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 183 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 183 of 227)
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times. When he began he employed only two, but
his business increased rapidly from the first and now
he has a fine local trade, supplying his products to
all the best cafes and hotels in the city. He makes
principally the Pompey Branch five cents, and Pom-
pey Shorts, for chewing and smoking, ten cents. The
business is now conducted under the name of A. R.
Orth & Son.

In 1878 Mr. Orth married Ellen E., daughter of Wil-
liam and Elizabeth Reider. There are three children,
Annie, Walter and Lizzie, the last a graduate of the
Reading high school. The family have their home
in the store building, where a residence portion has
been carefully fitted up. Mr. Orth has never mingled
actively in 'politics but supports the Democratic party.
Fraternally he is a charter member of Mt. Penn Lodge,
No. 518 I. O. O, F., and belongs also to Teutonia
Lodge, No. 367, F. & A. M. • He is a man of
warm heart and charitable impulses, and is always
a generous giver to worthy causes. His business
success has been honestly won by his own unaided
efforts, and he deserves the confidence and esteem in
which he is held by all who have dealings with him.

DANIEL SHAABER, a retired foundryman of Read-
ing, Pa., is a native of that city, born at the corner
of Ninth and Franklin streets, Dec. 19', 1833, son of
John and Mary (Caldwell) Sliaaber.

Mr. Shaaber was left an orphan at the age of eleven
years, his father having died five years before, and he
went to live with Adam Johnston, with whom he re-
mained until twenty-five years old Mr. Johnteton
being in the foundry business, young Shaaber soon
mastered the details of the business, and when Mr,
Johnston met with financial reverses Mr. Shaaber and
Mr. Johnson's clerk, a Mr. Jones, took the business,
this being in April, 1858. The partnership continued
until 1860, when Mr. Jones sold his interests to Mr.
Shaaber, and in this our subject continued alone un-
til 1868, when Adam Johnston and his son, Henry,
were admitted to the firm, it then being Shaaber &
Johnston until 1877. In this year Mr. Shaaber with-
drew from the firm and engaged in the cold storage
business at Fifth street and the Lebanon Valley
railway until the railroad company erected their
bridge at that point, and as the plant was on railroad
property it was forced to move. Since this time Mr.
Shaaber has lived retired.

Mr. Shaaber was married Nov. 24, 1859, to Asenath
Johnston, daughter of Adam Johnston. In politics
Mr. Shaaber is a Republican, and served in the Sec-
ond ward as a member of the school board. Mr.
Shaaber had the following brothers and sisters: Cather-
me, m. to Amos Seyfert; Elizabeth, m. to a Mr Corn-



646



HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



Margaret, m. to Frederick Deaser; Mary, m. to Peter
Adams; John; George; Sarah; Peter; Rebecca, m. to
Jackson Sherman; Jacob, twin of Daniel; and Henry
W.. deceased.

JEREMIAH SEIDER. Among the prominent busi-
ness men of Reading, Pa., may be mentioned Jere-
miah Seider, of No. 937 Douglass street, who has for
some years been engaged in contracting. He was
born Jan. 5, 1830, in Reading, son of Daniel and Mary
(Yeager) Seider.

Daniel Seider, who was a boatbuilder in Reading in
the early days, later removed to Northumberland coun-
ty. Pa., where, he engaged in farming until 1845, then
returning to Reading, where he carried on the work
of carpenter. In 1850 he was engaged in the Read-
ing Cotton factory, and in 1862 as a soldier in the
Union army, he_ lost his life in the Civil war. He and
his wife had about twelve children, of whom Jeremiah
was the fifth. Daniel Seider was' a Lutheran in reli-
gious belief, while his wife belonged to the Reformed
denomination.

Jeremiah Seider secured a somewhat limited educa-
tion in the schools of Reading. He enlisted on April
18, 1861, and was made sergeant. He re-enlisted in the
Ordnance department arid became first lieutenant of
artillery, serving ninety days in 1863, and being now the
only living officer of that command. After being hon-
orably discharged he engaged in the contracting busi-
ness, which he has followed to the present time, and
was for one year in partnership with John B. Wagner.
Mr. Seider was the first building inspector of Reading,
and has been one of the best known contractors
of the city. Although he has reached an age when
most men are willing to give up their active opera-
tions, Mr. Seider has no thought of so doing. Stand-
ing six feet, one inch in height, and weighing 200
pounds, he is robust and hearty, and is in full pos-
session of all of his faculties, being able to read without
glasses as well as a young man of twenty.

Mr. Seider was married in April, 1856, to Leann
Armpreister, born 1830, and who died in November,
1904, aged seventy-two years. To this union there
were born two children: Rosanna, deceased; and Je-
rome, deceased, formerly a letter carrier, and also cap-
tain of Company I, 4th Reg. Pa. National Guards. Mr.
Seider is a member of McLean Post, G. A. R., form-
erly a member of Chandler Lodge of Masons, and of
the I. O. O. F. In politics he is a Republican.

THEODORE BENZ, now living retired from active
work at his home at Mineral Spring Park. Reading,
is a native of Germany, born in Baden, Saalbach, Nov.
9, 1835, and he is the only survivor of the seven
children born to George Benz. a locksmith, whose
entire life was passed in his native country.
' Before coming to America Mr. Benz was employed
with his brother, but in the fall of 1850 he set sail
for the New World, the voyage lasting thirty-two
days. He landed at New York City, but went at
once to Philadelphia, where with his brother Charles
he was employed at the Norris Machine Shop. After
some time there he learned the baker's trade, and
this he followed steadily until 1859, when he engaged
in the_ oyster business at Reading, to which city he
came in 1856. He was located at a corner on Penn
street, and for a time was a partner of Capt. Michael
Walters. This business was carried on most suc-
cessfully until the time of the first draft for the
Federal army in the Civil war. He served nine
months in the Company known as the Hounds-Ward
Company, and later was cook for Colonels Knoderer,
Wert and Davis. In 1865 he began in the baking
business at Reading, having his establishment at No.
814 Walnut street. This he continued for nine years,
and then until 1892 he was engaged in the hotel
business on Seventh street, between Penn and Frank-
lin streets. That year he moved to No. 928 Penn



street, from which place in 1892 he moved to his
present location. In 1891 he built his home in Lower
Alsace township, or Mt. Penn, on the Old Hessian
Camp Ground. He has about eight acres of land,
five of which are devoted to grapes and other fruit.

Mr. Benz married Barbara Mohring, who came to
America from Germany when five years old. She died
ill 1890, aged fifty-two years, ten months, fifteen days,
and is buried in the German Lutheran cemetery. Eight
children were born to them, two of whom are de-
ceased. The survivors are: Charles W., who has been a
clerk in the Penn National Bank since its organiza-
tion; John G., a plumber in business with his brother
William, under the firm name of Benz & Bro.; Ed-
ward, who is in the employ of the United Traction
Company; William, a member of the plumbing firm
of Benz & Bro.; Annie C, m. to Joseph C. Flatt, of
Reading; and Miss Lillie, at home. In his religious
faith Mr. Benz is a Lutheran. He is a member of
Germania Lodge, I. O. O. F., and also of Reading
Encampment. In 1900, just fifty years after his leav-
ing the old home in Gerrnany, Mr. Benz revisited
the scenes of his youth, and also attended the Paris
Exposition, spending four months in travel abroad.

WILLIAM A. SMITH, ex-member of the common
council of Reading, has spent his whole life in that city,
where he was born in 1864, son of Nicholas and
Catherine (Hartung) Smith.

William A. Smith was sent first to the parochial
schools in Reading, and then to the public schools.
After finishing his education he went into the shops of
the Philadelphia & Reading railroad company, to be-
come a machinist, but after about five years in that oc-
cupation he went into business as a manufacturer of
optical supplies and as a practical optician. His place
of business is at Nos. 202-208 Cedar street, and he
has been very successful. Mr. Smith has always taken
an active interest in the welfare of the city and in
politics is quite well known. He resides at No. 839
Washington street, his parents' home, in the Eighth
ward, and for three terms has represented that con-
stituencyin the common council, elected on the Dem-
ocratic ticket. He has served on all the important
committees, and was a member of the board of ap-
peals for a number of years. He is a progressive
practical man, and was strongly supported by his fellow
citizens in the ward. He has also for a long time
been prominently connected with the Harmonie Maen-
nerchor, and for the past four years has been its
president. Besides being a member of the Sons of
Veterans. Mr. Smith stands very high in the Masonic
fraternity, in which his name is on the rolls of Teu-
tonia- Lodge, No. 367; Excelsior Chapter,- No. 237;
and Reading Commandery, No. 42, in all of which he
is past officer. He also belongs to Rajah Temple.

SAMUEL H. SAILER, late a highly respected
retired resident of Reading, was born in Alsace, now
Muhlenberg township, Berks count" Nov. 25, 1S32,
son of Henry and Sarah (Hahn) Sailer.

The Sailer family is of French Huguenot stock,
and Phihp Sailer, great-grandfather of Samuel H.,
was born in Alsace, France, whence, early in the
eighteenth century, accompanied by his two brothers,
he fled to America on account of religious persecu-
tion. On coming to Reading, he located at Sixth
and Frankhn streets, where he conducted a meat mar-
ket. His two brothers went west of the Susquehanna
river, and nothing further is known of them or of
their descendants. Philip Sailer married a native of
Alsace, France, and of their three sons, Philip lost
his life in the war of the Revolution; Frederick was
a farmer in what is now Muhlenberg township- and
Henry became the grandfather of Samuel H.

Henry Sailer was born in Reading Feb. 29, 1764
and passed his life as a farmer on land owned by
Governor Hiester. He married Anna Maria Magda-



BIOGRAPHICAL



647



lena Rothenberger, who was born Dec. IS, 1770, and
they had two sons: Henry and John.

Henry Sailer, son of Henry and father of Samuel
H., was born in what is now Muhlenberg township,
Dec. 16, lt96, and worked on the farm with his father
until the latter's death in middle life. The young
man being entirely without means hesitated to accept
Gov. Hiester's offer to continue on the farm, but the
latter insisted upon a loan, and in a comparatively
short time the money advanced so kindly by the
Governor had been repaid, and Mr. Sailer well ad-
vanced on the road to prosperity. A few years later
when a valuable farm was offered at sheriff's sale
the Governor again insisted on a loan that Mr. Sailer
might receive the benefit of the low price asked for
the land. Again he justified his benefactor's con-
fidence, and in time became one of the representative
farmers of the county. Selling his farm then to
Charles Evans he moved to Reading, and passed his
last days in retirement. He died March 20, 1880. He
had accumulated eight farms, and at his death gave
one to each of his children. In his religious con-
nection he was a member of the Reformed Church.
He married Sarah Hahn, daughter of Adam Hahn, a
neighboring farmer, and eight children were born to
them: Sarah, deceased wife of the late John H. Mertz,
a farmer of Richmond township; j-tdam H., a farjner
in Exeter township; Henry, a retired farmer in Muh-
lenberg township; Samuel H.; William, a farmer of
Oley township; Franklin, a farmer of Amity town-
ship; Solomon, deceased, a farmer of Muhlenberg
township; and Catherine, who married (first) the late
William Lauer, and (second) Jeremiah Guldin, a re-
tired farmer of Muhlenberg township.

Samuel H. Sailer attended the public schools of
Berks county and Reading, and also a gradea school
at Unionville, Chester county. Following the close
of his school days he came to Reading, and "learned
the butchering business with William Lutz, following
that business for three years. He then returned to
the old homestead farm for six months after which
he resumed work at his trade in Reading. After his
marriage in 1857, Mr. Sailer worked on his father-
in-law's farm in Exeter township for two years, and
then moved to his father's Spring township farm,
which he operated for thirty-three years. In 1890 he
came to Reading, and located at No. 44 North Tenth
street, where, having put aside the cares of business,
he resided until his death Sept. 21, 1908. He owned
a farm of 156 acres in Spring township, and another
of ninety acres in Lower Heidelbersr township.

In 1857 Mr. Sailer married Catherine L. Schaeffer,
daughter of Capt. Henry and Annie (Levan) Schaeffer,
the former of whom was a large farmer and stock
dealer in Exeter township. The children of Capt.
Schaeffer were: Mrs. Mary Hartman; CatherineL.,
wife of Mr. Sailer, died in 1891; Rebecca is deceased;
Jacob; Elizabeth; and Henry. The children born to
Mr. and Mrs. Sailer were: Mary Ella, wife of John
A. Ruth, with the Hollenbach &. Dietrich liquor stoce
(they have one son. Arthur A., who is with the Heroy
Tea and Coffee Store of Reading, and who married
Catherine Lawen, and has one child, Ruth); Samuel
S., a butcher by trade, employed by his brother Henry
A., and who married Deborah Gass, and has a daugh-
ter, (Catherine; and Henry A., who is engaged in the
butchering business at No. 401 south Fourteenth
street, and who married Helen Gass, and has three
living children, Carl, Brook and Annie.

Mr. Sailer was a member of the church in Alsace
township, and is buried there.

JOHN JACOBS, who died in Reading May 12, 1894,
was a native of Chester county, Pa., born in 1836.

Mr. Jacobs remained at home until he had finished
his studies in the public schools, and had learned the
trade of stone cutter, after which he went to Norris-
town to work. He was employed there for several



years, and then moved to Reading, where the rest
of his life was spent. He worked for the Philadel-
phia & Reading Railway Company, at first as a stone
cutter and later as foreman, continuing in that po-
sition until within the last six years of his life. He
was a master of his trade, a fine workman and me-
chanic, and his perfect reliability was fully appreciated
by his employers. In politics he supported the Dem-
ocratic party, and fraternally he was connected with
the Red Men. A man of uniformly good character
and' actuated by the best motives, his life was an
exemplification of his religious faith, and he was a
sincere member of the First Reformed Church of
Reading.

In 1874 Mr. Jacobs married Mrs. Mary A. Bechtel
Winter, widow of David Winter, the ceremony being
performed by the Rev. Henry Musser, so long Mr.
Jacobs' pastor. Mrs. Jacobs was daughter of John
C. Bechtel, a farmer of Exeter township of well known
Democratic principles. She was born in 1836, and
her only brother, Joseph, m. Lydia DeHart, and has
two daughters: Catherine m. John Grieff; and Louisa
m'. the late George Fryberger. Mrs. Jacobs has no
children. Like her husband she is a devout member
of the Reformed Church, and one of its earnest workers.
She has many warm friends.

EPHRAIM G. WERNER, senior member of the
well-known firm of E. G. Werner & Sons, manufact-
urers of paper boxes, shipping cases and dealers
in merchandise, at Mohnton, Pa., established this great
business at the corner of Wyomissing avenue and
Chestnut street in 1890.

The business was begun in a very humble way, only
one hand being employed, and the first product of
the company was hat boxes. The demand for Mr. Wer-
ner's goods soon became so heavy that in May, 1901,
the firm began the manufacture of square boxes, the
daily output being from 300 to 400. The firm now
employ seventy hands in both factories, and turn
out 10,000 boxes daily, their goods finding a ready
sale at Reading and in the surrounding counties. The
Mohnton factory, a fine two-story structure, 50x60
feet, is fitted with the latest and most highly improved
machinery. Their Reading factory, at No. 313 Binga-
man street, was opened in 1907^ with Mr. J. C. Werner
in charge, making a specialty of fancy goods, and
turning out some of the best work in the State. The
firm also carry on a general merchandise business,
and in this line have also been very successful. In
politics Mr. Werner is independent. He is a faithful
and devoted -member of the Salem U. E. Church,
where he has served for many years as trustee, being
now president of the board, Sunday-school superin-
tendent of class No. 1, and leader of the English
Bible class. He is one of the pillars of the Church, and
is greatly honored by all who know him. Mr. Werner's
fraternal connections are with the K. of P., No. 485.
and the O. U. A. M.

To Mr. and Mrs. Werner there were born si-x child-
ren: (1) John C. was admitted a member of the
firm of E. G. Werner & Sons in January, 1907. He
m. Sadie M. O'Neill, and they have had four child-
ren, Alithea and Norman, living, and Paul and John,
deceased. John C. is a member of Camp No. 211, P.
O. S. of A., and of the M. W. A. For several years
he has been a chorister of the Salem Evangelical
Church. (3) Jeremiah _ died in infancy. (3) Mar-
garet, a musician of ability, who was for many years
organist of the church, is now a trained nurse lo-
cated at No. 1380 Wallace street, Philadelphia. '" (4)
Irwing died in childhood. (5) Walter S., is also a
member of the firm, admitted in January, 1907; he is
a member of Reading Lodge, No. 549, F. & A. M.,
Reading; Reading Lodge of Perfection, Fourteenth
Degree, and the M. W. A. He m. Mildred Hetrich,
and they reside at Reading. They have one daughter'
Dorothy M. (6) Anna M. died in infancy. Mr'



648



HISTORY OF BERK'S COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



Ephraira G. Werner was one of the organizers of
the Mohnton National Bank, and one of its first dir-
ectors, in which office he is still serving. He also,
served as chairman of the building committee when
the present bank building was erected. He is chair-
man of the Mohnton Cemetery Committee.

JOHN HENDEL'S SONS. The hat business has con-
stituted a prominent feature of the industrial life of Read-
ing from the beginning of the place, and of all the numer-
ous successful plants which have been carried on here dur-
ing the past 160 years none has surpassed that which
was established by John Hendel and his'brother in 1871 on
Fifth street below Laurel, and which has been owried and
operated by John Hendel's sons in an equally successful
manner since 1895.

In 1860, fifty years ago, Levi H«ndel and two of his sons,
John and George, embarked in the business of manufac-
turing wool hats at Adamstown, in Lancaster county (ten
miles southwest from Reading), under the firm name of
Levi Hendel & Sons, and there they carried on their fac-
tory for four years. The sons retiring fromi the firm,
they then established a factory at St. Lawrence, in Exeter
township, Berks county, a short distance beyond the Black
B^ar Inn, and after operating it three years moved to Read-
ing, where they erected a more commodious plant on Maple
street south of Chestnut. They carried on business there
successfully for three years, when they sold the plant and
dissolved the partnership. John Hendel then secured a hat
factory at the corner of Eleventh and Spruce streets but
he remained there only a year when he and his brothers,
George and Henry B., trading as John Hendel & Bros.,
purchased the large "Wyomissing Woolen Mills" on South
Fifth street below Laurel, and equipped it with the most
improved machinery, making it at that time (1871) one of
the largest wool hat establishments in Pennsylvania.

Notwithstanding the growing uncertain conditions of
the hat trade then, their enterprising spirit nevertheless as-
serted itself and they developed their business into larger
proportions and carried on their plant with a greater number
of employees. In 1879 (Jan. 1) the senior partner, John
Hendel, admitted three of his sons (Levi H., Daniel J., and
James M.) as partners, and the firm name was then
changed to Hendel Brothers & Sons. Subsequently other
partners were admitted at different times, and the business
was carried on extensively until 1895 when the founders re-
tired, and the firm was reorganized by three of John Hen-
del's sons (Daniel J., Edwin F., and Harrison P.), who
purchased the plant and began to trade under the name
of John Hendel's Sons.

In December, 1897, the firm determined to discontinue
the further manufacture of wool hats and 'after re-con-
structing the large factory and equipping it with the latest
improved machinery for the production of soft fur hats,
medium grade, embarked in the new business, and since
then they have manufactured large quantities of fur hats,
which are sold at New York City through their own sales
agents and shipped to jobbers in all parts of the United
States and Canada. They began with 325 hands, but
gradually increased their production until they came to em-
ploy 400 hands.

Harrison P. Hendel, the youngest partner, whilst on
a pilgrimage with the "Shrine" to the Pacific coast in
1907, was accidentally killed with imany other Shriners
from Reading at Honda, Cal., on May 11, and his interest
in the firm was purchased immediately afterward by his two
brothers, the surviving partners, who have continued the
business under the name of John Hendel's Sons, keeping
up the superior reputation and credit of the establishment
which their enterprising father had created. He was born
at Reading Sept. 12, 1867, and acquired his education in
the local schools and at Hackettstown, N. J. He then
entered the office of his father's factory 3,s a clerky and
filled this position in a most faithful manner until 1895,
when he became one of the firm of John Hendel's Sons.

JoHur Hendel was prominently engaged in the manufac-
ture of wool hats for. thirty-five years, and came to be
identified with different financial institutions at Reading,



more especially the First National Bank and the Reading
Trust Company, of which he was a director for many
years until his decease in March, 1905. He was very highly
esteemed for his superior character as a man; and he had
an exceptional career as one of the leading successful manu-
facturers at Reading for twenty-five years, having operated
his large establishment in a most remarkable manner
through all the costly fluctuations of that trying period. He
was an earnest advocate of Republican principles and ap-
preciated the great, importance of supporting the doctrine
of protection to home industries. He was a member of
Chandler Lodge, No. 237, F. and A. M., and of DeMolay
Commandery, No. 9, K. T. He took an active interest iu
matters relating to the development of the Evangelical
Church in this section of the State, and served for many
years as a class-leader, steward and trustee.

Mr. Hendel was born at Adamstown, Lancaster county,
Dec. 7, 1833, and, after receiving a limited education
learned the trade of hatter under his father, an experi-
enced hat manufacturer, and he was engaged at his trade
at that place until 1860, when he formed a co-partnership
with his father and his brother George. [For his sub-
sequent career in the wool hat business, see previous sketch
of John Hendel's Sons.] He married in 1853 Catharine
Stieff, daughter of William Stieff, of Adamstown, and by
her he had eleven children: Levi H., Daniel J., James M.,
John O., Mary A., (m. Walter A. Boas), George W.,
Charles W., Edwin F., Harrison P., Harvey H., and Cath-
arine A. (m. George G. Guenther). John, George and
Harvey died in their youth. James ably represented the
firm for a number of years at New York City in the sale
of their hats, and died in 1889, at the age of thirty-two
years.

Levi Hendel was the father of John Hendel. He was
born in Brecknock township, Lancaster county, in 1809,
and having been left an orphan at the age of four years,
was indentured to a neighboring farmer until his four-
teenth year, when he was apprenticed to the hatter's trade
under Philip Fichthorn, of Adamstown, the brother of
his sister Theresa's husband, William Fichthorn. After
becoming a proficient workman, he engaged in the busi-



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 183 of 227)