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 38 of 227)
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ing, for the purpose of electing officers and form-
ing companies. Morgan reported that he had for-
warded to the Executive Council an exact list of
the field officers, captains, subalterns and court-mar-
tial men, comprising the six battalions of the Berks
county militia, or one battalion for each district.
This list appears in the Pennsylvania Associators,
Vol. 2, pp. 257 to 276. The several battalions were
returned on May 16, 1777.

Battalion Section of County Colonel

1st Eastern Daniel Hunter

2d Northeastern Daniel Udree

3d Northern Michael Lindenmuth

4th Central Nicholas Lotz

.5th Southern Jacob Weaver

6th Western Henry Spyker

New System. — After the foregoing returns had
been made, the Assembly deemed it necessary to
provide a new militia system, because the Associa-
tors had lost their effectiveness. Shortly after the

battle of Princeton, whole companies deserted. Ina
this behalf, a law was passed on June 13, 1777.

Oath of Allegiance. — One of the first reqiiire -
ments was the taking of an oath of allegiance,..
which had to be done before July 1, 1777. This
was allowing only seventeen days; but in this time-
■ its provisions had become thoroughly known in.
Berks county for the time for deliberation or hes -
itation had passed, and prompt action was neces-

Persons who neglected or refused to take this-
oath were declared to be incapable of holding any
office; serving as jurors; suing for debts; electing"
or being elected; buying, selling, or transferring:
real estate; and they were liable to be disarmed by
the county lieutenants and deputies. If they were
not provided with passes, they were liable to be
arrested as spies, upon being found out of the.
city or county away from their immediate residence ;.
and forgery of a certificate was punishable with a
flogging and a fine of i50.

In pursuance of the Act, over forty-nine hundred
men took the oath of allegiance in Berks county
during the years 1777 and 1778, before the justices,
of the peace in the several sections of the county.
The greater number was taken from June to Oc-
tober in 1777.

County Districts Established. — This law directed
the counties to be divided into districts, and each
district was to contain not less than 440 men, nor
more than 680, fit for duty, to be arranged in eight
companies. The officer in charge of a county was
called a "lieutenant"; and of each district, a "sub-
lieutenant." It was the duty of the "lieutenant"
to enlist the people, collect the fines, and execute the
details of the law.

Battalions, Companies and Classes. — Each dis-
trict was subdivided into eight parts, with due re-
gard to the convenience of the inhabitants, and
elected its officers from lieutenant-colonel down to*
subalterns. The term of service was thre6 years.
A company was set apart for each subdivision,
and this was also divided by lot into eight parts,
called classes, as nearly equal as possible, and the
several classes were numbered from one to eight in
numerical order. Berks county was divided into-
six districts. Accordingly, the county had six 'bat-
talions, or forty-eight companies.

The rank of the battalions and their officers,
also of the captains and subalterns was determined
by lot. The precedence of the officers of the sev-
eral counties, as to rank, was arranged according to
the seniority of the counties, Philadelphia being

In case of invasion, or assistance were asked by
Congress, the militia was called out by classes. The
first draft consisted of class one of each company,
and if insufficient, then class two, and so on, as oc-
casion required. Each class was liable to serve two
months, and it was relieved by the next class in
numerical order.



Pay and Rations. — The pay and rations were the
same as Continental troops. They were to com-
mence two days before marching, and to be allowed
at the rate of twenty miles a day till the men re-
turned home.

Days of Drill — Days of drill were set apart in the
spring and fall for military exercises ; in companies,
on the last Monday of April, and first three Mon-
days of May ; also, on the last two Mondays of
August, the last two Mondays of September, and
the third Monday of October ; and in battalions, on
the fourth Mondays of May and October.

Fines. — Enrolled men who refused to parade
were fined 7s. 6d. per diem ; absent officers, 10s. ;
non-commissioned officers and privates, 5s. On
field days, the fine for non-attendance was £5, and
for non-commissioned officers and privates, 1.5s.

Pensions. — Pensions were allowed for incapaci-
tating injuries not exceeding one-half the pay re-
ceived ; and for persons who died from wounds,
or were killed in service, the Orphans' Court was
authorized to allow support to the families in
amounts not to exceed one-half the pay of such

Persons Exempted from- Service. — The excepted
persons from bearing arms were delegates in Con-
gress, members of the Executive Council, judges of
the Supreme court, masters and faculty of colleges,
ministers, and servants purchased bona fide.

Subsequent Returns. — Militia returns were made
and reported for the succeeding years of the Rev-
olution until 1783, and those for the years 1778,
1780,. and 1783 have been published in the Penn-
sylvania Archives.

Since Revolution. — The military spirit of the
people continued to prevail after the Revolution,
and the State encouraged it for the purpose of
maintaining familiarity with its affairs. Compan-
ies, regiments and brigades were organized and
drilled at certain fixed times and places within the
county. The meeting was commonly called "Bat-
talion Day." It preserved a strong general interest
in public affairs, especially in public defense. This
interest enabled the several organizations to re-
spond promptly to calls for their services, and their
promptness was a distinguishing characteristic.
Fortunately for them and especially for the coun-
try, their services were not needed frequently. Not
to mention the "Whiskey Insurrection" and "North-
ampton Affair" as of any military consequence,
there were 'but two occasions for a period covering
over sixty years in which their services were re-
quired, one having been the English war of 1812-15,
and the other the Mexican war of 1846-48, each,
by a strange coincidence, occurring after a period
of about thirty years. These military exercises were
continued until the beginning of the Rebellion ; but
this outbreak of the Southern States against the
Northern was of such a serious, long-continued and
costly nature that the spirit for a return to military
exercise had come to be entirely exhausted.

Proffer Services to President. — In 1798, a mis-
understanding arose between our National govern-
ment and the French on account of their seizing and
detaining many of our vessels for examination, to
ascertain whether or not we, as a neutral govern-
ment, were carrying English commodities. Some
conflicts arose on the sea, but Napoleon, upon tak-
ing control of the French government, soon estab-
lished a cordial understanding between the two
countries and American .vessels were no longer mo-
lested; and two years afterward Louisiana was
purchased by the United States.

During this excitment, the officers of the Berks
County Brigade met at the Court-House in Read-
ing on June 30, 1798, and addressed a patriotic
letter to, President Adams, offering their services
to assist in resenting the insult of the French to
our government ; to which the President gave them
a very appreciative acknowledgment.

Military Division. — In 1807 Berks and Dauphin
counties comprised the Sixth Division. In 1814 two
new counties, Schuylkill and Lebanon, were added
to this division, Dauphin and Lebanon forming the
1st Brigade and Berks and Schuylkill the 2d; and
in 1849, Dauphin, Lebanon and Berks comprised
the 5th Division. The last Act before the Rebellion
was passed in 1858, by which Berks was still a part
of the same division.

Encampment at Reading. — A large and success-
ful encampment of militia was held at Reading in
1842. It was arranged along the base of Penn's
Mount and continued from May 18th for one

The following troops attended :

Company Men

Reading Troop 30

Reading Artillerists 52

Washington Grays (Reading) 40

National Graj's (Reading) 35

National Troop (Ole}') 43

Hamburg Troop 30

Hamburg Artillerists 52

Womelsdorf Legion 46

Bernville Rifle Grays 65

Berks Rifle Rangers 54

Pottsville Cavalry 28

Pottsville Infantry 44

Orwigsburg Grays 40

Allentown Guards 34


Attendance from Reading, 157 ; from country districts,

292. Brig.-Gen. William High was in command of the

Berks County Brigade. The commander-in-chief of the

State was also present.

The daily duty at the encampment was similar
to army regulation during actual war. It was as
follows :

Morning gun at daybreak Grand parade, 10 a.m.

Reveille Dinner, 12 M.

Roll-call Regular parade, 4 p.m.

Morning parade Evening gun, 6 p.m.

Breakfast Tattoo and countersign, 10

Detail of guards p.m.

Inspection Lights extinguished, 11 p. m.

And from 11 p.m. to daylight "the sentry walked his
lonely roimd."



A review of the trcxyps was held on Saturday,
May 21st. The day was fine, and thousands of
persons were in attendance.

Gen. Winfield Scott, accompanied by his aids,
arrived at Reading on the day of the review. He
was met at the "depot" (Seventh and Chestnut
streets) by a detachment of mihtary and escorted
to "Herr's Hotel" (United States, north side of
Penn Square, between Fourth and Fifth streets),
followed by many citizens. He spent Sunday at
Reading. On Monday, 33d, he reviewed the troops
at the encampment and during this day medals were
shot for. General Scott expressed himself as highly
pleased with the discipline and appearance of the
encampment and he paid a special compliment to
the "Reading Artillerists." Whilst here he presented
each of the Revolutionary survivors with a $20 gold-

Battalions in i8§6. — In 1856 there were in the
county twenty-four companies of militia, arranged
in six battalions, which comprised the 1st Brigade,
of the Sth Division of Pennsylvania Volunteers :

Battalion Section Officer Company Men

1st Reading Major W. H. Keim 6 539

2d Hamburg , Major J. A. Beitenman 4 206

3d Maiden-creek Major D. B. Kaufman 3 133

, 4th Oley Major Isaac Schroeder 5 311

5th Union Major W. J. Schoener 3 135

6th Marion Major John Bechtold 3 139

Total men, 1,463 ; total force of troops in the county,


These battalions were in active existence when
the Civil war broke out in 1861.

State National Guard. — In 1864, a new sys-
tem was provided which still prevails. The assess-
ors of the county are required to enroll "every able-
bodied male citizen resident within the State, of the
age of twenty-one years and under the age of forty-
five years," excepting certain persons specified ; and
this roll of persons is placed on record in the office
of the county commissioners ; and the whole num-
ber of persons liable to mihtary duty is reported by
the commissioners to the adjutant-general of the
State. The enrolled militia shall be subject to
no active duty except in case of war, invasion, riot,
etc. The commander-in-chief may order the militia
to be drafted from the persons liable to duty or ac-
cept as many volunteers as may be required. The
organization is similar to the previous systems,
but the State is divided into twenty divisions, each
county to form a separate brigade. Berks, Leb-
anon and Dauphin counties comprise the 5th Di-
vision. Subsequent modifications have been made.

The active militia is styled the "National Guard
of Pennsylvania." In time of peace it shall com-
prise an aggregate not to exceed ten thousand of-
ficers and men and "consist of two hundred com-
panies, fully armed, uniformed and equipped, to
be distributed among the several military divisions
of the State according to the number of its taxable
population." And provision is made for drilling,
inspections and encampments. This system is car-

ried on successfully, but without causing any public
excitement, excepting during the time and in the
vicinity of any encampment.

Reading Artillerists. — The Reading Artillerists
is one of the most prominent military organi-
zations in Pennsylvania. It was organized at
Reading, March 23, 1794, and has continued in ac-
tive existence until the present time, excepting from
the close of the Civil war in 1865 until 1881, when
it was re-organized. At first it was known as the
Reading Union Volunteers, and in the English war
of 1812-15 as the Reading Washington Guards,
and about 1820 it took the name of Reading Artil-
lerists which it has retained until now. The first
captain was Daniel de B. Keim and he served as such
from 1794 to 1830. It was engaged in the Whiskey
Insurrection of 1794; in the Northampton riot of
1799; in the English war of 1812-15; in the Phil-
adelphia religious riots of 1844; in the Mexican
war of 1846-48; in the Civil war of 1861-65; in the
Homestead riots of July, 1892; in the Hazleton
riots of September, 1897 ; in the Spanish war of
1898; in the Schuylkill riots of 1900; and in the
Northumberland and Luzerne riots from Septem-
ber, 1902, to April, 1903.

The captain of the company since Feb. 6, 1905,
has been Dr. H. Melvin Allen, and he has devel-
oped the company to a high grade of efficiency ;
for, in the first year the company ranked fourth in
the regiment, the second year' it ranked second, and
the third year it ranked first, having in 1907 reached
the average of .99 55-100. In the fourth year, how-
ever it dropped to second place, the company which
it had si.irpassed in 1907 having reached first place
in 1908 by the remarkable average of .99 65-100
(the Artillerists being .99 60-100).

The following is a list of the captains of the
company :

Daniel de B. Keim, 1794-1830.
George May Keim. 1830-34.
William H. Miller, 1834-39.
William Strong, 1839-44.
Thomas S. Leoser, 1844-49.
Marks John Biddle, 1849-50; 1852-5.5.
Daniel R. Clymer, 1850-52.
William I. Clous, 1855-57.
George W. Alexander, 1857-61.
William H. Andrews, 1862.
Thomas M. Richard, 1862-63.
Robert H. Savage, 1881-82.
William H. Souders, 1882-83.
Samuel H. Stahr, 1883-85.
Henry J. Christoph, 1885-95. '
Samuel Willits, 1895-99.
Edward E. Machamer, 1899-1902.
Reuben C. Potteiger, 1902-05.
H. Melvin Allen, since 1905.

A military company was organized at Hamburg,
April 13, 1875, and became attached to the N. G. P.
as Company E, 4th Regiment, having been a con-
tinuation of the "Blue Mountain Legion." It was
called into active service to assist in quelling the
riots at Reading in July, 1877, at Homestead in July,
1892, in Schuylkill county, in 1900, and in North-
umberland and Luzerne counties from September,



1902, to April, 1903. It was also eng-aged in the
Spanish war with the 4th Regiment of Pennsylvania
A'ohmteer Infantry, having been mustered into the
National service May 10, 1898, and mustered out
Nov. 16, 1898. It participated in the movements of
the army in Porto Rico, and was then commanded
by Capt. William Kummerer. [See reference to
Company and Armory in description of Hamburg,
Chapter XL] It was commanded by the following
captains :

Edward F. Smith, 1875-83.
Charles F. Seaman.* 1883-93.
John F. Ancona, 1893-97.
Benjamin F. Gehris, 1897-98.
Dr. John R. Wagner, 1898.
William Kummerer, 1898-1902.
Monroe M. Dreibelbis, 1903-07.
Wilson S. Lewis, since 1907.

Company G, of the 9th Pennsylvania Volunteer
Infantr}', was organized at Reading by Henry D.
Green (a prominent attorney) in response to a sec-
ond call of President McKinley for 75,000 addi-
tional troops, and mustered into the National service
July 37, 1898. It was encamped in Kentucky dur-
ing August and part of September, and was mus-
tered out of service Oct. 29, 1908.

These three companies (Company A, Company E,
and Company G) from Berks county participated in
the great Peace Jubilee at Philadelphia on Oct. 27,
1898, after the successful termination of the Spanish

Company I, of the 4th Regiment, N. G. P., was
organized in 1898 as a provisional company in order
to maintain a military organization of the National
Guard at Reading during the absence of Company
A, and mustered in June 9th, with a full cjuota. It
became attached to the National Guard of the State
in 1900. Harry M. Phillippi was the captain until
he resigned in 1901 ; Jerome Seider from 1901 to

1903, and Ralph R. Koser from 1903 to i906.

The company was re-organized by Capt. Charles
G. Miller in October, 1906, after it had been allowed
lo retrograde for five years to the point of disband-
ing, with only thirty-five enlisted men. In two years
he brought it to the standard of sixty men and three
officers, and secured for the company an average
of 97, and a rating as the fifth company in the reg-
iment ; which evidences in a high degree his superior
character and ability as its commanding officer.

The company was called out to assist in quelling
the labor troubles in Schuylkill county in 1900, and
in Northumberland and Luzerne counties in 1902-03.

This company is a re-organization of the historical
company known for many vears as the "Reading

The 4th Regiment, N. G. P., comprises the com-
panies from Berks, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh and
Schuylkill counties.

Enrollment for Milit.vry Service. — In Au-
gust, 1908, the county had 29,10,5 men en-
rolled for military service as reported to the Com-
missioners by the assessors of the several districts ;

* Elected major of regiment in IflO.S.

an increase of 2,198 over the. number for 1905.
Reading contained over half, 16,383. The number
for the several districts was as follows :

District Enrolled

Albany 156 Ontelaunee 157

Alsace, Lower 139 pjke 83

Alsace 118 Penn 164

Amity 187 Perry 2.50

Bern 197 Richmond 262

Bern, Upper 106 Robeson 369

Bethel 227 Rockland 141

Brecknock 126 Ru.scombmanor 177

Boyertown 317 Spring 585

Bechtelsville 57 Xilden 163



Topton 116

Birdsboro, E W . . 304 Xulpehocken 22S

Birdsboro, W. W.... 157 Tulpehocken, U 353

Centreport 20 Union 200

Centre 209 Washington 225

Caernarvon 8/ ^est Leesport 76

Cumr»i ,•••; ®i!° West Reading 308

Colebrookdale 237 Windsor 78

Dpug.'ass lo2 Womelsdorf 214

5'^'"^' ^^ WvQmissing 135

E^ - ' l~l Reading-

Fl^^t^°°d 217 5^^^,^^ ^^^j „^

(jreenwich 189 tu- i i ooi

Hamburg, W.W 203 l^''t , lit

Fourth ward 346

Fifth ward


Hamburg, E. W 314

Heidelberg, N 101

Heidelberg 236 Sixth ward 1,722

Heidelberg, L 583 Seventh ward 815

Hereford 131 Eighth Avard 866

Jefferson 123 Ninth ward 1,060

Kutztown 375 Tenth ward 910

Lenhartsville 20 Eleventh ward 875

Longswamp 300 Twelfth ward 1,349

Maiden-creek 253 Thirteenth ward . . . 1,919

Marion 135 Fourteenth ward . . 1,063

Maxatawny 443 Fifteenth ward .... 1,791

Mohnton 295 Sixteenth ward . . . 1,038

Muhlenberg 4.55

]\It. Penn 131 Total for citv and

Oley 311 county ' 29,105


The inefficiency of the local police authorities
throughout Pennsylvania, more especiallv in the
coal regions where many foreigners from different
nations had come to be residents, was a subject of
serious discussion for manv years without any re-
lief or satisfactory protection, notwithstanding the
gradual increase of lawlessness and crime. Finally,
the Legislature, under the recommendation of Gov-
ernor Pennypacker, passed an Act for the estab-
lishment and regulation of a new department of gov-
ernment called the State Police, which he approved
on May 3, 1905. In pursuance of this Act, a super-
intendent was appointed by the Governor and four
troops were carefully qualified, the svstem going
into operation throughout the State on the same
day, Dec. 15, 1905.

The superintendent, Capt. John C. Groome, se-
lected Reading as one of the four .stations in the
State for the location of Troop C from which to
carrv on the patrol of the surrounding country
within a radius of thirty miles, in the performance



of their. duty; and he established a "Barracks" on
the Seitzinger homestead, situated, along the Wy-
omissing road, a short distance west of the Schuyl-
kill river (having leased the premises for two years,
and afterward extended the term for two years,
more). Ten sub-stations have been established in
the district, with two in Berks county, one at Ham-
burg and the other at Manatawny, along the Cole-
brookdale railroad.

William P. Taylor, of Reading, was appointed
Nov. 11, 1905, as the captain of Troop C, and he
filled the position until June 15, 1906, when he
resigned. The Troop comprised a captain, a lieu-
tenant, four sergeants and thirty privates, which
were subsequently increased to fifty-seven. Anoth-
er trooper was selected from Reading, C. M. Wil-
helm, first sergeant.

Upon the resignation of Captain Taylor, the lieu-
tenant was promoted, and he discharged his duties
as the captain of the Troop in a superior manner
until Aug. 16, 1908. He was succeeded by Capt.
Lynn G. Adams, who was- transferred from Troop
B at Wyoming; and at the same time Lieut. Wil-
liam Marsh was transferred from Troop D, at
Punxsutawney, to Troop C, to fill the same posi-
tion ; and they have discharged their trying duties
in their respective positions in an admirable man-
ner until now.

Immediately after establishing its quarters at
Reading, Troop C began to patrol the district and
though for a time the moving troopers along the
highway in different directions from Reading were
more or less objectionable, and excited adverse
criticism, their dignified, straightforward, cour-
teous behavior soon won the respect of the people,
and their utility came to be appreciated for the pro-
tection to life and property which they cheerfully
and promptly gave whenever required, and the ap-
preciation of the taxpayers has been so universal
in this district that they have come to regard the
troopers as a necessary part of the government.

In March, 1906, a strike occurred amongst the
laborers at a stone-quarry between Lebanon and


Cornwall, and serious trouble with them having
been anticipated, the "State Police" at Reading was
notified. A detachment of thirty-five troopers under
the command of Lieutenant Smith was sent there
and they soon controlled the situation, which evi-
denced their influence and power in such an emer-
gency and justified the establishment of this im-
portant branch of the government.

A month afterward, a more serious incident oc-
curred at Mt. Carmel, in Northumberland county,
and again Lieutenant Smith, with forty-three troop-
ers, was dispatched to that place, and the troopers
again caused the threatening excitement to subside ;
however, not without the unavoidable shooting of
twenty-two rioters and the injury of five of the
troopers. And in April, 1908, a detachment was
ordered to Chester on account of the strike of the
trolley-car operators, and the troopers remained
there two weeks, until their assistance and presence
were no longer required.

On the night of Sept. 15, 1907, Timothy Kelle-
her, one of Troop C, while on his way from Read-
ing to the "Barracks" by the short cut over the
Pennsylvania railroad bridge, was stabbed and
killed by two Italians, who were apparently assault-
ing a woman along the railroad. Kelleher, hearing
the disturbance, went boldly to the woman's assist-
ance, and the Italians, thinking that he was interfer-
ing with them, assaulted him with fatal result. They
were caught several days afterward, while trying
to escape, tried and convicted ; one of them of mur-
der, he being hanged,, and the other of man-
slaughter, he being sentenced to the Eastern pen-
itentiary for twelve years.

The State Police, in four ]'ears, came to be highly
regarded in the vicinity of Reading, and the county
officials treated the troopers with the utmost con-

On May 31, 1909, Company C was removed to
Pottsville, Schuylkill county, because its presence
in that community was found to be more necessary.


No regular enumeration of the inhabitants of
Pennsylvania was made previous to 1790. The
first provision for enumeration was made by the
Constitution of the United States, adopted Sept.
17, 1787. Therein provision was made for the

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 38 of 227)