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 32 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 32 of 227)
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command of Major Edward Scull.

In August, 130 men were sent to Brunswick township
from the county to render frontier service.

In August, the 6th Battalion of County Militia, under
the command, of Col. Joseph Hiester, joined the army of
Gen. Joseph Reed in New Jersey, near Camden, in pur-
suance of an order to supply 600 men, who were to co-
operate with the main army near Philadelphia. It Nvas
in service for thirty days from Aug. 10th. The names
of 437 men have been ascertained of this quota. There
were six companies, commanded by the following captains :

Charles Gobin (Reading)
Ferdinand Ritter (Albany)
Conrad Sherman (Tulpehocken)
John Ludwig (Heidelberg)
Jacob Baldy (Maxatawny)
Henry Strouch (Ruscombmanor)

In September, two companies, numbering 130 men, from
the battalion of Col. Samuel Ely, were sent from the
county to perform frontier service against the Indians.

During the year 178 1

In May, one class of the battalion of Col. Michael
Lindenmuth, numbering 64 men, was forwarded from
county to render frontier service.

In June, two classes of the 6th Battalion of Militia,
commanded by Col. Joseph Hiester, numbering 138 men,
were placed under the command of Maj. Bayley, to guard
the encampment of German prisoners at Reading.

In August, a detachment of Lieut. Daniel Stroud's com-
pany, numbering 40 men, was ordered on guard duty, and
it served during August and September.

A detachment of Capt. Charles Grouse's company, num-
bering 36 men, was on duty at Reading guarding pris-
oners from Aug. 16th to Oct. 16th.

In September, there were 153 men recruited at Reading
and forwarded.

Three classes of Col. Samuel Ely's Battalion, numbering
300 men, were in service at Newtown from Oct. 1st to
Oct. l&th. Two of the companies are believed to have
been commanded by

John Robinson (Caernarvon), 56 men
Jacob Ladich (Brunswick)

The other companies have not been discovered.

Three other companies, about the same number of men,
were also organized in the county, but on account of the
want of arms the lieutenant of the county (then Col. Val-
entine Eckert), could not then forward them.

In October, a company of riflemen, numbering 83 men,
was organized in the western end of the county, and in
service under the command of Capt. Jacob Livingood
(Heidelberg) until Jan. 1, 1782. The place of service has
not been ascertained, but the men were paid on Jan.
16, 1782.

Militia from Greenwich and Maxatawny townships,
numberi^jg 120 men, were on a tour of duty.

Detachments from the 2d and 6th Battalions of Militia,
numbering 169 men, were on duty at Reading guarding

During the year 1782

In February, the company of Capt. John Robinson,
numbering 60 men, was in service at Northumberland.

In February, the first class of militia, numbering 40
men,' was in service at Reading guarding prisoners.'

In August, there were two detachments of militia, one
numbering 27 men, and the other 50 men, who rendered
frontier service in the county.

In September, 125 men were sent from the county to
render frontier service in Northumberland county.

In September, a detachment of Capt. Peter Nagel's com-
pany, numbering 40 men, was detailed to guard prisoners
who were sent from Reading to Philadelphia.


For the year 1775 95

For the year 1776 2,858

For the year 1777 2,404

For the year 1778 1,233

For the year 1779

For the year 1780 ' 952

For the year 1781 1,093

For the year 1782 343




Miscellaneous enlistments ascertained not included

in above statement 56

Total estimated 9,033

The number of men for the years 1776 and 1777
appears incredible, but the reader will take into
consideration that the men for each year were not
all in service at one time. Taking the reports of
men in service that have been given in detail, and
understanding that it was not possible to discover
all the men that were enlisted, it can be said that
the estimated total, as arranged, is not above, but
rather below, the real number supplied by the coun-
ty during the Revolution.

The system of supplying men was simple, and
it was carried on in such a manner as to render as-
sistance to the government with as little injury as
possible to the several districts from which the men
were called. The number demanded at one time
was not extraordinary, compared with the total
number subject to military duty, and the term of
service was limited to such a period that the busi-
ness interests of the people should not suffer seri-
ous losses. In this way it was possible to have at
least several hundred men from a county in service
all the time.


Mark Bird
Daniel Brodhead
Valentine Eckert
Samuel Ely
Balser Geehr
Henry Haller
Joseph Hiester
Daniel Hunter
Michael Lindenmuth

Nicholas Lotz
Jacob Morgan
Jacob Morgan,
George Nagel
John Patton
Henry Spyker
Daniel Udree
Jacob Weaver



Jacob Baldy
George Battorf
George Beaver
Jacob Bower
Michael Bretz
Henry Christ
Charles Crouse
Stephen Crumrine
Peter Decker
Daniel Deturck
Samuel Dewees
John Diehl
Jacob Dreibelbis
Conrad Eckert
Henry Egner
Sebastian Emrich
John Essington
Philip Filbert


George Focht
Conrad Geist
Charles Gobin
Jacob Graul
John Graul
Thomas Herbert
Joseph Hiester
Jacob Hill
Jonathan Jones
George Kemp
Henry Knause
Philip Kreamer

Philip Krick
Jacob Ladich
Sebastian Lentz
John Lesher
Jacob Livingood
John Ludwig
Jacob Maurer
George May
John McMurray
John Mears
George Miller
Sebastian Miller
Conrad Minich
David Morgan
Jacob Moser


George Nagel
Peter Nagel
John Old

Dirck Pennybacker
Daniel Reiff
John Reitmyer
Jacob Richstein
George Riehm
Ferdinand Ritter
John Robinson
Jacob Roth (Rhoads)
Jacob Rothermel
Nicholas Scheffer
Edward Scull
Peter Scull

Francis Umbenhauer
Bartholomew Von Heer
Peter Wanner
John Wagner
Benjamin Weiser
Conrad Weiser
Henry Weaver
Jacob Whetstone
Matthias Wick
George Will
Daniel Womelsdorf

William Scull
Jacob Shadel
Henry Shepler
Conrad Sherman
Casper Smeck
Peter Smith
John Soder


John Spohn
Leonard Stone
Henry Strauch
Joseph Talbot

Army Supplies from County. — During the
Revolution, many army supplies were either manu-
factured or produced in the county of Berks, more
especially in the years 1775, 1776 and 1777; and
these were collected from the several districts and
deposited at Reading, for the purpose of enabling
the Commissioners of Forage to fill the propor-
tional allotments of the districts with reasonable
dispatch. They consisted of grain, flour, hay, pow-
der, clothing, accoutrements, horses and wagons.

The superior geographical situation of Reading
led Congress to select the place as a general depot
for storing supplies of all kinds. It was far enough
from Philadelphia that General Howe could not
entertain any thoughts of capturing the stores with
safety to his army, and yet it was near enough to
enable the storekeeper to fill orders made upon him

Store House at Reading. — In a letter of CoL
Jacob Morgan to the Executive Council, dated Sept.
18, 1777, he stated as follows:

There is at present a great quantity of powder and
other stores belonging to the State in this town [Read-
ing] and there are two companies now out of said classes
mounting guard over said stores. The people of the town
are vastly uneasy at having so much powder here, and,
unless it be very well guarded, that uneasiness will in-
crease to a great degree, as fire happening to the house
where the powder is lodged would tear the town to pieces
and destroy the whole body of inhabitants. Many persons
of the town, above 53 years of age, would make part
of a guard if taken into pay, which would render it easy
to send so many more of the militia as would otherwise
be requisite for such guard. The Continental Press and
Medicinal store also require some guard.

By a letter of the same day from Christ and Shoe-
maker [Justices] to the Council it would appear
that they had called two companies of militia to
guard the said stores — "not forgetting the Conti-
nental Treasurer." The stores included a "vast
number of ammunition in the town, or near it."

Lotz Receipt Book. — In 1893, the compiler saw
the receipt book of Col. Nicholas Lotz in which re-
ceipts were taken for moneys paid from Aug. 13,
1780, to Dec. 5, 1781. The total amount was $202,-
033. Some of the items were reckoned in pounds,
shillings and pence, but the most of them were in
dollars. A great part of the amount was paid to
him in currency, which was never redeemed,
whereby he and others suffered great losses.

Iron Industries. — Thirteen prominent iron in-
dustries were carried on successfully in the county
during the Revolution. They were situated in the



four sections of the county, along strong streams
of water, as follows:


Oley, in Oley, on Manatawny creek.

Mt. Pleasamt, in Colebrookdale, on West Branch of

Hereford, in Hereford, on West Branch of Perkiomen.

Hopewell, in Union, on French creek.

Berkshire, in Heidelberg on tributary of Tulpehocken

Pine, Spring and Oley, in Douglass, District, and Oley,
on Manatawny creek.

Mi. Pleasant, in Colebrookdale, on West Branch.
Bird's, in Robeson, on Hay creek.
Gibraltar, in Robeson, on Allegheny creek.
Moselem, in Richmond, on Ontelaunee creek.
Charming, in Tulpehocken, on Tulpehocken creek.

Ironmasters. — The ironmasters, the proprietors
■ of the foregoing industries, were Mark Bird, John
Patton, John Lesher, David Potts, John Old, Thom-
as Mayberry, Daniel Udree, George Ege and Chris-
tian Lower. The assessed value of the property
of these men in the different sections of the county
amounted to a very large sum in the aggregate,
showing that they were in a situation to contribute
a strong influence toward the successful prosecu-
tion of the war. They supplied the Continental
Government with cannon-balls, cast-iron and
wrought-iron in various shapes, and they cooper-
ated heartily in the great social movement for rep-
resentative government. Their assistance was of
the greatest consequence and cannot be overesti-
mated. We can take great pride in the fact that
the county then possessed such enterprising, pub-
lic-spirited and patriotic men.

Other Industries.— ^There were other indus-
tries which are equally worthy of mention, such as
numerous grist-mills, saw-mills, gun factories,
wheelwright shops and blacksmith shops. These
were also situated along the strong streams in dif-
ferent sections of the county and they rendered
great assistance to Congress and the Council.
Nicholas Lotz, Sebastian Levan, and Daniel B rod-
head were three extensive millers, and Valentine
Eckert and Christian Lower were two influential
blacksmiths, who identified themselves prominently
with public affairs at that time. Knapsacks and
gun-barrels were made in different parts of the
county. And numerous energetic, hopeful and per-
sistent farmers constituted the very foundation of
the public welfare.

During the progress of the Revolution, the gov-
ernment was compelled to resort to the emission
of "bills of credit" with which to purchase army
supplies, etc., and to satisfy the demands of carry-
ing on the war. Gold and silver were not then
known to exist in the country in any quantity equal
to the demands of the war, nor could they be pro-
cured. Direct taxation, though practicable, was
deemed impolitic. The only plausible expedient in

the power of Congress was the emission of these
bills. Congress therefore resolved in June, 1775, to
emit such bills to the amount of two millions of
dollars; in July, ordered a million more; and in
November, three millions more; and for their re-
demption, pledged the Confederated Colonies. Sub-
sequently, other emissions were made; and such
was the animation of the times that these several
emissions, amounting to twenty millions, circulated
for some time without any depreciation, and com-
manded the resources of the country for public
service equally with gold or silver. But there
was a point both in time and quantity beyond which
this process ceased to operate ; that time was about
eighteen months from the date of first emission
and that quantity twenty millions. The rulers
thought it still premature to urge taxation, and
they, therefore, resorted to the expedient of fur-
ther emissions. The ease with which the means
of procuring supplies were furnished^ by simply
striking off bills of credit, and the readiness with
which the people received them, prompted Con-
gress to multiply them beyond the limits of pru-
dence, and a depreciation of their value was the un-
avoidable consequence.

At first, this depreciation was scarcely percepti-
ble, but it increased daily, till finally the currency
became worthless. It began at different peridds
in different States ; but in general about the middle
of the year 1777, and then increased progressively
for several years. In the latter part of 1777 it was
two dollars in currency for one in specie ; in 1778,
five for one; in 1779, twenty-seven for one; in
1780, fifty for one. After 1780, the circulation was
limited to certain localities ; but where the currency
passed, it depreciated to one hundred and fifty dol-
lars for one. In Pennsylvania, the Executive Coun-
cil resolved, as late as Feb. 1, 1781, that Continen-
tal money should be received for public dues at
the exchange of seventy-five dollars in currency for
one in specie. But an Act. provided that after June
1st following, only specie or equivalent bills of cred-
it should be received for taxes or other public
dues; and this rendered the currency worthless in
the State. This extraordinary depreciation brought
great loss to many of the people who had aided
the government in the grand struggle for freedom.
In this respect, the soldiers suffered most. The
people of Reading, and especially of the county,
met with considerable losses thereby. Some of
them had large quantities which were transmitted
for some time until lost or destroyed. It was not


The following men from Berks county occupied
the positions named, for the time stated, during the
Revolution :


Delegate in Continental Congress
Edward Biddle, 1774-75; 1775-76; 1778-79.



Secretary of Board of War
Edward Scull, May 16, 1778.

Dr. Jonathan Potts Dr. Bodo Otto

Surveying Department
William Scull, January, 1778, to September, 1779.

Deputy Quartermaster-General
Jacob Morgan, Jr., April, 1778, to 1783.


Delegates to Provincial Conference, June i8, 1776

Jacob Morgan
Henry Haller
Mark Bird
Bodo Otto
Benjamin Spyker

Daniel Hunter
Valentine Eckert
Nicholas Lotz
Joseph Hiester
Charles Shoemaker

Delegates to Constitutional Convention, July 15, 1776

Jacob Morgan
Gabriel Hiester
John Lesher
Benjamin Spyker

Daniel Hunter
Valentine Eckert
Charles Shoemaker
Thomas Jones, Jr.

Wagon Masters General

Henry Haller, June, 1779, to Aug. 14, 1780.
Jacob Morgan, Jr., Aug. 14, 1780, to 1783.

Superintendent of Commissioners of Purchases

Jacob Morgan, Jr., Aug. 14, 1780, to 1783.

Register of Court' of Admiralty
James Read, June 5, 1781.

Prothonotary of Supreme Court

Edward Burd, Esq., appointed Aug. 12, 1778; he con-
tinued until Jan. 26, 1786, when he was re-appointed.

Committee on Correspondence, July 2, J774

Edward Biddle Christopher Schultz

James Read Thomas Dundas

Daniel Brodhead Jonathan Potts
Henry Christ

Committee on Observation, Dec. 5, 1774

Members of Assembly

Edward Biddle.


Henry Christ 1774

Henry Haller

John Lesher

James Read

Benjamin Spyker
Sebastian Levan. . ,

Daniel Hunter

Balser Geehr


Jonathan Potts

Mark Bird 1778

Gabriel Hiester


1774 Valentine Eckert 1779

'78 Christian Lower 1779

'7.5 '82, '83

1776 George Ege 1779

1776 '80, '82

1777 Jonathan Jones 1779

1777 John Fatten 1780 'S3

1777 Thomas Mifflin 1780

79 Joseph Hiester 1780. '81

1777 Benjamin Weiser 1781

'81 John Bishop 1781

1777 Daniel Clvmer 17S3, 'S3

'81 .\braham Lincoln. .1782, S3

1778 Nicholas Lotz 1782, 'S3

, '80

1775 John Ludwig 1732

81 John Rice 1783

Edward Biddle
Christopher Schultz
Jonathan Potts
William Reeser
Balser Geehr
Michael Bright
John Patton
Mark Bird

Edward Biddle was Speaker of the Assembly for the
year 1774-7.'i.

The representation of the county was as follows : Two
for the years 1774 and 1775, and six for the remaining

The foregoing Representatives were elected the several
years named for the term of one year.

Executive Councillors

Richard Tea (ironmaster of Flereford township) was
a councillor for a time. He was elected in 1776, and served
until April, 1777, when he resigned.

Jacob Morgan, Jr., was qualified on Sept. 3, 1777. He
resigned April 4, 1778, upon accepting the appointment of
D. Q. M. General. On May 25, 1778, an order was drawn
to him for £301, 5s., for attending Council 180 days, in-
cluding mileage.

James Read succeeded him, and was qualified on June
30, 1778. On Dec. 1, 177S, he received one vote for Pres-
ident of the Executive Council. He resigned June 4, 17S1,
and on the 5th, was elected Register of the Court of Ad-
miralty of Pennsylvania.

Sebastian Levan, of Maxataw.ny, was also a councillor,
and officiated from Oct. 31, 1781, to Oct. 15, 1784.

John Jones
John pid
Sebastian Levan
George Nagel
Christopher Witman
Jacob Shoemaker
James Lewis

Colonels of Associated Battalions, 177s

Edward Biddle
Mark Bird
Daniel Brodhead

Balser Geehr
Christian Lower

Standing Committee, 1775

Edward Biddle
Mark Bird
Jonathan Potts
Daniel Brodhead
Balser Geehr

CoUinson Read, Sec.
Valentine Eckert
Nicholas Lotz, Chairman
Sebastian Levan
Richard Tea

Lieutenants of County

Jacob Morgan, June 9, 1777, to 1780; Valentine Eckert,
Jan. 8, 17S1, to 1783.


Henry Shoemaker
Christian Lower, Jr
Valentine Eckert

Daniel Udree
Jacob Swcyer
John Mears

PayuMsfcrs of County I[[ilitia

Daniel Hunter, 1776, to Aug. 25, 1777; Henry Spyker,
Aug. 26, 1777, to 17S;!.

Superintendent of Purchases

John Patton, 1778.

Commissioners of Forage

Valentine Eckert 177S Nicholas Lotz. .1780 to 1783

John Lesher 1778

In October, 1779, Col. IMichael Lindenmuth was ap-
pointed Commissioner to purchase flour for the French

Collectors of E.vcisc

John Biddle 1774 John Witman 1780-81

Daniel Levan 1779-80 Conrad Foos 1782-83




Henry Haller, 1778 to 1783

Jacob Morgan, Jr., 1778

Storekeeper at Reading
Joseph Cowperthwaite, 1778

Local Committees

Owing to the aid given by divers inhabitants to the
enemy, the Council in September, 1777, appointed com-
mittees to dispose of the property of such offenders and
make return of their proceedings under oath. The fol-
lowing committee was appointed for Berks county:

County Commissioners

Samuel Hoch 1775-76

Michael Bright 1775-77

Abraham Lincoln. . .1775-78
Christian Lower .... 1777-79

John Kerlin 1778-80

Adam Witman 1779-81


Thomas Parry
David Morgan
Peter Nagel
Henry Haller

Daniel Udree
Henry Spyker
Joseph Hiester

This committee appointed two persons in each district
to make provision for distressed families whose husbands
and fathers were in service. The appointees for Reading
were Henry Hahn and Peter Feather.

On Nov. 8th, the Council also appointed committees to
collect arras, clothing, etc., from the inhabitants who did
not take the oath of allegiance, or who aided the enemy,
and to deliver them to the clothier-general. The com-
mittee in Berks county was :

Henry Christ
Henry Haller
Thomas Parry
Daniel Udree
Philip Miller

Nathan Lewis
John Lower
Godfrey Riehm
Jacob Seltzer
Nicholas Scheffer

Committee on Attainder and Vesting Forfeited Estates, lyyS

Thomas Parry
Henry Haller

David Morgan

Auditing Committee

Francis Richardson, Reynold Keene, Collinson Read,
James Biddle and Henry Haller were appointed Jan. 23,
1777, commissioners for the county, to audit and settle
the accounts for arms and accoutrements purchased, the
property of persons lost in actual service, and of those
who were killed, died in service, or were made prisoners.


Peter Spycker 1775-83

George Douglass . . . 1775-83

Balser Geehr 1775-83

John Patton 1775-77

Jacob Morgan 1775-77

Mark Bird 1775-76

Jonathan Potts 1776-77

Daniel Levan 1777

Sebastian Zimmerman ....


William Reeser 1778-83

Peter Spycker was appointed president judge of all the
courts on Nov. 18, 1780.

Justices of the Peace

1777 — Henry Christ, Reading; Jacob Shoemaker, Wind-
sor; James Read, Reading; Daniel Hiester, Heidelberg;
Peter Spycker, Tulpehocken ; Jacob Weaver, John Old,
Amity; John Ludwig, Exeter; Benj. Shott;_ Christopher
Schultz, Hereford ; Samuel Ely, Richmond ; "Jacob Wag-
oner, Bern; Daniel Rothermel, Maiden-creek; Charles
Shoemaker, Windsor; Egedius Meyer, Jacob Morgan,
Caernarvon; Thomas Parry, Union.

1778 — Benjamin Weiser, Heidelberg; Michael Linden-
muth, Bern; Gabriel Hiester, Bern.

1780— John Guldin, Oley.

Thomas Jones 1780-83

Thomas Parry 1781-83

Daniel Messersmith


Michael Furrer 1783

. y ■ 1 ;■ . lA . . , iJ-;


George Nagel 1775

Henry Vanderslice. .1776-77
Daniel Levan 1778-79

Henry Hoffa 1780-81

Philip Kraemer 1783-83


Christopher Witman 1775-79 Daniel Levan 1780-83


The assessors appointed by the county commissioners
for the years named were :

1776— Vernor Stamm, Michael Furrer, Paul Geiger,
John Spohn, John Kerlin, John Egner.

1777 — John Hartman, Michael Furrer, John Robinson,
John Egner, George Kelchner, Joseph Sands.


The surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown
on Oct. 19, 1781, was virtually the end of the war
between Great Britain , and America. The news
of the surrender reached London on the 35th of
November, following.- Several months -afterward,
the warfare in the American Colonies was discussed
and its continuance discouraged in the House of
Commons. These discussions were continued with
earnestness till they culminated in a preliminary
treaty of peace on Nov. 30, 1782. In the first arti-
cle of this treaty, "the independence of the thirteen
United States of America" was recognized. The
treaty was not made final then, owing to the three
allied powers — Great Britain, France and Spain —
having been pledged to one another not to conclude
a treaty except by common consent. The final
treaty was concluded at Paris on Sept. 3, 1783, and
thereby the United States was acknowledged to be
"free, sovereign and independent."

During these two years of negotiation and de-
lay, there were no general military operations. But
great anxiety was felt over the prospects for a per-
manent peace. Through the inactivity of the army,
the officers and soldiers became restless ; also dis-
contented, because they were not rewarded for
their patriotic services. An attempt was made
by anonymous and seditious publications to inflame
their minds and to induce them to unite in redress-
ing their grievances whilst they had arms in their
hands. But Washington succeeded in quieting
them. His wisdom and eloquence elicited from the
officers the unanimous adoption of a resolution by
which they declared "that no circumstances of dis-
tress or danger should induce a conduct that might
tend to sully the reputation and glpry they had ac-
quired; that the army continued to have unshaken
confidence in the justice of Congress and their
country ; and that they viewed with abhorrence and



rejected with disdain the infamous proposition in
the late anonymous address to the officers of the

Return of Soldiers. — In order to avoid the in-
conveniences of dismissing a great number of sol-
diers in a body, furloughs were freely granted. In
this way, a great part of the unpaid army was dis-
banded and dispersed over the States without tu-
mult or disorder. As they had been easily and
speedily formed out of farmers, mechanics and la-
borers in 1775, so with equal facility did they throw
ofif their military character and resume their for-

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 32 of 227)