obtain some-
thing more of an education than that afforded by
the country schools, but as he advanced from class
to class a desire for more learning grew upon him
and he decided to aim higher. Failing in one of his
aspirations he applied to his Principal, Dr. N. C.
Schaeffer, the oresent State Superintendent of Pub-
lic Instruction, for information and advice, and in
reply received a letter that turned his ambitions in
the direction of college training. This he regards
as the turning point in his career. He subsequently
entered upon a course in Franklin and Marshall Col-
lege, at Lancaster, and graduated from that institu-
tion in 1889. With the advance of years and know-
ledge came the natural desire for employment, and



after careful and conscientious consideration he select-
ed the ministry for his life work. This decision he
arrived at unaided and uninfluenced by circumstances,
purely fr9m a sense of duty, and after graduating
from College he entered the Reformed Theological
seminary at Lancaster, from which he was graduated
in 1892.

On leaving the seminary Dr. Smith returned to
the place of his nativity and, where he was best
known, was formally commissioned to work in the
Master's vineyard. On June 21, 1892, he was ordained
and installed as pastor of the Maxatawny charge of
the Reformed Church, consisting of the congrega-
tions at Maxatawny and at De Long's Church at Bow-
ers. The following spring St. Paul's congregation in
Kutztown, and St. Peter's at Topton were added to
his charge, and in this enlarged field he has ever
since been laboring with gratifying success, preach-
ing to all of his congregations in both the English
and German languages.

On Aug. 22, 1893, Dr. George B. Smith was mar-
ried to Miss Mary L. Reynolds, daughter of Stephen
Cromwell and Mary L. (Capwell) Reynolds, of near
Factoryville, Pa. They have one child, Arline Au-
gusta Reynolds, born Sept. 4, 1896.

ALBERT S. LEIDY, merchant of Boyertown, comes
of a family long settled in Frederick township, Mont-
gomery Co., Pa., where he was born Oct. 20, 1845.

Jacob Leidy, his grandfather, lived in Frederick
township, where he engaged in farming, owning the
homestead farm of over 100 acres — a very fine place.
He and his wife had a family of ten or twelve chil-
dren, among whom_ was but one son, Francis. He
is buried in the private burial ground of the family
in Frederick township, near Keelers church, on the
old Leidy homestead; several generations of the family
are interred there.

Francis _ Leidy, son of Jacob, was born about 1814
in Frederick township, Montgomery county, and died
at the age of about forty-five, in 1857-58, at Potts-
town, where he is buried. In his earlier life he fol-
lowed farming, but later he was engaged as a hay
dealer in Pottstown, continuing to follow that busi-
ness until his death. He was successful in business
and accumulated property.

Mr. Leidy was twice married, his first wife being
Rachel Smith, daughter of John Smith, of Red Hill,
Montgomery Co., Pa., and to them were born three
children, one son and two daughters: Rebecca m.
Alex. Sassaman, and resides in Philadelphia; Amanda
(deceased) m. William Dannahaur and lived in Phila-
delphia; Albert S. is mentioned below. By his second
marriage, with Mary Ann Hoffman, Mr. Leidy had
one daughter, who died young.

Albert S. Leidy was born at Frederick and attended
the schools at Fegleysville and the Swamp, in Mont-
gomery county. When young he followed the cigar
business for a short time, but when the Civil war
broke out he entered the Union service, in which he
remained for three years. He was only in his seven-
teenth year when he enlisted, in 1862, in Company H,
119th Pa. V. I., at Zieglerville, and he was promoted
from the ranks, in time becoming first lieutenant of
that company, which was attached to the 6th Army
Corps, Army of the Potomac. Though in many fierce
engagements Mr. Leidy was never wounded. At the
battle of the Wilderness he had a very narrow escape
a bullet striking the scabbard of his sword, thus sav-
ing him from a wound in the leg. He says he hated
to lose the scabbard, as it was new, and he had just
paid $25 for the scabbard and sword, but he' picked
up another which' answered the purpose, and which
he still has in his possession. He was mustered out
at Philadelphia.

After the war Mr._ Leidy engaged in the manufac-
ture of clothmg at Zieglerville, following this business
in all for fourteen years, and employing at times as



(M4



HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



many as two hundred people. The product was men's
woolen clothing. He then lived for a year in Phila-
delphia, where he was in the cotton yarn business,
and in' 1881 he located in Gilbertsville, IVLontgomery
county, where was in the horse and cattle business
for six years. He was in that business with M. L.
Ritter for one year. In 1886 he came to Boyertown,
where he engaged in the baking and liquor business,
continuing same successfully for a period of twenty-
one years, at one location. In the soring of 1907 he
was succeeded in this business by his son J. Albfert.
Since that time he has built a double brick house on
Walnut street, Boyertown, near the famous casket
factory, and in the summer of 1908 he built a three-
story brick store and residence on the northeast
corner of Philadelphia avenue and Walnut street, where
he is now conducting a grocery store. He is also
interested in the casket factory. Mr. Leidy is a mem-
ber of General Crook Post, No. 597, G. A. R., of Boy-
ertown, and is also connected with Quakertown Lodge,
No. 512, F. & A. M.

In 1870 Mr. Leidy married Elizabeth Brvan, daugh-
ter of Dr. Joel and Maria (Shaner) Bryan, the former
an Englishman who practised medicine at New Ber-
linville. Pa. Five children have been born to this
union: Ulysses S. died in infancy; Oren Ross, a
member of the law firm of Leidy & uoodstein, is
practising law in New York City, with offices at No.
38 Park Row; Austin C. B. resides at Boyertown;
Jacob Albert has succeeded his father in the baking
and liquor business; Hiram B. perished in the Boyer-
town Opera House fire, Jan. 1,3, 1908, when twenty-
three years old.

AMOS W. POTTEIGER. successful merchant and
public-spirited citizen at Reading for fifty years, was
born Nov. 23, 1823, on a farm in Bern township along
the Tulpehocken creek, several miles from Reading.
He was educated in private schools at Reading and
the Unionville Seminary (situated alonar the Schuyl-
kill river near the Chester county line). After leaving
school he worked on the homestead farm until he
became twenty-one years old, when he entered the
general store of Francis B. Shalters, at Reading (Fifth
and Washington streets), as a clerk, where he remained
one year and then returned to the farm. While on
the farm he taught school, acted as a surveyor, and
officiated as a justice of the peace until 1848, when
he went to Reading to engage in the mercantile busi-
ness with John B. Schaefifer. Their store was situated
on the north side of Penn street, below Third (now
No. 251). After they had traded together for a num-
ber of years, Mr. Potteiger became the sole owner
of the business, which he continued at that place until
1866. Shortly before this time he had purchased a
■large property on the south side of Penn street, above
Third (now Nos. 310-312), where he erected a large
three-story brick building, which was the most mod-
ern business at that time in Reading west of Fourth
street. The plate glass for the show windows was
imported from France, and their size attracted great
public attention, they having been the largest at Read-
ing up to that time. For several years before his
death, Aug. 12, 1897, Mr. Potteiger was the oldest
surviving merchant at Reading. He was elected to
common council from the Northwest ward for two
terms, from 1861 to 1864. While in council he gave
much attention to the topographical survey of the
city which was then being made; and he encouraged
systematic numbering of the houses throughout the
city. Upon the removal of the public market-houses
on Penn Square, in 1871, he cooperated heartily with
other enterprising men in the western part of Reading
for establishing a private market-house to accommo-
date the patrons as well as the farmers, which result-
ed in the erection of the large and commodious mar-
ket-house and the Grand Opera House on the south
side of Penn street, west of Fourth, and he officiated



as presidejit of the corporation until he died. He
and his son also erected the large annex known as
the Potteiger market-house in 1895. In the establish-
ment of a new post-office building at Reading by the
national government, 1887 to 1889, he acted as one of
the commissioners. In politics he was identified with
the Democratic party, in which he always took an
active interest, but was never a candidate for office.

Immediately after locating at Reading Mr. Pot-
teiger became a member of 'the Trinity Lutheran con-
gregation, and he continued a very active member
until he died. He officiated as deacon, elder and
trustee for nearly forty years, and during this time
also took great interest in the Sunday-school, teach-
ing a class the greater part of the time. When Muh-
lenberg College, at Allentown, was established, he
was a liberal contributor. He officiated as a trustee
until he died, and his son, Samuel N., became his
successor. For many years he was the largest single
contributor toward the maintenance of this institution.

In 1849 Mr. Potteiger married Louisa Seidel Kis-
singer. They had four children: Clara Amanda (m.
to George E. Haak); Samuel Newton; Emma (died
when eighteen years of age); and Luther (died' in
infancy). M'rs. Potteiger died Dec. 5, 1907, aged sev-
enty-nine years. Mrs. Haak took 'much active interest
in church and charitable work, having had official con-
nections with the Reading Hospital and Widows' Home
for many years. She died in 1905.

Mr. Potteiger's father was John Potteiger, of Bern
township, who was engaged in farming and also dealt
extensively in cattle. He took an active interest in
politics and officiated as sheriff of the county from
1850 to 1853. When he entered upon the duties of
this office he moved to Reading, of which he continued
to be a citizen from that time until his decease. He
was born in 1.803, and died ih 1865. He married Sarah
Wobensmith, of Reading, born in 1807. died in 1869.
They had nine children: Amos Wobensmith; Levi
(m. to Barbara Beidler) ; William (m. to Elizabeth
Ruth); John (died in youth); Mary Ann (m. to Ben-
jamin S. Fox) ; Rebecca (m. to Henry B. Fisher) ;
Catharine (m. to William Ahrens); Sarah (m. to James
T. Reber) ; and Amelia (m. to Daniel Engel).

He was a lineal descendant of Martin Pfatteicher,
who emigrated from Germany in 1737, settled in the
upper section of Bern township (about two'miles north
of Bernville), where he secured a large quantity of
land, and carried on farming until his decease, in
1791.

Mrs. Amos W. Potteiger's father was Abraham Kis-
singer, a farmer, born in 1792, died in 1864; he mar-
ried Susanna Seidel, born in .1795, died in 1875. Their
homestead was Ipcated in Bern township, opposite
Reading and overlooking the Schuylkill river. Her
grandfather, also named Abraham, a farmer of the
same township, was born in 1750 and died in 1833.
He was married to Maria Angenisz Kieszling. born
in 1752, died in 1838. Mrs. Potteiger's parents had
njne children: Abraham S. (m. to Lydia Grins;); Re-
becca (m. to Jonathan Gicker) ; ivlary (m. to Ben-
jamin Schmeck); Elizabeth (m. to Samuel Kissinger);
Louisa S. (m. to Amos W. Potteiger); Washington
S. (m. to Elizabeth Yost); Susan (m. to William
Parvin); Amanda (m. to James L. Miller); and Sarah
(m. to Charles S. Birch).

Samuel Newton Potteiger was born at Reading,
and received his education in the city schools and
in Muhlenberg College, from which he was graduated.
Then he read law in the office of George F. Baer.
Esq., and was admitted to practice in the several
courts of Berks county and the State of Pennsylvania.
Besides carrying on the practice of the law since
then, he has given much successful attention to real
estate and building operations at Readine. being one
of its largest builders, having erected many rows of
modern dwellings as well as the handsome stone-
front Potteiger office building at Nos. 535-537 Court



BIOGRAPHICAL



645-



Street, built in 1904. He was one of the organizers
of the Schuylkill Valley Bank (adjoining the Potteiger
store building) in 1890, and since then has served as
one of its directors; and upon the death of his father,
succeeded him as a director of the corporations with
which he had been connected.

ISRAEL GROMAN, a resident of Reading, was born
in Bern township, Berks county, Nov. 8, 1838. The
family, which is of German descent, has lived in
that county for several generations.

George Groman, grandfather of Israel, was a farmer
in Bucks county, and his son Charles, father of Is-
rael, worked as a stone mason all his life, both quarry-
ing the stone and doing contract work. He and his
wife, Elizabeth (Kissinger) Groman, had threfe child-
ren, viz.: Fietta, m. to Solomon Kissinger; Israel;
and Catherine, m. to John Lasch. The family were
Lutherans in religious faith.

Israel Groman went to school till he was about
sixteen, acquiring as good an education as the town-
ship schools offered, and then for three years drove
mules along the canal route. For his permanent oc-
cupation he decided on carpentry and learned that
trade, but before he was fairly established in business,
the war broke out and in 1861 he enlisted in Company
H, 88th Pa. V. I., and served for three years. During
that time he participated in twenty-one engagements
and was wounded in the battle of Gettysburg, the others
being Cedar Mountain, Rappahannock Station, Thor-
oughfare Gap, Second Bull Run, Chantilly, South
Mountain, Antietam, Mine Run, Fredericksburg, Chan-
cellorsville, Wilderness two days), Cold Harbor, North
Anna River, South Anna Forks, front of Petersburg,
Weldon Railroad, charge on Fort Hill, Explosion of
Rebel Fort, Five Forks, and cavalry charge prior to
Five Forks. After his discharge, he returned to his
native county, located at Reading and secured a place
as carpenter for the Schuylkill Navigation Company.
He left that company to work for the Philadelphia
& Reading Railroad Company, and after some time
with that corporation he took up house carpentering.
In 1904 a position with the Reading Iron Company
was offered him and he has since been with them.

In 1865 Mr. Groman married Barbara, daughter of
William Douglass. There is a stepson, the child of
Mrs. Groman's former husband, William Thompson.
Mr. Groman has adhered to the faith in which he was
brought up and is a member of the Lutheran Church.
His political views are those of the Democratic party.
He is an enthusiastic advocate of lodge work and is
connected with a number of fraternal bodies, including
F. & A. M. Lodge No. 62; Reading Commandery No. 43;
Excelsior Chapter No. 237; the P. O. S. of A.; and the I.
O. O. F., while he also belongs to the Carpenters' Un-
ion and for many years maintained his connection
with the G. A. R. The family resides at No. 34
Schuylkill avenue.

A. R. ORTH, a cigar manufacturer of Reading, was
born in that city, Nov. 19, 1852, son of William and
Susan (Printz) Orth.

William Orth during his active life was a black-
smith by trade, and in, time secured a place in the Read-
ing shops of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad,
where he worked continuously for thirty-five years.
Both he and his wife are now deceased, his demise
having occurred Sept. 1, 1895, hers in 1877. They
are buried in the Aulenbach cemetery in Reading.
Four children were born to their union, viz.: Al-
pheus R.; Christiana, the wife of George Nagle, of
Reading; Rosanna, Mrs. Henry Hertwig, of Reading;
and William, also of that city.

Alpheus R. Orth attended the public schools till he
was twelve years old, and then entered the hat factory
run by Kutz and Arnold, at present the property of
J. G. Mohn & Brothers. When fourteen he left
that place and went into a cotton factory and then



at the age of seventeen he began to learn cigar making
with Frederick Printz, who was alderman of the Third
ward at that time, with whom he remained five months.
After he finished his trade he worked for Charles
Breneiser & Co., and then for John Maltzberger. At
the end of that time, in 1887. he and Augustus Frame
formed the firm of Orth & Frame, in the cigar manu-
facturing business, with their location on Court street,
above Sixth street. After four years Mr. Orth sold
out his interest to his partner and himself resumed
cigar making. He was employed first by John Keiser
and then for six years by Frank Hunt. In 1898 Mr.
Orth purchased Peter Krick's stand, on Sixth street be-
low Penn, formerly William R. Eaches' well-known
place, and established himself there till 1900 when he
moved to his present location. No. 37 North Fifth
street. This stand, which he bought from Edward
Luden, was one of the most up-to-date in the city
and under Mr. Orth its reputation has been more than
sustained. It is located next to the postoflfice build-
ing, has a frontage of thirty feet and depth of 330
.feet, and has a factory 15x45 feet in dimensions, in
the rear. This factory Mr. Orth greatly improved
in June, 1906, and keeps fourteen hands busy at all



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 182 of 227)