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

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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 20 of 227)
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its departments to be impartial, whatsoever the situation
of the several localities. But my historical researches,
with a collection of statistics, have brought me to see
an opposite social and political tendency; and believing
it to be injurious to the general welfare, I was led to
study the career of Conrad Weisee, a most zealous advo-
cate of local rights, and to present the result of my re-
flections to the people in the form of a lecture, with the
hope that thereby public attention would be directed to
the rights and demands of the respective parts of Berks
county, and that this tendency might be changed in the
interest of practical not theoretical political equality, of
general not individual industrial power, and of real not
imaginary social progress.

Teachers' In.stitutes. — An institute, composed
of many of the school teachers of the county, was
first held in March, 1851, in the Court-House at
Reading, for the purpose of encouraging the general
work of education by a discussion of improved
methods of teaching, an organization having been
effected in January preceding. The meeting was
largely attended, and it was very successful. In-
stitutes were held for several years in succession
and then discontinued.

In 1867, the State Legislature passed an Act of
Assembly requiring the county superintendent of
common schools "to call upon and invite the teach-
ers of the common schools and other institutions of
learning in his county to assemble together and or-
ganize themselves into a teachers' institute, to be de-
voted to the improvement of teachers in the science
and art of education, and to continue in session for
at least five days." In conformity with the provisions
of this law, the county superintendent, Prof. John
S. Ermentrout, held a county institute in 1868, at
Reading. It was largely attended by teachers from
all sections of the county, and great interest was
manifested. Since that time, annual institutes have
been held with increasing attendance and success.

In 1869, when Prof. D. B. Brunner became
county superintendent, he maugurated the system
of local institutes, and during that year he held
eight institutes in different sections of the county
which proved very successful. This enabled the
teachers in remote districts to attend an institute
and become familiar with its proceedings, and also
to take a part in its discussions, an opportunity
being afforded and an inclination to do so being
encouraged. This latter feature was particularly



appreciable, for in a local institute the teachers were
thoroughly acquainted with one another, and, not
being so numerous, they were enabled to partici-
pate practically in its discussions. Each succeed-
ing year till now has shown an ever-increasing in-
terest in them.

The Pennsylvania State Educational Association
was first organized in 1856. Three of its conven-
tions were held at Reading; in 1863, in 1878, and
in 1905.

Pay Schools. — ^Various pay schools were con-
ducted in the county, out of the limits of Reading,
before the establishment of the compulsory system
and afterward for many years, more especially in
Union and Oley townships, and at Boyertown,
Kutztown and Womelsdorf. But they have all
been discontinued excepting the Keystone State
Normal School which is described in connection ,
with Kutztown.


There was no newspaper published in the county
before 1789. News was communicated by persons
to one another mostly at inns and stores, of which
the number was large in proportion to the popula-
tion, more especially at Reading. The latest acci-
dent, death, transaction or crookedness of any kind
was communicated from one to the other, or to
small groups of persons ; and so it was carried
from building to building and from place to place,
not in the English language (for English was little
spoken then by those who assembled at inns) but
German, which was used almost entirely through-
out the county in the daily affairs of life, both secu-
lar and religious.

During this early period, the Pennsylvania
Gazette, published at Philadelphia, had a lim-
ited circulation in Reading and in the county.
It was an interesting messenger to the peo-
ple; and its weekly arrival must have been an
event of more than ordinary importance. A copy
was doubtless busy in passing amongst persons
who could read English — not for the personal mat-
ters which it contained, but for foreign affairs,
market reports, letters published, etc. Christopher
Sauer's Journal, a newspaper printed in German,
and published at Germantown, had a more extended
circulation in this vicinity, and it exercised a large
influence over the residents.

Forty years in the history of Reading elapsed
before the newspaper became a local institution.
The entire period of its local life as a town, with all
its many important events, passed away without
having it introduced. This would seem to be a long
while for such a factor to obtain a foothold in a
community otherwise energetic and progressive;
but this delay is capable of explanation. The peo-
ple were interested in home rather than in foreign
affairs, and strove to give them successful develop-
ment. Local matters required no printed publica-
tion, for, the town being small and the population
limited, they were easily communicated. But as
the town g-rew into a borough, and especially as the

borough grew into a city, with its territory en-
larged, the inhabitants more widely scattered and
the population largely increased, the natural way
became more and more incapable, of satisfying the
inquisitiveness of the people and an artificial way
had to be introduced — and this was supplied by the

After the lapse of a century, general progress
came to be so wonderful, the people so numerous
and scattered, and their relations so intermingled,
that, just as the natural way had to yield to the
artificial, so did the old and slow process of print-
ing on a hand-press, with its limited capacity, have
to make way for the new and spirited process, by
a steam-press, with its unlimited capacity. In the
beginning, the newspaper was weak in every res-
pect, small in size, limited in circulation, uncertain
in financial support, and wanting in mental vigor
and originality; but afterward it became strong,
rich, energetic and inventive.

The newspapers of the county comprise two
classes, weekly and daily. Some of them were
printed in the German language, but most of them
in the English. The following statement shows
the names of the several newspapers instituted
at Reading and in the county; also the names of
the founders, the time when instituted, and the dur-
ation of the publication. Though published almost
entirely at Reading, they have been placed in this
chapter on account of their general 'circulation
throughout the county and elsewhere.

Name Founder

Neue Unpartheyische } Johnson, Barton }
Readinger Zeiiung ) & Jungmann )

. 1789-1793

Weekly Advertiser Gottlob Jungmann 1796-1816

Reading Herald ^^J"^^ -^j. .1796-1796

Readinger Adler* ^Grge'cert" -<lf .1796-1909

Welt Bothe Henry B. Sage ISlOi

Berks and Schuylkill**

Journal George Getz 1816-1909

Readinger Post Sof^. . .Charles A. Bruckman. . .1816-1826

Chronicle of the Times. %^,,f^''^^l }• ■ • • 1822-1836

Jackson Democrat Charles J. Jack 1826-1826

Readinger Democrat. . . . ^.^^rmud'Sger" } • " " ■ ^'^'-^'^'

Berks County Press .... Samuel Myers 1835-1865

Jefferson Democrat Robert W. Albright 1838-1848

Liberate Beobachter Arnold Puwelle 1839-1865

Reading Gazette and Jacob Knabb and) ^„.. ,„„.

Democrat J. Lawrence Getz j 1840-1878

Alt Berks William B. Schoener. . .1840-1845

Sonne von Alt Berks.. .ChaLtles W. Guenther. . .1845-1848
Reading Herald Abraham S. Whitman . .1846-1850

People's Advocate foselh^^'fi^rret^"'^ f " -1850-1852

Berks County Democrat ^nXew M.'sXde^"'^ } 1858-1858

James MillhoUand and).
School Album Albert R. Durham j^

*.Ritter family connected with publication since 1802
**Owned by publishers of Reading Times since 186





JVeekly Leader

Rcformirtcr Hausfreund
fanner von Berks

Die Biene

Pie Deutsche Eiche . . . .

Rcpuhlikaner von Berks

.Spirit of Berks

.Reading Weekly Eagle.

Reading Weekly Herald
.Reading Weekly News..

Reformed Church Rec'd

Reading Democrat

JLahor Advocate...
■ Union Sentinel....

J. Robley Dunglison 1860-1861

Daniel Miller 1867-1904

William Rosenthal* 1864-1909

William Rosenthal* 1867-1909

William Rosenthal* 1869-1909

Daniel Miller 2^6^-1899

Daniel S. Francis 1876-1881

Jesse G. Hawley 1878-1909

John B. Dampman 1881-1896

William S. Ritter 1881-1909

B. Bailsman 1888-1905

W. Oscar Miller 1894-1899

Harry F. De Gour 1900-1909

Federated Trades

Council 1901-1909

Name Founder Year

, Litteratur Blati August Bendel 1883-1900

Illustrirte Jugcndbliitter. August Bendel 1884-1909

Pennsylvania Philatelist Clifford N. Kissinger. . .1891-1903

Greater Reading Walter S. Hamaker. .. .1897-1898

'Greater Armrica Walter S. Hamaker 1898-1903

..Preacher's Assistant. . . .Frank J. Boyer 1889-1909

Mengel & Mengel have issued a Real Estate Reg-
ister monthly since January, 1895, relating to the
■ conditions of real estate at Reading and vicinity.


Name Founder

Neutralist William Harmony



Geist der Zeit Hawrecht & Wink 1841-1863

Der Hirt J. S. Herman 1854-18.56

. Kutstozvn Journal Isaac F. Christ 1870-1909

National Educator Isaac F. Christ 1872

American Patriot Isaac F. Christ 1874-1909

Name Founder Year

Hamburg ^./'-//^..^ - .J^^^i J^^l'fl^ ^^^^ ....1841-190.,

Hamburg Advertiser .. ...M. H. Shollenberger. .. .186.5-1868

Rural Press J. K. & J. G. Smith 1873-1875

'Hamburger Berichter. . .WiWiam F. Tyson 1872-1874

'Hamburg Weekly Item. Samuel A. Focht 1875-1909

Name Founder

■ Boyertown Bauer O. P. Zink



Boyertown Democrat. . .George Sassaman lSSS-1909


Name Founder Year

Womelsdorf Gazette .... Samuel Mowry 1847-1848

Womelsdorf Herald Michael K. Boyer 1879-1880

Womelsdorf News Joel Weidman.' 1882-1885


Name Founder Year

Birdsboro Pioneer B. F. Fries 1873-1876

Birdsboro Dispatch Rapp & Ryan 1885-1909

Birdsboro Review Harry E. Hart 1893-1908

D.AiLY Newspapers. — Weekly newspaper publi-
cations were carried on at Reading for over sixty
years before a daily was thought of, at before
a public proposition to this end was made. Many
weeklies had been instituted in that time ; but they
all suspended excepting two, and these two are

*Jolin Weiler, an employer and manager for many years, became
the proprietor June 20,' 1908,

worthy of especial mention for their energy, success
and longevity — the Adlei- and the Journal — the for-
mer a German publication founded in 1796, and the
latter an English publication founded in 1816, which
is strictly a continuation of the Weekly Advertiser,
started also in 1796. The population was certainly
here to support a daily newspaper. The rapid in-
crease of the people would seem to have warranted
— if it did not inspire — such an enterprise in that
period of time. Education was quite general,
though stimulated with marked public energy after
1834; and the English language was growing grad-
ually into favor. The railroad was constructed,
various shops and factories, especially for the man-
ufacture of iron goods, were erected; even English
churches were founded.

The second period of Reading was unusually
prolific in producing great things for the common
progress of its citizens. In 1840 the population
was 8,410, and in 1847 it was about 12,000; and
in the respective years named the entire county had
about 65,000 and 70,000. The railroad extended
through the entire Schuylkill Valley to the north
and to the south, and the stages ran daily in every
direction. These means facilitated the distribution
of newspapers, and encouraged the spirit of pub-
lication ; and the borough was advanced into a
city. Still there was no daily newspaper.

When the third period was begun there were
seven weekly newspapers carried on successful!}',
Adlcr, Journal, Berks County Press, Liberate Bco-
bachtcr, Alt Berks, Jefferson Democrat and Reading
Ga::cttc. They were issued upon diflfierent days in
the week, but mostly on Saturday. Naturally, this
number was sufficient to discourage the thought
of a daily publication. But the spirit of enterprise
was working its way through the people in different
channels ; buildings were multiplying, trade was
growing, population was increasing, and many
strangers were locating here permanently. The
daily events necessarily grew with the 'general
growth, and the disposition to know them at once
was preparing the way for a step beyond the weekly
publication, and just as the stage-coach and canal-
boat, through the energy of trading, came to be
slow and had to make way for the steam-car, so the
weekly newspaper was coming to be late in com-
municating news, the feeling against the delay was
growing stronger and stronger, public eagerness
clamoring for an improvement.

Three months after Reading was incorporated
as a city, Abraham S. Whitman — a practical young
printer of Reading— took the first step beyond a,
weekly publication by instituting and carrying on
a tri-weekly newspaper, which he entitled The
Readnis: HcraUd, and within two months he en-
larged its size and improved its appearance. But
he soon found that he had stepped beyond his time,
and was therefore compelled to issue the publica-
tion as a weekly newspaper.



About the same time, J. Lawrence Getz, publisher
of the Reading Gazette (weekly), made the edi-
torial announcement that he would undertake the
publication of a daily newspaper, if supported ; but
the support was so limited that he was forced to
discontinue after an earnest trial of nine days.

These first efforts were in 1847. Ten years
elapsed. In that time two new railroads were ex-
tended from this business center, one to the west
through Lebanon Valley, the other to the north-
east through East Penn Valley. From 12,000 the
population of the city had increased to 30,000, and
from 70,000 the population of the county had in-
creased to 90,000. The post-offices round about
in the county had multiplied from forty-one to
seventy — a wonderful increase in this department
of the public service. The added wealth to the
community from all sources was estimated not by
the thousands of dollars, but by the millions, and
the hand-press for newspapers had become sup-
planted by the steam-press. Mr. Getz doubtless
reasoned in this manner in 1857, and, satisfying
himself that the prospects were favorable, he started
in this enterprise a second time. He continued
the publication successfully, though under discour-
aging patronage, until Feb. 3, 1858, when he
changed the time of its issue to the evening, and
reduced the price from ten cents a week to six

His second ■experiment was, however, carried on
for only three weeks, and he was again compelled
to suspend publication. The Berks and Schuylkill
Journal complimented his spirit and enterprise,
but expressed the opinion that the suspension was
by no means creditable either to the intelligence or
to the public spirit of a city with 20,000 inhabitants.
Its list of patrons embraced four hundred and fifty
regular subscribers ; but only sixteen out of two
hundred and forty business men of Reading took
sufficient interest in its success to give it advertis-
ing patronage.

Immediately after the suspension of the Gazette,
a stronger feeling for a daily newspaper manifested
itself by the citizens and so a third attempt was
made. This was by J. Robley Dunglison, a young
man from Philadelphia, who had settled at Read-
ing about that time. He issued the first number
of his paper on July 19, 1858, which was entitled
Reading Daily Times. It was a folio, printed in
the English language, 16 by 24 inches, with five
columns to the page, and issued in the morning.
He published it until Dec. 9, 1859, when he sold it
to Henry Lantz. Lantz published it until September,
1861, when (owing to his enlistment in the Civil
war) he sold the paper to A. S. Whitman and
Charles F. Hause, who published it very success-
fully during the Civil war. In 1865, F. B. Shalters
became interested, and in 1868 the sole owner and
editor. In 1869, the paper was purchased by J.
Knabb & Co., the publishers of the Berks and
Schw^lkill Journal, and this firm and its succes-

sor, the Reading Times Publishing Company, have
published it ever since.

The Evening Dispatch was issued as an evening-
daily paper from Feb. 10, 1866, until April 4, 1870,.
when it was purchased by J. Knabb & Co. and
merged with the Reading Times, and Alfred S.
Jones had started the Daily Reporter on April 26,
1864, and issued it for nearly a year.

The Daily Eagle was founded by William S. Rit-
ter and Jesse G. Hawley (publishers of the Reading
Adler), on Jan. 28, 1868. In 1874, Hawley pur-
chased the entire interest, and pubhshed the paper
until his decease in 1903. By his great enterprise
he enlarged its circulation v^ry much and distrib-
uted its issue not only into every town and town-
ship of the county, but into neighboring and distant
counties in the Schuylkill, East Penn and LebanoiT
Valleys. Since his decease, its pubHcation has beent
continued with equal and deserved success by his

The first daily German newspaper at Reading-
was founded by William Rosenthal on June 1, 1868,
under the title of Die Readinge Post, and he
issued it successfully until 1908, when he sold it.
to John Weiler.

The Daily News was issued by William S. Ritter
(proprietor of the Adler) from May, 1880, until.
May, 1886.

The Daily Spirit of Berks was started by Daniel"
S. Francis on Aug. 6, 1881, and published by him-
until November following, when he sold the daily
and the weekly issue of this paper to John B.
Dampman and A. C. Buckwalter, who then changed"
the names to the Daily Herald and Weekly Herald..
William McCormick became the purchaser in the-
fall of 1896 and discontinued the Weekly paper,
but has issued the Daily since. During the Spanish
war in 1898 he published a morning and evening-
issue of the daily, but discontinued the morning-
issue at the close of this war.

The Reading Telegram, a daily, owned by the
Reading Telegram Publishing Company, has been
issued since 1887.

Other daily newspapers were started at Readings
and issued for various periods, but not beyond sev-
eral years, such, as the Daily Leader, Evening Star,
Evening Record, Daily People, Daily Graphic, Eve-
ning Review, and Evening World.

Language. — The great majority of the early set-
tlers of Berks county were Germans, and through
them their language, manners and customs be-
came predominant. Most of them remained here,
and, to a great degree, where the several families
first settled and prospered. Their number influ-
enced the early erection of the county in 1752.
Their industry, perseverance and economy built up
and enriched its valleys and hills with substantial
improvements. Nearly two hundred years have
elapsed since, but the general features of the whole
community bear. their impression. Their manners



and customs have been handed down from genera-
tion to generation, with little change; and their
language is still in general use in every section.
This permanence exhibits inherent strength. The
introduction of other peoples, with different lang-
uages, but mostly English, have not weakened their
hold upon the people.

Their language is composed of words princi-
pally from German dialects, such as the Alleman-
nisch, the Pfalzisch, and the Schwabisch, and some
from the German proper. Its preservation to such
a marked degree is due mostly to their ' German
Bible. Martin Luther performed a great service
to one of the strongest and most prolific nations of
the earth in translating the Latin Bible into the Ger-
man, for through it he made the use of the German
language here persistent and continuous. Their
German hymn-books and prayer-books, and Arndt's
Wahren Christenthum (True Christiariity) assisted
greatly in this behalf.

The use of the English language in courts of jus-
tice, and in legal documents of all kinds, did not,
and apparently could not, interfere with its preser-
vation. Even English teaching, through a general
system of school education, has not disturbed it
very much, though two generations have passed
away since its introduction. This system has caused
the introduction of numerous English, mixed and
contracted words, and doubtless induced the lan-
guage to be called "Pennsylvania German" — or
"Pennsylvania Dutch." These remarks are particu-
larly applicable to the country districts, for the
teachers are mostly young people, who, in many in-
stances, are not qualified to use the English lan-
guage accurately. Through them many peculiar
and incorrect expressions have been engrafted upon
the language of our locality ; and the German people
themselves have occasioned the introduction of a
considerable number, through an earnest desire to
succeed in their business relations with the citizens
of Reading. The sounds, expressions and intona-
tions are peculiar and cannot be communicated in
a published narrative.

The Pennsylvania-German language has been
presented admirably in a number of poems which
Thomas C. Zimmerman translated from the Eng-
lish, he having selected a variety of styles of com-
position in order to show the capabilities of the
dialect for metrical expression. This variety com-
prehends subjects both grave and gay, as well as
humorous and pathetic. Plis first translation was
the Christmas poem bv Clement C. Moore entitled,
"■'Twas the Night before Christmas."

Harbaugh's "Harfe," and Fischer's "Pennsylvan-
isch-Deutsche Gedichte" and "Kurzweil und Zeit-
vertreib," are publications in the Pennsylvania-
German which are worthy of especial mention.
They contain numerous interesting poems in this
dialect, and introduce in a superior style the notions,
manners and customs of the German people in
Berks countv.

The English language, both written and spoken,
has been in use from the time of the earliest settle-
ments by the English in the county, and it is nat-
ural to suppose that in all these years through ju-
dicial proceedings, business transactions and
general education, it should have made con-
siderable progress, especially during the last fifty
years; but frequent visits to churches and schools,
stores and families throughout the county m this
time enable the compiler to say that the German
language is still prominent in the country dis-
tricts. Another generation will have to pass away
before the English language can take its place.

The circulation of English newspapers is increas-
ing gradually; but their total circulation is small
compared with our population. They are a strong
agency in effecting a change from the German to
the English; in reality, they are a stronger agency
in this respect than the common schools. This is
particularly apparent in Reading. Before the daily
English newspaper was established here, the Ger-
man language was commonly used by the major
part of its inhabitants in their daily affairs ; but now
the English has its pkce, and principally through
the gradual introduction of the newspaper. The
increasing convenience of distribution facilitates its
growth. The national government is contributing
much aid by extending and increasing the postal
facilities and the delivery of mail matter throughout
the county.


M.VNNERS AND CUSTOMS. — The buildings and im-
provements throughout the county are mostly the
result of German energy and thrift. Profits from
labor have been almost entirely appropriated toward
increasing the value of land rather than toward en-
lightenment. Fine barns, dwellings and fields are
prominent in every locality. They are superior to
those which existed in the previous century. This



is apparent in live stock, in the cultivation of fruit,
in the possession of improved implements and ma-

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 20 of 227)