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 23 of 227)
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It was their first victory, and they felt great pride
in it. What could they do upon such an occasion
but demonstrate their feelings as their party, under
the name of "Federals," had done twenty years be-
fore? The leaders therefore decided to signalize
their triumph by a "grand ox-roast," on the "Com-
mon," on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 1840, and they issued
a public notice that "an ox will be roasted whole
and plenty of hard cider will be provided." The
day was accordingly celebrated under the direction
of an organized meeting, with men prominent in
respect to business, politics and military as its offi-
cers. Thirteen toasts were announced, and appro-
priate responses were made. Many persons parti-
cipated in the feast.

TiLDEN Festival of 1876. — The Presidential
campaign of 1S7G was full of enthusiasm from the
beginning to the end. Samuel J. Tilden, of New
York, was the Democratic candidate, and Ruther-
ford B. Hayes, of Ohio, the Republican. The Dem-
ocrats throughout the county were very hopeful
of success with so distinguished a candidate as Mr.
Tilden, and they therefore carried on the political
contest with all the energy that they could com-
mand. The leaders of the party in the county were
particularly active. Toward the close of the cam-
paign they made arrangements for a "buffalo roast"
in order to enable their party the more thorough-
ly to demonstrate their feelings in a public manner,
and they selected a day for that purpose. The pre-
vious festivals in 1820 and 1840 were held after
the election, but this was to be held before the elec-
tion. The announcement was made, giving the pub-
lic to know "that the Democratic citizens of Berks
and adjoining counties will have a —


lately captured on the western plains, and a

Jubilee Parade

in honor of their candidates for President and Vice-
President, and the gallant freemen of the
West, at the Fair Grounds, City of Read-
ing, on Thursday, OctolDer 26, 1876,
and also an

Old-fashioned Democratic Procession,

in which soldiers and sailors, farmers and me-
chanics and all good citizens, with their wives
and daughters, are respectfully invited
to participate

The dav arrived and the programme was carried
out very successfully. In the morning many dele-
gations came to Reading from all parts of the
county, and by 11 o'clock the "Jubilee Parade"
was formed, when it was marched over a long route.

Besides the usual demonstrations in a procession
of this character, there was an "elephant in boots,"
veritably walking in the parade, hired from Fore-
paugh (the showman) for the occasion. The sym-
bol of the Reading Times, in signalizing a political
victory on the morning after an election, for many
years, was the "elephant in boots" at the head of its
columns; but the Democrats desired to show by .i
living cartoon that they had taken its elephant cap-
tive, and were going to carry it along in their tri-
umphant march. This conception created much
amusement throughout the entire route. It was the
centre of attraction. On the way, the elephant
kicked off one of his Democratic boots, just as if
he were walking in doubtful company and on a
doubtful platform, and desirous of freeing himself.
The procession was nearly an hour in passing a
point, and ended in the "Fair-Ground," where the
feast on roasted buffalo was enjoyed by many hun-
dreds of persons. Speeches were made by promi-
nent men from different parts of the country. The
most distinguished guest upon this unusual occasion
was Gen. George B. McClellan, whose presence elic-
ited great applause wherever he went.

Cleveland Festivals. — The election of Grover
Cleveland, the Democratic candidate for President
in the election of November, 1884, was the occasion
of great rejoicing. In the county the plurality of
Cleveland over Blaine was 6,897, and in Reading,
499. The victory was of such an extraordinary nat-
ure that the Democrats could not refrain from pub-
lic demonstrations of various kinds.

In Reading, a grand "Salt-River Parade" took
place on Nov. 12th, in which there were fifteen hun-
dred men in line, with numerous teams and eight)'
men on horseback, as well as many humorous trans-
parencies and a prostrate stuffed elephant on one
of the floats.

At Bernville, and also at Rehrersburg, there were
ox-roasts on Nov. 15th, which elicited a great deal
of public excitement.

At Kutztown, on Nov. 21st, there was one
of the grandest political demonstrations ever
witnessed by the inhabitants. An ox, weigh-
ing twelve hundred pounds, was roasted, and
after a grand parade, in which three hundred men
on horseback from all the surrounding districts par-
ticipated, including a large delegation from the
"Americus Club" of Reading, there was a grand
feast and much hilarity. A "Liberty Pole," 160 feet
high, was erected to signalize the victory.

The next day after the election, there was a con-
siderable fall of snow, and the epigrammatic expres-
sion — "And the next day it snowed" — caused much
merriment among the participants in this demon-
stration, as well as in the demonstrations elsewhere.


The general political history of Berks county is
similar to that of the whole State in respect to its
general government. Legislation created territorial



divisions and provided offices of various kinds for
them in order to facilitate the regulation of local
affairs, and the representation of the people in the
legislative bodies of the State and nation. And
these offices have been filled either by election or
"by appointment from the beginning of our political
existence as a county until now. A sameness ex-
tends throughout the whole period. Comparatively
little special legislation has been done for our county
in the way of creating positions.

Four Acts of the General Assembly are worthy
of mention: One passed in 1824, relative to the
management of poor affairs; another in 1848, rela-
tive to the management of prison affairs; a third
in 1869, relative to the election of an additional
law judge; and a fourth in 1883, to the election
of an Orphans' court judge.

A marked change was introduced by the Consti-
tution of 1873, enabling the minority party to elect
officials. In Berks county this applied to county
commissioners and county auditors. Theretofore,
these officials in the county were almost entirely
Democrats since their election in 1841.

The first Republican commissioner and auditor
tmder this provision were elected in 1875. And in
1873, the Act of 1848 creating the board of prison
inspectors was so amended as to enable the minor-
ity party to elect three out of nine inspectors or an-
nually one out of three.

The Act of 1824, relating to the poor directors,
which provides for the annual election of a director
for three years, has not yet been amended to meet
the spirit of the times and of the State Constitu-

In 1867, when jury commissioners were author-
ized to be elected, provision was made that each
elector should vote for one person for this office,
and the two persons having the highest vote should
be the commissioners. This provision enabled the
minority party in the county to elect one commis-
sioner, and accordingly, the Republicans have elect-
ed a jury commissioner since 1867.


The office of representative to Congress of the
United States was created by the Constitution of
the United States which was adopted Sept. 17, 1787,
and ratified by the Convention of Pennsylvania
Dec. 12, 1787. The term of office was then made
two years ; and so it has continued to the present

Representatives were apportioned among the sev-
eral States according to population, which was enu-
merated within three years after the first meeting
of Congress, and every ten years thereafter.

The first apportionment by Congress gave Penn-
sylvania eight representatives. These were appor-
tioned by the State Legislature, March 16, 1791,
to eight diFtricts. Berks, Northampton, and Lu-
zerne counties were erected into one district, with
one member. In 1793, the State was given thirteen

members. These were apportioned by the State
Legislature on April 22, 1794, when Berks and Lu-
zerne counties were made the Fifth Congressional
District for the next ten years, with one mem-

In 1802, Berks, Chester, and Lancaster formed
the Third District, with an apportionment of three

In 1813, Berks and Schuylkill formed the Seventh
District, with one member.

In 1822, Berks, Schuylkill, and Lehigh formed the
Seventh District, with two members.

In 1832, Berks became a separate district, called
the Ninth, with one member.

In 1843, and every ten years successively until
1887, Berks comprised the Eighth Congressional
District, with one member.

By the Act of May 19, 1887, in the apportionment
of the State, Lehigh county was included with
Berks county in the formation of the Ninth Dis-
trict, and through delegates of the Republican and
Democratic parties from the two counties, respec-
tively, an agreement was entered into that Berks
county should have the nominee for three consec-
utive terms and Lehigh for two as long as they
continued together.

By the Act of July 11, .1901, in the apportion-
ment of the State these two counties constituted
the Thirteenth District.

The following persons represented Berks county
in Congress :

Name Terra

Daniel Hiester _^ 1789-97

Joseph Hiester* 1797-1807 ; 1813-20

Matthias Reichert 1807-11

John M. Hynemant 1811-13

Daniel Udree 1813-15 ; 1823-35

Ludwig Wormant 1821-22

William Adams 1835-29

Henry A. Muhlenberg§ 1829-38

George M. Keim 1838-43

John Ritter 1843-47

William Strong 1847-53

J. Glancy Jones|| 1851-53 ; 1854-58

Henry A. Muhlenberg, Jr.^ 1853-54

William H. Keim 1858-59

John Schwartz** 1859-60

Jacob K. McKenty 1860-61

Sydenham E. Ancona 1861-67

* Joseph Hiester was elected Governor of Pennsylvania in Oct-
ober, 1820, and resigned his seat in Congress Daniel Udree was
elected in December, 1820, to succeed him for the unexpired term
ending March 3, 1821.

t John M. Hyneman was re-elected; but he resigned his seat, and
Daniel Udree was elected to fill the vacancy for the unexpired term
ending March 3, 1815.

t Ludwig Worman died Oct. 17, 1822, whilst filling this office,
and Udree was elected in December following to fill the unexpired
term ending in March, 1823.

§ Henry A. Muhlenberg resipmed his seat in February, 1838, and
accepted the Mission to Austria as the first Minister. George M.
Keim was elected in March, 1838; to fill the unexpired term ending
March 3, 1839.

II J. Glancy Jones resigned in October, 1858, and accepted Mis-
sion to Austria. William H. Keim v;as elected on Nov. 30, 1858, te
fill unexpired term ending March 3, dS^9.

1 Henry A. Muhlenberg. Jr., died at Washington on Tarn. 9, 1854.
He had appeared in Congress only a single day, when he was taken
sick with typhoid fever, and thereafter was unable to resume his

•"John Schwartz died in July, 1850, and Jacob K. McKenty
was elected to fill unexpired term ending March i, 1861.



J. Lawrence Getz 1867-73

Hiester Clymer 1873-81

Daniel Ermentrout 1881-S9 ; 1897-99'

David B. Brunner 1889-93

Coiistantine J. Erdman* 1333-97

Henry D. Green 1899-1903

Marcus D. Kline* 1903-1907

John H. Rothermel 1907-1911


Henry A. Muhlenberg, to Austria 183S-40

J. Glancy Jones, to Austria 1858-61


John Endlich. at Basle, Switzerland

Henry JNIay Keim, at Prince Edward Island


William Strong

Samuel L. Young 1853-1901

William J. Young 1901-05

Henry Maltzberger 1905


Harrison Maltzberger 1867-92

Christian H. Ruhl 1898-1904

Samuel E. Bertolet 1905

The "Continental Congress" passed a resolution
on May 15, 1776, calling upon the respective Assem-
blies of the "United Colonies" "to adopt such gov-
ernment as shall in the opinion of the representa-
tives of the people best conduce to the happiness
and safety of their constituents in particular and
America in general." In pursuance thereof a Pro-
vincial Conference was held in "Carpenter's Hall."
at Philadelphia, on Tuesday, June 18, 1776. It was
attended by representatives from all the counties of
the province, then eleven in number. The repre-
sentatives — or delegates, as they were called — from
Berks county were:

Jacob Morgan Benjamin Spyker Joseph Hiester

Henry Haller Daniel Hunter Chas. Shoemaker

Mark Bird Valentine Eckert

Bodo ptto Nicholas Lutz

This Conference decided that a Provincial Con-
vention should be called to meet on Monday, July
15, 1776, for the express purpose of "forming a new
government in this province on the authority of
the people only" ; fixed the qualifications of electors,
the number of representatives from each county and
the time of their election ; ordered an address to
the people ; and agreed upon a "Declaration of In-
dependence" of the province, the truthfulness, for-
cibleness, and elegance of which are worthy all pos-
sible praise and admiration.

Accordingly, on July 15, 1776, the Convention
assembled, composed of delegates from each coun-
ty. The delegates from Berks county were:

Jacob Morgan P.enjamin Spyker Chas. Shoemaker

Gabriel Hiester Daniel Hunter Thomas Jones, Jr.

John Lesher Valentine Eckert

A constitution was agreed upon on Sept. 28,
1776, comprising a Preamble, Declaration of

*■' From Lehigh county.

Rights and Frame of Government. The "Declara-
tion of Rights" was reported by a committee of
eleven, of which John Lesher from Berks was a

By the 47th section of the "Frame of Govern-
ment" a provision was made for the election of
Censors in 1783 and every seventh year thereafter,
who were "to inquire whether the Constitution was
preserved inviolate in every part." The Censors
elected in 1783 to represent Berks county were
James Read and Baltzer Gehr.

The General Assembly of the State met at Phil-
adelphia on March 24, 1789. The representatives
from Berks county were :

Joseph Hiester
Gabriel Hiester

Joseph Sands
John Ludwig

Daniel Brodhead

The Assembly decided that alterations and
amendments to the Constitution of 1776 were nec-
essary; and the Assembly met again on Sept. 15,
1789. A resolution was reported by a committee
of the whole Assembly which favored the calling
of a convention to amend the Constitution, and
it was adopted.

Delegates were accordingly elected by each of
the districts in the State, and those from Berks
county were :

Joseph Hiester Abraham Lincoln Balser Gehr

Christian Lower

Abraham Lincoln
Paul Groscup

The Convention assembled in the State House,
at_ Philadelphia, on Nov. 24, 1789, and a New Con-
stitution was agreed upon, all the delegates sub-
scribing it on Sept. 2, 1790. It was soon afterward
submitted to the people of the State by a special
election, and adopted.

This Constitution was continued as the general
political law of the State until the adoption of a
New Constitution in 1873. In the mean time ef-
forts were made to improve it. An Act of Assem-
bly was passed March 28, 1825, which provided
for an election to be held at the next succeeding
election to ascertain the opinion of the people rela-
tive to the call of a Constitutional Convention, but
they decided by ballot that such a convention should
not _ be called. The vote in -Berks county was
against it.

In 1835 a convention was again recommended,
and the people decided that it was necessary. The
vote in Berks county was against it again.
_ In 1837 a Convention was'duly assembled at Har-
risburg and various amendments to the Constitu-
tion were recommended, which were adopted at
the regular election in October, 1838, The vote
in Berks county was for them. The delegates at
this Convention from Berks county were:

John Ritter William High

George M. Keim Mark Darrah

James Donagan

Subsequently, till 1873, various amendments
were proposed by Acts of Assembly and adopted by
elections of the people.



An Act of Assembly was passed in 1871 which
provided for the calling of a general convention to
amend the Constitution of 1790. It was submitted
to the people at the general election of October,
1871, and ratified. The vote in Berks county was
against the proposition.
"Delegates were accordingly elected; the Conven-
tion assembled — first at Harrisburg, then at Phil-
adelphia; and the result of their labor was
submitted to the people in 1873, and adopted. The
vote in Berks county was favorable. The delegates
from Berks county were:

George G. BarclayHenry W. SmithHenry Van Reed

Under the Provincial Constitution, and after-
ward under the State Constitutions of 1776, 1790,
and 1873, the officers named in the subsequent
pages were elected and appointed.


The following persons from Berks county held
State offices:

Charles Biddle, Supreme Executive Councillor, elected
by the Legislature, 1784-87.

Joseph Hiester, Governor, elected, 1820-23.

Gabriel Hiester, Surveyor-General, appointed by the
Governor, 1824-30.

Frederick Smith, Supreme Associate Justice, appointed
by the Governor, 1828-30.

Jacob Sallade, Surveyor-General, appointed by the
Governor, 1839-45.

John Banks, State Treasurer, elected by the Legisla-
ture, 1847.

William Strong, Supreme Associate Justice, elected,

William M. Hiester, Secretary of State, appointed by
Governor, 1858-60.

William H. Keim, Surveyor-General, elected, 1860-61.

Warren J. Woodward, Supreme Associate Justice,
elected, 1874-79.

David McMurtrie Gregg, Auditor-General, elected, 1892-


The office of State senator was created by the
Constitution of 1790. The State was thereby ap-
portioned into senatorial districts; and again in
1793, and subsequently every seven years till the
adoption of the New Constitution of 1873, where-
by the apportionment was thereafter to be made
on the decennial census of the United States. In
the beginning, Berks and Dauphin counties com-
prised a district with an allotment of two mem-
bers; and they continued together till 1808, when
Berks was erected into a separate district with two
members. After the erection of Schuylkill county
in 1811, it was added to Berks, and they together
comprised a district with two members till 1836,
when Berks was again erected into a district by
itself with one member, and continued so from
that time till now. The term' was four jjears from
1790 to 1838 ; and three years thence to 1874, when
the New Constitution fixed it at four years again.

The members from Berks alone are mentioned :

Name lerm

Joseph Hiester 1790-94

Gabriel Hiester 1795-96 ; 1805-12

Christopher Lower 1797-1804

John S. Hiester 1809-12

Charles Shoemaker 1813-16

Marks John Biddle 1817-20

Conrad Feger 1821-24

George Schall 1825-28

Daniel A. Bertolet 1829-33

Paul Geiger 1833-36

John Miller 1837-40

Samuel Fegely 1841-46

John Potteiger 1847-49

Henry A. Muhlenberg 1850-52

\yilliam M. Hiester* 1853-55

John C. Evans 1856-58

Benjamin Nunnemacher 1859-60

Hiester Clymer 1861-66

J. Depuy Davis 1867-73

Daniel Ermentrout 1874-80

Edward H. Shearer 1881-84

Frank R. Brunner 1885-88

Henry D. Green 1889-96

W. Oscar Miller - 1897-1900

Edward M. Herbstf 1901-1908


The office of assemblyman was first created by
William Penn in establishing a government for
the province; and representatives thereto, from the
several counties as they were erected, were elected
annually till the Declaration of Independence and
the adoption of a Constitution by the State in 1776.
It was continued by this Constitution, and afterward
by that of 1790, whereby members to the Assembly
were elected annually till the adoption of the New
Constitution of 1873. Then the term was increased
to two years. In all these years — from 1752 to the
present time — Berks county was a separate dis-
trict, excepting after the erection of Schuylkill
county out of portions of Berks and Northalmp-
ton, when it was added to Berks, and continued so
for a period of eighteen years — from 1811 to 1839.

The number of representatives from Berks was
as. follows:

1752-71 1

1772-76 2

1777-81 4

1782-86 6

1787-1829 5

1830-57 .' 4

1858-74 3

In 1874 six members were apportioned to Berks,
to so continue until an apportionment be duly made
on next census of United States (1880) — namely,
to the city of Reading two members, and to the
county of Berks four.

By the Act of May 12, 1887, in the apportion-
ment of the State for representatives, the county
of Berks became entitled to five members — ^the
city of Reading as the First District to elect two
members, and all the county outside of Reading

* William M. Hiester was elected and served as Speaker of the
Senate for year 1855.

t Re-elected in November, 1908.



as the Second District to elect three members ;
which has continued unchanged.

The representatives from the county were as fol-
lows :

Name Term

Moses Starr , 1752-54

Francis Parvin 1755

Thomas Yorke 1756-57

James Boone 1758

John Potts 1759-161

John Ross 1763-64

Adam Witman 1765-66

Edward Biddle* 1767-81

Henry Christ 1771-81

Valentine Eckert 1776-79

Henry Haller 1776-81

John Lesher 1776-81

Jonathan Jones 1779-80

John Hiester 1782

Gabriel Hiester 1783 ; 1787-89 ; 1791 ; 1802-04

Baltzer Gehr 1782; 1786; 1792-99

Daniel Hunter 1783

Benjamin Weiser 1782

Joel Bishop 1782-84

Daniel Clymer 1783-84; 1787; 1791

Chris. Lower 1783-85 ; 1793-94 ; 1796

Abraham Lincoln 1783-86

John Ludwig 1783 ; 1783 ; 1790-92

John Patton 1783

George Ege 1783

Nicholas Lotz 1784-86 ; 1790-94

John Rice 1784

Henry Spyker 1785-86

David Davis 1785-88

Martin Rhoads 1785

Philip Kraemer 1783-87

Joseph Hiester 1787-90

Charles Biddle 1788

Joseph Sands 1788-90

Daniel Brodhead 1789

Daniel Leinbach 1790

James Collins 1791

C. Shoemaker .' 1792-1801; 1810; 1812

Paul Groscup 1793-98

John Christ 1795-96

John Spayd 1795-1810

Peter Frailey 1797-1801 ; 1810 ; 1813

William Lewis 1797-98

D. Rose 1799-1804; 1806-08; 1811-12

Daniel Udree 1799-1803 ; 1805

William Witman 1800-05

Frederick Smith 1802-03

Isaac Adams 1804-p5

Jacob Rhoads 1804-05 ; 1809

Jacob Epler 1805 ; 1816

Elias Redcay 1806-07

Valentine Probst 1806-08

Jacob Schaeffer 1806-08

John Bishop 1 806

Daniel Yoder 1807-08

Bernard Kepner 1808

Jacob Schneider 1809

David Kerby 1809-3 2; 1815; 1817

John M. Hyneman 1809

James McFarland 1809

Adam Ruth 1810-11

Conrad Feger 1811-14

John Miller ; 1813 ; 1815

Jacob Krebs 1813-14

John Adams 1813-14

Jacob Sassaman 1813

George Marx 1814

Tonnthan Hudson 1814

Daniel Kerper 1815

* In 1774 Edward Biddle was Spealcer of the Assembly.

Name Term

Daniel Rhoads, Jr 1815-17 ; 1832

Jacob Dreibelbis 1815

Christian Haldeman 1816

D. Hottenstein 1816 ; 1832-24 ; 1837

William Schoener 1817

Godfried Roehrer 1817; 1820; 1823

Michael Graeff 1817-19

Joseph Good 1818-19

Jacob Levan 1818-19

Elisha Geiger 1818

Jacob Griesemer 1818-19

John Neikerch 1819; 1822

John Kohler 1820

Abraham Mengel 1830

John W. Roseberry 1830

George Gernant 1830-21

Samuel Jones 1821

Joseph Good 1821

Jacob Rahn 1821

Jacob Schneider 1831

William Adams 1832-24

John Gehr 1823-23

William Audenried 1823-34

Henry Boyer 1824-27 ; 1832

James Everhard 1824-26

George Rahn 1825; 1827-28

Jacob Gehr 1825-26

Geo. M. Odenheimer 1825

Daniel A. Bertolette 1836-28

Michael Graeff 1826

Philip A. Good 1827-29

Mordecai Lewis 1828

John Stauffer 1839-31

Thos. J. Roehrer 1829-30

George Klein 1829

Paul Geiger 1829-31

John Wanner 1830-32

John Potteiger '. . . 1831-34 ; 1842-44

William High 1833

Peter Klein, Jr 1833-34

Benjamin Tyson 1833

Jacob M. Snyder 1833-34

Adam Schoener 1834 ; 1839-40

William Hottenstein 1835-36

Lewis W. Richards 1835

John Ulrich 1835-36

John Jackson 1835-37

John Sheelz 1836-37

Michael K. Boyer ' 1837

S. Fegely 1837-39; 1848 ; 1849;' 1851

Jacob Walborn 1838-39

Abraham Hill 1838-39

James Geiger i838

Henry Flannery 1840-41

Peter Filbert 1840

Daniel B. Kutz 1840-41

Robert M. Barr .......1841

Samuel Moore 1841-43

John Shenk ' 1843-43

Joseph Bachman 1842-43

Henry W. Smith 1844-45

Joh" ,C- Evans .'.'.■.■.■ '{gU ;' ' 1850-52

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 23 of 227)