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 221 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 221 of 227)
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Reading, Pa., well and favorably known in the building
and contracting line, was born May 11, 1861, in Muhlen-
berg township, Berks Co., Pa., son of Absalom and Caro-
line (Felix) Hartman, grandson of Samuel and Elizabeth
(Wrightmeyer) Hartman, and great-grandson of Valen-
tine Hartman.

Valentine Hartman was born in Alsace township, near
Spies's Church, and he subsequently owned a farm in that
vicinity, where both he and his wife died. They were
worthy members of the Reformed Church. In political
views he was first a Whig but afterward was inclined
to the Republican party. The children of Valentine Hart-
man and wife were : Samuel, William, Abraham, and Kate
(m. Valentine Ritter).

Samuel Hartman learned the wheelwright's and mill-
wright's trades, and followed same ,for many years. He
also operated a small farm. His death took place at the
age of eighty-two years, and that of his wife, Elizabeth
Wrightmeyer, when she was aged eighty-one years. They
had ten children, all of whom grew to tnaturity. and mar-
ried, their names appearing as follows : Lewis, Gideon.
Absalom (born April 28, 1827), Augustus, Samuel, Israel,
Christy (of Reading), Elizabeth (m. John Gechter),
Emma (m. Jacob Snyder), and Valentine. In politics
he was first a Whig, but later became identified with the
Republican party.

Absalom Hartman attended school in Alsace township
and then learned the wheelwright's trade with John Feiss,
which he followed for several years, and then engaged
for several more years in a hotel business at Reading.
Prior to his retirement from business cares he conducted
a store at the corner of Centre avenue and Exeter streets.
During the Civil war he was employed by the U. S.
Government as a wheelwright, and was first stationed at
Martinsburg and later at Harper's Ferry, Va. In 1887
Mr. Hartman entered the Philadelphia & Reading railroad
shops where he continued until 1899. He died May 3, 1907.

In 1855, Mr. Hartman was married to Caroline Felix,
daughter of Solomon and Catherine (Fisher) Felix, and
they have had children, as follows : Emma E., born July
13, 1856, died aged five years; Catherine R., born Oct.



22, 1857, is deceased; Amelia, born July 4, 1859, m. F. F.
Seidel; John S.; Lillie E., deceased, born Jan. 26, 1864,
m. John Forney; Howard L., born in 1866, died in in-
fancy; Annie, born March 21, 1867, m. John Barto; Caro-
line E., born in 1870, died aged three months; Caroline
(2), born Sept. 9, 1871, m. Dr. Abraham Warner; Wil-
liam k., born July 3, 1875, a steel worker, m. Sallie
Schwenck; Solomon F., born July 26, 1878, m. Carrie
Steiflf; \Edwin M., a cigar manufacturer, born May 30,
1881, m". Gertrude M. Young.

The father of Mrs. Hartman, Solomon Felix, served
in the Mexican war. He was born at Reading and was
engaged, in various lines of business in this city at dif-
ferent times. He was a stone mason, a quarryman, a
shoemaker and a butcher. He acquired a good estate and
was a wdl-known citizen. His children were the follow-
ing: Lucetta m. Adam Shadier; Catherine m. William
Moyer; Emma m. Lewis Reigel; and Caroline m. Mr.
Hartman. Mr. Hartman is a Republican in politics. Both
he and his wife belong to the Reformed Church. Formerly
he was connected with the F. & A. M. and the I. O. O. F.

John S. Hartman attended school both in his native
township and in the Reading schools. He then learned
the molding trade with the Reading Hardware Company,
and he worked as a molder for some years and then
learned the wheelwright's trade under his father, which
he followed for two years. He was next employed by
the Philadelphia & Reading company, as a carpenter, and
remained with this organization for five years, working
in different departments. Mr. Hartman then engaged in
carpenter work and bridge building, following the same
for three years, after which he engaged with the Phila-
delphia & Reading Railway Company, as a carpenter, in
a very short time being appointed foreman of his di-
vision. After a faithful service with this company which
extended over fourteen and one-half years, Mr. Hartman
remained one year with the Reading Stove Works-. In
1900 he engaged in a general contracting and building
business and has met with well deserved success, his
experience being long and thorough.

Mr. Hartman was married to Nellie Hollenbach, daugh-
ter of William and Susan (Haines) HoUenbich, and they
have two children, Harrison J. and L. Elizabeth. The
former was a graduate in 1906 in the Reading high
school and is now taking a collegiate course. The latter,
born Sept. 10, 1891, is a high school pupil. The family
home of Mr. Hartman is situated at No. 204 Douglass
street. In politics he is a Republican. He belongs to
Camp No. 61, P. O. S. of A.

WILLIAM R. BUCKS, of Reading, now living retired
in his comfortable home at No. 1135 North Eleventh
street, was born .on the old Bucks homestead near Bern-
ville, in Bern, now Penn, township, Berks county, Jan.
10, 1834.

John Bucks emigrated to America from Berne, Switzer-
land. He had been engaged in the dairy business in his
native land, where the mountains and meadows in the
valleys supplied the people with good pasture and water.
On coming to America Mr. Bucks began prospecting for
just such an ideal location, finding it at what is now
Scull's Hill, where the hills were adorned with a rich
growth of trees and shrubbery, the valleys fertile, and
where many of his countrymen had already located. He
selected a tract of four hundred acres, the hills covered
with wood and shrubbery, and two meadows with fine
streams of water running the entire length. Between
the meadows, on a slight elevation, he erected the build-
ings and commenced clearing the land for cultivation.
There is an old record that shows that in the year 1759,
when the first tax was levied in Bern township, John
Bucks paid a tax of nine pounds, a considerable amount
in those days. ^

John Bucks, grandfather of William B., was born on
the homestead ,in 1779, and later on became the owner
of it. He was a farmer and with the exception of the
last years, passed all his life in his native locality. He
married Elizabeth Riegel, born in 1780, and they had four



BIOGRAPHICAL



765



children: John; Catharine m. Daniel Dundore; Elizabeth
m. Isaac Dundore; and Mary m. Jacob Rieser. They
both died in Marion township, and were buried in the
Tulpehocken cemetery, he in 1845, aged sixty-six years,
and she in 1851, aged seventy years.

Johri Bucks, son of John and father of William R.,
came into possession of the old homestead, and was en-
gaged in its cultivation until 1840, when he sold.it and
purchased the Jacob Reed farm of 125 acres in Marion
township, one-half mile northeast of Stouchsburg, and
removed there, carrying on farming very successfully for
many years. In 1853 he tore down the old stone man-
sion built a century before with strong, thick walls. It
was provided with a dark room on the second floor, at
the head of the stairs, where shelter could be found
against the Indians then numerous in that section. On
the site of this old house he erected a large brick dwell-
ing. In 1864 Mr. Bucks' son Aaron took charge of the
farming, and Mr. Bucks lived with him in retirement until
his death in" 1889, in his eighty-second year. He married
Catharine Rieser, born April 10, 1810, died 1884. They
were bliried in the cemetery adjoining Tulpehocken church,
of which they were devoted members. Their children
were: William R.; Mary R. m. Dr. George Crum, de-
ceased; Aaron R., who first engaged in farming, and
then moved to Reading and engaged in the coal business,
died in 1894; Emma R. m. Jacob Miller, deceased; John
R. resides in Myerstown; Sarah E. m. Henry Krum,
deceased; Frank S. resides in Stouchsburg; and All^n
died in Reading in 1900.

William_ R. Bucks attended Stouchsburg Academy dur-
ing the winter months, and assisted his father on the farm
the remainder of the year. In 1853 he taught one term
of school in Tulpehocken township — ^the year before the
county had a superintendent of public instruction. He
then attended a boarding school at the Trappe, in Mont-
gomery county, for a term, and taught the following
year in Marion township. He next taught five terms in
Jefferson township. In 1861 he was employed in Bern
township where he taught eight terms, one at Epier and
seven at White Oak Hill (so named because of the many
stately trees of that species adorning a hillside nearby).
In 1867 Mr. Bucks turned- his attention to a feed, grain
and grocery business along the Schuylkill canal, below Lees-
port, where he was located for thirty-nine years. He also
cultivated a small farm, which he owned, and his place was
one of the busiest to be found along the canal. In 1906
he retired and went to Reading, purchasing his present
property.

On Oct. 5, 1865, Mr. Bucks married Amelia Z. Herbinc,
daughter of William and Catharine (Zacharias) Her-
bine, of Bern township. She was a consistent member of
Epler's Church, and later of Trinity Reformed Church, at
Leesport. She died Dec. 18, 1904, and is buried in the
Charles Evans cemetery, Reading. Two children were
born of this union: John W., who is engaged in the
grocery business, m. Emma Irene Fritz, and resides at
the corner of Twelfth and Green streets, Reading; and
Deborah A., who resides with her father, taught school
for a number of terms, and later on gave private lessons
in elocution. Mr. Bucks was a member of Trinity Re-
formed Church at Leesport, where he served as deacon
and elder. After locating in Reading, he transferred his
membership to St. Thomas Reformed Church, this city.
In politics he is a Democrat, as were both his father and
grandfather. He served eighteen years as school direc-
tor, ten of which he was secretary of the board, and at
different times president. He also served on the election
board. Mr. Bucks, together with James Rieser and Jere-
miah Parvin, owns a large tract of woodland in Bern
township. It is on the highest point in 'the township,
and bears the name of Seidels' Hill. The Buckses as a
family have always been people of substance and res-
pectability.

JARIUS WEISER ZIEGLER, who died May 13, 1909,
was one of Reading's well-to-do and well-known citi-
zens, who with his son was engaged in the wall-paper



business at No. 154 Nortn Ninth street, under the firm
name of J. & B. W. Ziegler. He was a native of Potts-
ville. Pa., where he was born July 8, 1856, son of Capt.
Elijah Ziegler.

Capt. Elijah Ziegler was born near Fleetwood, Berks
Co., Pa., and when a young man went to Schuylkill coun-
ty, locating at Tamaqua, where he learned the carpenter's
trade. He was here married to Priscilla Turner, daugh-
ter of Abraham Turner, and after their union purchased
a farm in Schuylkill county, living thereon for a few
years. He was elected county commissioner/ and soon
thereafter removed to Pottsville, where he was later en-
gaged in the hotel business, carrying on farming opera-
tions as a side line for seven years. Removing to Pine
Grove, he became engaged in the lumber business for seven
years and then purchased a farm at Friedensburg, Schuyl-
kill county, but six years later returned to Pottsville and
served the county as prison warden for three years when
he again removed to his farm. For some years prior
to his death he was engaged in bridge contracting and
in the cattle business.' He died in 1902, at the age of
sixty-two years. During his entire life he was a stanch
Democrat, and he was one of his community's most ac-
tive and influential men. His children were as follows :
Emma, Elmira, Loretta, Florenda, Clara, Jarius W. and
Erasmus.

Jarius Weiser Ziegler was educated in the public schools
of Schuylkill county, and continued in his father's em-
ploy until coming to Reading in 1885, when he became q
clerk. Later he engaged in business for himself, follow-
ing painting and paper-hanging for some time, and in
1900 opened his -wall paper store. He and his son, in
partnership, had about ten men in their employ and.
their business grew to large proportions. They were job-
bers in water colors, art novelties, etc., and one of their
specialties was the 16 x 20 frame.

In 1883 Mr. Ziegler was married to Miss Henrietta
Gerber, daughter of Amos Gerber, of Reading, and one
son, Bruno Weiser, was born to this union March 12,
1882. He married Elsie M. Lessig, daughter of George
D. Lessig, of Reading, and they have one son, Howard.
In politics Mr. Ziegler was a Democrat, and he and his
family were members of the Reformed Church. Fra-
ternally he was connected with Lodge No. 549, F. & A.
M. ; Reading Lodge of Perfection; Philadelphia Con-
sistory; and Rajah Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S.

FREDERICK W. CRANSTON, Deputy Internal Rev-
enue Collector of the First District of Pennsylvania, and
a well known and highly esteemed citizen of Reading, was
born Sept. 29, 1859, in Philadelphia, Pa., son of William
and Fannie (Curtis) Cranston.

William Cranston was born June 9, 1822, in Glasgow,
Scotland, and in that country and England learned the
trade of machinist. He came to America in 1845, locat-
ing at New York City, whence he removed to Reading
some time later. On reaching the latter city he secured
employment in the shops of the Philadelphia & Read-
ing Railroad, under Superintendent Missimer, but lat-
er he connected himself with the Scott Works, where
he manufactured sugar-making machinery. He was later
sent to the island of Cuba to erect machinery, and while
there became superintendent of a sugar plantation. On
his return to the United States, he went to Philadelphia,
where he worked in the Baldwin Locomotive Works until
his retirement. Mr. Cranston married Miss Fannie Cur-
tis, a native of Dorsetshire, England, who died at the
age of iifty-four years, and to them there were born the
following children: Mary m. George Roemmele, a chem-
ist with Powers & Weightman; Frances m. George W.
Phillippi; Edwin, a machinist, died at the age of twenty-
two years; Alfred W., is a contracting machinist of
Philadelphia; and William Mac, a machinist. In religious
belief Wilham Cranston adhered to the faith of the
Presbyterian Church, while his wife was a Methodist. He
is one of the oldest Odd Fellows in Pennsylvania, having
joined the order sixty-five years ago, and is also connect-
ed with the Knights of Pythias.



766



HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



Frederick W. Cranston was graduated from the public
schools of Philadelphia when nineteen years of age, and
immediately thereafter came to Reading and entered the
shops of the Philadelphia & Reading railroad, where he
remained several years. He was also in the employ of
Abraham T. Phillippi, in the plumbing, steam fitting and
metal working business, and then became associated with
the Carpenter Steel Works, where he had charge of the
steam fitting department. On Dec. 1, 1898, he was ap-
pointed Deputy United States Revenue Collector for the
First Dis.trict of Pennsylvania, in President McKinley's
administration, and since that time the business in the
cigar trade has been increased from 74,000,000 to 144,-
000,000, Mr. Cranston having the largest division to cover
of any deputy in the State. He has proved himself to be
an efficient, faithful official, filling the duties of his po-
sition to the satisfaction of all concerned.

In 1879 Mr. Cranston was married to Miss Emma
C. Fox, daughter of John Fox, a veteran of the Civil war,
and to this union there have been born eleven children,
seven of whom survive : Robert D., who is employed at
the League Island Navy Yard, m. Anna Clingaman, and
has children, Robert D., Jr., and Dolly; Mary R. m. Peter
R. Weldmann, and has one child, Carrie; Frederick W.,
Jr., a street car • conductor, m. Hannah Barlett, and has
one son, Frederick W. (3); Edwin B., is a cigar maker;
William Mac is ' at Little Falls, N. Y. ; John F. ; and
Charles H. is at school. Mrs. Cranston died in April,
1907. Mr. Cranston m. (second) Sarah Kern, born in
Lehigh county. Pa., the daughter of farming people near
Topton, Berks Co., Pennsylvania.

Mr. Cranston is a member of Camp No. 329 and Nath-
an Hale Commandery, P. O. S. of A., and served as Sen-
ior Vice Commander of United States for one year (1897) i

SIMPLECIUS REBER, residing at No. 19 South Sec-
ond street, Reading, is descended from a family identi-
fied with Berks county since 1783, when the paternal
grandfather, Johannes, settled there.

Johannes Reber came to America from his native Ger-
many when a boy of only twelve years, and part of his
education was acquired in this country. From his very
arrival he lived in Bern township, and became one of
the influential farmers of that region. He owned very,
valuable land there and also operated a mill for many
years. He married Magdalina Roadmacher, and their
children were Joseph, Sally, Polly, Rebecca and Bessie,
the last named of whom married a Mr. Ahrens. So far
as known, the family were members of the Reformed
Churcii. Mrs. Reber died in Reading, and her husband
died in 1847, aged seventy-six. He was a Democrat in
his political principles.

Joseph Reber, father of Simplecius, was born in 1802,
at the old Reber homestead, and remained there nearly all
his life. He carried on the farm and operated the old
Reber Mill, situated on the Tulpehocken, but about 1874
he moved on to a small farm which he had bought some
time previously, and there passed the last six years of his
life, dying in 188d. His wife, whose maiden name was
Elizabeth Minnich, passed away five years before him,
at the age of seventy-two. They were the parents of ten
children : Elias, to whom the father gave over the • op-
eration of the farm and mill; Maria, m. to Joshua Ey-
rich; Fietta, m. to Henry Rose; Elizabeth, m. to Charles
Gring; Harrison; Sarah, m. to James Adams; Priscilla,
m. to William Reeser; Henry; Rebecca, m. to Jacob Rich-
enbach; and Simplecius. Most of the family belonged to
the Reformed Church. Joseph Reber was a Democrat like
his father.

Simplecius Reber was born on. the homestead in .Bern
township, March 2, 1838, and received his ■ earlier educa-
tion in the public schools of that section. Later he at-
tended school in Reading. He remained at home help-
ing in the work on the farm until he was thirty-three
years old, when he came to Reading and took a position
with the Stichter Hardware Company. After learning
the details of the business with this company, he engaged
with the Bright Hardware Company and remained with



them fourteen years. In 1901 he left that firm and ac-
cepted a position with James A. Schofler, as engineer
in his bakery and he still fills that capacity.

On Sept. 26, 1857, Mr. Reber married Sarah A., da,ughT
ter of Isaac Herbein. Their four children are: Ellen,
m. to Charles' Tobias; Emma, m. to Storm Miller; James;
and Sarah A. The family belong to the Second Re-
formed Church, while in politics Mr. Reber is a Demo-
crat. Their home is at No. 19 South Second street, Read-
ing.

JOHN COLLER HEPLER, late a highly esteemed citi-
zen of Reading, Pa., was superintendent of the Charles
Evans cemetery from 1880 until his death, during which
time he made this burial ground one of the most beauti-
ful spots in Berks county. Mr. Hepler was born April
17, 1829, in Reading, son of John and Elizabeth (CoUe'r)
Hepler, and died Sept. 26, 1907.

The ancestors of this family, who came from Wales,
were among the early settlers of Philadelphia. William
Hepler, grandfather of John C, located there in 1793,
where the remainder of his life was spent, and where,
during the yellow fever epidemic, he was engaged in haul-
ing the bodies of the victirris to the place of interment.
In religious matters he adhered to the faith of the Re-
formed congregation, and iii politics he upheld the prin-
ciples of the Whig party. His children were: John; Hen-
ry and George, who died single; Gideon, a cigar maker;
and Elizabeth, m. to Dr. William Palm.

John Hepler, son of William, was born Dec. 26, 1800,
in Philadelphia, and when fifteen years of age came to
Reading and apprenticed himself to the house carpenter's
trade for four years and six months. This occupation he
followed all of his life and at the time of his death
in Reading Dec. 22, 1862, he was a very prosperous man.
He was a Republican in political matters, and until 1843
was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church, in this year
becoming one of the organizers of St. Matthew's Lutheran
Church. Mr. Hepler m. Elizabeth CoUer, daughter ot
John and Catharine (Bickley) CoUer. To Mr. and Mrs.
Hepler were born : William P., a soldier in the Mexican
war, going out as a t)rivate in the Ringgold Battery, United
States Regulars, and serving under Zachary Taylor until
his death of a fever at Saltillo in 1847 ; John C. : and
Henry A., and Catharine A., twins, the former of whom
died in Reading in 1880, while the latter became the wife
of Capt. Joseph G. Holmes, and is now also deceased.

John C. Hepler's education was limited to a few months
at a pay school during the winter term, and at the age
of fourteen and one-half years he became an apprentice
to the trade of a tailor under his uncle the late William
I. Clous, serving in that capacity for five years. He then
went to Philadelphia, where he worked for six months
and learned cutting. Returning to Reading he entered
the clothing and tailoring business for himself, and car-
ried it on successfully until 1860, when failing health com-
pelled him to give up this work. For some time he was
employed on the Philadelphia & Reading railroad, and
then he removed to a small farm in the Hockley Out-
lots, where he continued until 1880, when he was ap-
pointed superintendent of the Charles Evans Cemetery
at Reading, taking up the duties of that office on April
1st of that year. This cemetery, which was incorporated
in 1846, includes a tract of 118^ acres, and under Mr.
Hepler's careful management many _ improvements were
made. He performed the duties of his position in a most
efficient manner, and inaugurated a system of records
for burials of persons who were not lot owners, which is
one of the most complete in the United States, it record-
ing as follows : The name, number of permit, date of bur-
ial, age of deceased, name of lot owner upon which de-
ceased is buried, and number and section of cemetery in
which such lot is located. In this Mr. Hepler was ably
assisted by his son, John A., who has a thorough know-
ledge of all the records. During his administration nearly
16,000 bodies were interred in this cemetery.

Mr. Hepler also conducted a greenhouse on the corner
of Schuylkill avenue and Greenwich street, which is in



BIOGRAPHICAL



767



a prosperous condition. He was a director of the Mu-
tual Fire Insurance Company, and held an official position
in the "Home for Friendless Children."

On Sept. 18, 1854, Mr. Hepler was married to Herme-
Imda Abbott, daughter of William Abbott, a native of
England whd came to Reading in 1843, and who was
a forty-niner of the gold fields of California. Mr. Ab-
bott was a taxidermist, and was employed by the Smith-
sonian Institution to secure specimens. Mr. and Mrs.
Hepler were the parents of these children, all of whom,
together with the widowed mother, survive: Mary Meta,
at home ; George H., a mail carrier, who married Margaret
S. Lease, of New Oxford, Pa. ; and John A., who mar-
ried Katharme E. Bean, of Spring City, Pa., and has two
children, J. Merrill and Erme K.

In politics Mr. Hepler was a Republican, and represent-
ed the Seventh ward, no,w the Fourteenth, in the common
councU from 1882 to 1888. He was a life-long member
of St. Matthew's Lutheran Church, taking an active part
in the building of the old church at the corner of Frank-
lin and Pearl streets in 18'42, and acting as chairman of
the building committee for the new church at Fifth and
Elm streets in 1889. It was greatly through his efforts
that the mortgage on the new church was cancelled, he
having the honor and pleasure of burning the mortgage
in the presence of the congregation. If Mr. Hepler ac-
knowledged a fad it was the collecting of buttons, and
he had, perhaps, the largest collection of this kind in the
country, his specimens numbering about 78,000. Among
these are buttons of every description, some of them in-
teresting relics of the battlefields in various parts of the
world. He also had a collection of 500 varieties of wood,
gathered from all parts of the world, and in additiqn
thereto collected many curios of various descriptions.



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 221 of 227)