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 227 of 227)
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a granddaughter of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, founder
of the Lutheran Church in America, and thus a member of
that distinguished Muhlenberg family, prominently con-
nected with the early history of the nation,^ the state, and
the country. She was married in early life to her cousin
Henry A. Muhlenberg 3d, who died while a member of
the 34th Congress. Mrs. Muhlenberg was studious and cul-
tivated, and as her second husband, G. A. Nicolls, was a
man of thought, of information and of intellectual tastes,
her associations, in connection with her natural quickness
of perception and adaptability, made her a woman of
understanding and liberal attainments.

Mrs. Nicolls was a woman of wide acquaintance and
of strong character. In her youth she was remarkably
beautiful, and even in later years retained a charm of
rnanner and appearance which endeared her to a large
circle of friends, and with her capacity and strength of
character made her influence strongly felt in the com-
munity. _ She was a natural leader, not only on account
of her birth and associations, but also by her abilities, her
pleasing address, and her high character, and until the
day of her death she kept up her social relations and de-
lighted in the companionship of younger people. , She
was cotmected with the management of a number of
charitable organizations during her life time and for
some years was Regent of the Berks County Chapter of
the Daughters of the American Revolution, an orga-
nization which she aided not only on account of its sup-
posed aristocratic tendencies, but because of the good
it might accomplish m creating historical interest fos-
tering national patriotism. She was the President of the
Reading branch of the Needlework Guild of America,
a charitable organization designed to assist the deserving

poor with clothing, a directress of the "Home for Widows
and Single Women," and connected as a contributor
with many other local charities. For almost thirty years
she lived in a large brown-stone house at the northwest
corner of Fourth and Walnut streets, and though for
many years her health did not permit her to take active
exercise, her face and figure were a familiar sight at the
corner where she resided. She died January 14th, 1906,
survived by two sons, Henry A. Muhlenherg 3d, and
Frederick W. Nicolls.

GARRETT B. STEVENS, lawyer of Reading, is the
head of a family of lawyers, as all his sons are practising
attorneys. He was senior member of the former law firm
of Stevens & Stevens, though not connected by the ties
of consanguinity with his partner, W. Kerper Stevens,
with whom he was associated from 1894, but who is
now serving as Judge by appointment.

Benjamin Stevens, father of Garrett B. Stevens, was
a farmer, and his father, Abraham Stevens, was a mer-.
chant. The first of the family in America came from
Holland and held title to lands in Bucks county previous
to the advent of the Penns in Pennsylvania. Benjamin
Stevens married Elizabeth Barcalow, daughter of Garrett
Barcalow, of Bucks county, and seven children were born
of this union : Hogeland Stevens, at one time deputy sher-
iff of Bucks county, who died in 1898; Abraham, a farm-
er and store-keeper in Indiana; James Vansant, a mer-
chant of St. Paul, Minn.; Maria, wife of Isaac Bennet,
a farmer and contractor of Ivyland, Bucks county; Dr.
Elwood, of Fox Chase, Philadelphia; B. Frank, formerly
of Hill & Stevens, contracting carpenters of Oak Lane,
Philadelphia; and Garrett B. The father of this family
died in 1895, aged eighty-seven years, and the mother in
1898, in her eighty-eighth year.

Garrett B. Stevens is eminent among the members of his
profession in Reading, both for his attainments and his
success. He married, Nov. 9, 1876, Kate M. Zeller, daugh-
ter of John Zeller, deceased, of Reading, and five children
were born to this union : Garrett, now of Cleveland,
Ohio; Wallace, a graduate of Harvard and of the New
York Law School, who after spending a year in the law office
of Peckham, Warner & Strong was admitted in June, 1904,
to practise law in the courts of N?w York; John B., a
graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, admitted
to the Berks county Bar in 1902 and now associated with
his father forming the firm of G. B. & J. B. Stevens;
Elizabeth and Katharine.

Garrett Stevens was born in Reading, Dec. 19, 1877.
He was graduated from the Reading high school in 1895,
from Andover in 1896, from Yale in 1897, and from Dick-
inson Law_school in 1898. He then registered as a law
student in the office of Stevens & Stevens, and was ad-
mitted to practice Dec. 20, 1899. On Sept. 4, 1901, Mr.
Stevens m. Sarah S. Stayraan, daughter of Joseph B. and
Mary Stayman, of Carlisle, and the one son born to
this union is Garrett Barcalow, named after his grand-
father. Fraternally Mr. Stevens is a Mason. He is con-
nected 'with the Presbyterian Church, and in politics is a
Democrat. In 1902 he was a candidate for the Democrat-
ic nomination for the Legislature from Reading, and -re-
ceived a very handsome support.

John B. Stevens, son of Garrett B., was born Dec. 9,
1880, in the city of Reading, and there received his early
training in the public schools of the city, graduating from
the high school in 1897. He then entered the University
of Pennsylvania, and in 1901 received his diploma from
that famous old school, immediately afterwards taking
up the study of law in his father's office. On Nov. 10,
1902, he was admitted to the Berks county Bar, and in
February, 1905, was admitted to practice before the Su-
preme court. Mr. Stevens is a member of the Kappa Sig-
ma fraternity of the University. He is a Presbyterian
in religion. He has taken considerable interest in poli-
tics as a member of the Democratic party, and has en-
gaged in campaign work to some extent.













HENRY A. MUHLENBERG 3d was born in Read-
ing, Oct. 27, 1848. He was educated privately, and sub-
sequently spent a year at Pennsylvania College, Gettys-
burg, which he left to enter Harvard University in 1868.
At Harvard he was both popular and successful, and
graduated with honors in history in the class of 1873.
After a short European trip he began to study law, in
the office of George F. Baer, Esq., being admitted to the
bar oif Berks County in 1875. He then devoted him-
self to the practice of his profession, though he engaged
more in office affairs and in the business side of law
than in the active duties of court work. He was a di-
rector in the Farmers' National Bank, the Reading Trust
Company, the Mount Penn Gravity Railroad, and the
Reading City Passenger Railway Company, being for
many years secretary and treasurer of the latter organiza-
tion and one of its original members. His connection
with these concerns brought him in touch with the
important business interests of the community and natur-
ally influenced him to allow law to yield to business.
He was also a trustee of the Charles Evans Cemetery
Company, a vestryman of Trinity Lutheran Church, and
a member ~ of the Valley Forge Park Commission, to
which position he was appointed by two Governors of
the State. He was always a strong Republican, and spoke
for and contributed to the party whenever such ser-
vices were necessary. In 1892 he was nominated for
Congress on the Republican ticket, but, as the party was
in a hopeless minority in the county, he failed of election.
He was an omnivorous and indefatigable reader, being
interested in everything from the lightest fiction to the
longest history, and possessed a fine library which he used
to its full extent. He was extremely generous, charita-
ble both in action and in judgment, the soul of honor,
and a Christian gentleman in the true sense of the word.
He never married, but almost all his life lived with
his mother, Annie H. NicoUs, to whom he was devoted-
ly attached and whose death he survived only for four
months. On May 14, 1906, he was found dead in his
library, sitting in his chair with an opfn book in his lap.

JOHN HEISTRY ZERR, former president of the Letter
Carriers' Association, and one of the well known mail
carriers of the city of Reading, was born in this city"
May 11, 1870, son of Charles and Eliza (Bollman) Zerr.

Qiarles Zerr was born in lower Berks county March 6,
1833, and died at Reading Feb. 4, 1907. He was reared
by his grandfather Shirey. He was a blacksmith by
trade, and for upwards of forty years worked for the
Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company. For many
years his place of residence had been at No. 1111 Spruce
street. He married Eliza Bollman, daughter of John and
Mary (Auman) Bollman, of Spring township, and she
is now seventy-three years of age. Their children were :
Charles, of Reading; Catharine, m. to John B. Gnau, of
Reading; Ida V.; Anna R., m. to W. W. Wetherhold;
"William R. ; Howard G. ; John H. ; Margaret, m. to Grant
Schultz; and Lillie M., m. to Jacob Schmehl.

John H. Zerr received his education in the public schools
of Reading, and when eighteen years of age learned the
upholsterer's trade, which he followed for several years.
In 1893 he took a competitive examination for letter car-
rier, making a very high average, and in August of that
same year was appointed to a position by Postmaster
Capt. P. R. Stetson, a position he has since filled. He
IS a member of the Letter Carrier's Association, of which
he was president in 1904. In point of service he ranks
as one of the old men on the force and has a most
creditable record, and is very popular among the gov-
ernment employes at the Reading postoffice.

Mr. Zerr is active in the Masonic fraternity, being a
member of Lodge No. 63, F. & A. M. ; Reading Lodge
of Perfection; Harrisburg Consistory; and Rajah Temple,
A. A. O. N. M. S. He is also a member . of Reading
Chamber, No. 36, Knights of Friendship.

On Oct. 6, 1901, Mr. Zerr rharried Clara E. Fair, daiigh-
ter of George E. and Hannah E. (Bowman) Fair, of

Reading, where Mr. Fair is identified with the Readmg
Railway, and has been for more than a quarter of a
century. Her grandparents were Reuben D. and Mary
(Schaffer) Fair, of Berks county. Mr. and Mrs. Zerr
have no children.

FRANKLIN PIERCE LAUER, brewer at Reading since
1883, was born in Reading Nov. 3, 1853, the day on which
Pierce was elected President of the United States, tie
received his preliminary education in the common schools,
which he attended until 1866, when he and his brother were
sent to Germany for their advanced education, and they
remainecl three years, spending two years in the institu-
tions at tudwigsburg and Stuttgart, Germany, and one
year at Lausanne, Switzerland. He directed his studies
more especially toward the scientific manufacturt of beer,
porter and ale for the purpose of qualifying himself to
take charge of his father's breweries upon his return honie.
While at Lausanne he showed great proficiency in music,
and though still a boy the vestry of the French Lutheran
Church elected him as the organist, which position he
filled in a very satisfactory manner during his sojourn
at that place.

Upon returning home his father placed him in charge
of the two breweries as brewmaster and he displayed great
skill in the production of malt liquors of a superior char-
acter. He discharged the duties of this responsible posi-
tion -with increasing success for twelve years, until 1882,
when his father retired, and he organized the Lauer Brew-
ing Company, of which he became the manager and princi-
pal owner. Since then, covering a period of twenty-six
years, he has directed the affairs of the company in a
most successful manner, bringing its productions to a
high state of perfection and purity (as evidenced by the
analysis of the State authorities), and giving them a pop-
ularity equal to that of any others in Pennsylvania. Its
trade has been developed to extend into all the surround-
ing counties, and to numerous distant places, the large
shipments being made on the railroad in improved re-
frigerator cars.

Mr. Lauer's responsibilities at the head of his company
have kept him so closely confined that he could not devote
any time to political or social affairs. He, however, has
been a liberal contributor to various public causes; and
he has assisted in organizing several financial institutions
at Reading, and participated in their management as a
director: the Schuylkill Valley Bank since 1890; the Co-
lonial Trust Company since 1900,' and the American Cas-
ualty Company, since 1903. His only relaxation for some
years has been an annual vacation of several weeks with
his family to Pike county, where he enjoys the privileges
of membership in the Porter's Lake Hunting and Fishing
Club, which owns several thousand acres of timber land
on the top of the Allegheny Mountains, elevated 2,000
feet above the level of the sea. In August, 1891, he made
an extended tour of three months through the principal
countries of Europe.

In 1874 Mr. Lauer married Amelia Dora Heberle
(daughter of William Heberle), by whom he had six
children: Florence, who married William Y. Landis, of
Reading ; Carl Franklin ; and four who died in youth. He
owns and occupies a costly home on the site of the
homestead on South Third street, near Chestnut, where he
was born, and where his parents and grandparents^ had
lived since 1826. In politics he is a Democrat; in religion
a Lutheran, being a member of St. John's German Lutheran
Church, of which his father was one of the organizers in

FREDERICK LAUER, father of Franklin Pierce Lauer,
was the principal brewer at Reading for nearly fifty years
from 1835 to 1882. He was born in the town of Gleis-
weiler, Rhenish Bavaria, Germany, Oct. 14,_ 1810, and
whilst a boy accompanied his father to America in 1823.
He was educated in pay schools at Womelsdorf and
Reading, and while growing to manhood learned the
business of brewing under the tutelage of his father, who
was an expert brewer; and he assisted his father until



1835, when he and his brother George became the owners
of the plant. The brothers continued as partners for
several years, when his brother George retired and removed
to Pottsville, where he carried on the same business. The
younger brother, as the sole owner, enlarged the brewery
and .extended the business gradually until he came to
send his beer, porter and ale throughout the county and
into the adjoining counties. The brewerv was situated
on Chestnut street below Third. He established a second
plant on North Third street, beyond Walnut, in 1866 ;
also constructing a large vault in a solid bed of limestone,
and sinking an artesian well to the depth of 2,200 feet,
which for many years were considered great curiosities
at Reading, and the well was then one of the few deep
wells in the United States. He was engaged in the business
until shortly before his decease. He died in 1883, at the
age of seventy-three years. He was married to Mary
Reiff Guldin, daughter of Peter Guldin, in 1838j and they
had two sons, George Frederick and Franklin Pierce. The
mother died in October, 1891.

Frederick Lauer was a public-spirited man and labored
assiduously for the development and prosperity of Read-
ing. He co-operated heartily in the advancement of the
place from a borough into a city in 1847; and under the
amended charter of 1864 he represented the Fifth ward
in the select council from 1865 to 1871, serving as presi-
dent, of that body in 1867. He was a devoted adherent
of the Democratic party, and active in behalf of its success
for many years. He represented the Berks district as a
delegate to the National Convention which met at Charles-
ton, S. C, in 1860, and notwithstanding the platform 'and
the defeat of the party nominee for President, when the
Civil war broke out, in 1861, he espoused the cause of
the Union in a most earnest and patriotic manner. He
assisted materially in organizing the Berks County Agri-
cultural Society in 1852, and officiated as president for a
number of years ; also in projecting the construction of the
railroad from Reading to Lancaster and Columbia, serving
as a director for twenty years until his decease; and by
special appointment of the governor he served for several
terms as trustee of the Keystone State Normal School. He
gave liberal support to local charities by aiding the Dis-
pensary and the Relief Society.

Lauer Monument.— Mr. Lauer's great experience and
success in the brewing business brought him into national
prominence before the brewers of the United States, and
he quite naturally became the first president of the national
association upon its organization in 1870, which evidences
his great popularity and influence at that time; and in May,
1885, the association erected a fine bronze statue to his
memory on Penn Common, near Perkiomen avenue, on a
small plot of ground set apart and dedicated by the city
councils, the first public honor of the kind in the com-
munity. The inscriptions on the four sides of the base
are as follows :

{North Side)
■ "The city of Reading commemorates the public and pri-
vate virtues of an honored citizen by the grant of this
location. Erected 1885, the year of the Twenty-fifth con-
vention of the United States Brewers' Association."
{South Side)

"To Frederick Lauer of Reading. The United States
Brewers' Association of which he was the first president
has erected this monument in grateful remembrance of
his unselfish labor for the welfare of the brewing trade
in this country."

(East Side)

"His zeal sprang from his firm conviction that in striving
to advance the brewing trade he was working for the cause
of national temperance."

{West Side)

"Let his example tell the brewers of this country to
maintain good fellowship, to preserve their association,
and to defend their rights."

George Lauer. The grandfather of Franklin P. Lauer
was George Lauer, of Rhenish Bavaria, Germany, whose

home (including large vineyards) was situated at Gleis-
weiler, three miles from Landau. His property was
sacrificed during the Napoleonic invasions of the country
anterior to 1814. He carried on ^he manufacture of wine
and beer until 1823, when he emigrated to America. Upon
landing at Baltimore, Md., he was poor, having just had
enough money to pay the passage across the ocean for him-
self and family. The journey was made in a sailing vessel
and required three months. He immediately proceeded to
Reading, Berks county, where a i married daughter, Mrs.
Sprenger, resided; and shortly afterward he settled at
Womelsdorf and started the business of manufacturing
beer in limited quantities. He carried on the business
for three years and then located at Reading, where he
established a small brewery on Chpstnut street near Third,
on a rented lot (which he afterward purchased from
Marks John Biddle, the attorney for the Penns, in 1833),
similar to the brewery at Womelsdorf, which had a ca-
pacity of five barrels, and was soon increased to ten barrels
on account of the increasing demand for his product. There
were other breweries at Reading at this time, but the
product was of a different character. In 1831 he added
the manufacture of porter and ale; and he carried on
the enlarged plant until 1835, when his two sons, George
and Frederick, became his successors. He married Maria
Catharine Fox, of Boechingen, in Rhenish Bavaria, and
ty her he had nine children : Catharine, who married a
Mr. Baker and remained in Germany; Elizabeth, who
married John Abraham Sprenger, and had emigrated to
Pennyslvania before her parents, settling at Reading;
Christina, who married John Borrell; Susanna and Bar-
bara, who remained unmarried, and who joined the "Sep-
aratists," living with this religioi^s society in New York
for some years and then in Iowa, where they died;
Margaret, who married John Yost, of Womelsdorf ; George,
who married Anna Wilhelmina Ehlers; Frederick, who
is mentioned above; and Eva, who married Michael Rudi-
sill. The father of these children died in May, 1845,
aged seventy-six years, and the mother in July following,
aged seventy-three years.

Guldin Genealogy. The grandfather of Franklin P.
Lauer on his mother's side was Peter Guldin, a farmer
of Oley township, near Figedensburg. He was born
in 1782 and died in 1827. Peter Guldin was a son of
Daniel, also a farmer of Oley; Daniel was a son of
Samuel, a blacksmith, born in Switzerland, who emigrated
with his father while yet a boy, and settled in Oley in 1718 ;
and Samuel was a son of Samuel K. Guldin, a highly
educated and distinguished minister, who was born in
Switzerland in 1664, emigrated tp Pennsylvania in 1710,
where he became the spiritual forerunner in the establish-
ment of the Reformed Church, and served as a minister
very successfully until his decease in 1745, at the age of
eighty-one years. He is mentioned with distinction in
Good's "History of the Reformed Church in the United
States"; also in Miller's "Early H[istory of the Reformed
Church in Pennsylvania."

William Heberle, father of Mrs. Franklin P. Lauer,
was born at Rottenburg-am-Neckar, in Wurtemberg, Germ-
any, in 1831, and there learned the trade of tanner and
leather finisher. He emigrated iif 1849, landing at Bal-
timore and proceeding shortly afterward to Philadelphia,
where he remained three years, working at his trade. He
then removed to Reading and continued working at his
trade, until 1863, when he went to Hamburg, Berks county,
and carried on a tannery until 1869. He then returned
to Reading and resumed his occupation, working at it
until 1895, when he entered the employ of the Lauer
Brewing Company, and he has continued with that com-
pany to the present time. In 1853 he married Paulina
Goelz, daughter of Philip Goelz, of Weilheim, Wurtem-
berg, by whom he had nine children, six boys and three
girls, those who survived being:, Amelia Dora married
Franklin P. Lauer; Anna married Bertolet Yoder Landis;
William C. married Julia Dersch and has been foreman
of the Lauer Brewery since 1891,


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 227 of 227)