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 40 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 40 of 227)
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Windsor 8,017

Womelsdorf 255

Wyomissing

Total 418,753

Total for City

Total for County







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fe;


10,771


465


$


15,095


619


$ 12,440


1,670


103




5,630


119


2,300


2,307


248




11,480


323


6,450


158


461




26,425


840


21,000


. 143


582




35,500


785


19,179


4,453


327




33,970


428


10,825


7,757


652




45,373


936


23,833


1,653


338




20,805


414


8,000




171




12,305


17


435




60




3,715


29


860




55




4,120


5


115




69




3,900


33


575


36


58




4,850


31


600




16




1,095


5


150-


639


508




23,270


785


16,605


849


248




11,275


704


6,650


1,815


772




37,220


820


21,030


392


284




18,060


497


12,594


723


291




15,835


493


9,875


729


181




8,690


347


5,399


3,571


217




10,834


414


8,300


1,519


723




40,436


1,391


35,085




91




7,335


33


480


3,545


592




28,295


878


18,349




58




2,620


32


440




93




6,580


14


400




330




19,695


498


11,835


1,577


359




23,475


369


10,305


877


865




70,070


1,112


38,260


1,351


375




25,732


627


16,470


386


375




25,260


559


15,354




104




7,055


15


320


14


37




2,165


10


265


4,063


453




33,905


618


15,620


355


373




18,325


537


13,480


171


453




22,650


643


16,075


273


743




51,615


1,078


24,756




103




4,875


4


100


679


360




16,375


393


9,825




45




2,550


8


160


154


715




40,000


1,300


32,730


64


274




23,920


377


10,260


3,518


243




9,791


490


11,063


698


493




30,165


617


15,425


368


445




17,990


821


14,440


642


554




34,379


957


23,031


7,597


647




37,196


787


14,510


2,459


335




13,900


620


12,115


3,170


266




11,122


410


10,430


1,339


754




34,670


857


17,160


269


313




21,940


526


13,125




56




2,890


15


350


583


593




45,135


818


21,800


3,466


438




34,030


481


12,400


6.187


351




15,360


892


10,530


1,140


366




30,590


617


15,885




31




1,300


12


350




138




8,075


36


520


6,125


271




13,065


481


12,025




71




7,043


18


640




49


$1,


2,425


50


1,250


88,953


28,493


143,044


28,493


$654,613




2,266




150,010


32


1,200




30,759


$1,292,054


28,525


$655,813




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CHAPTER X- READING



TOWN, 1748 TO 1783

Grant to Penn. — The English came to own the
territory comprising Pennsylvania by conquest from
the Dutch in 1664; and King Charles II. in 1681
granted the province to William Penn in satisfac-
tion of a debt due to his deceased father, Admiral
Penn, for meritorious services. Notwithstanding
this grant, William Penn recognized the claim of
the Indians to the land, and therefore obtained their
release. He died in 1718, possessed of this section,
and devised it to his children.

'First Patents.— In the general desire to dispose
of lands in this section, the Penns directed surveys
to be made and patents issued, which will appear by
the following statement:





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PATENTS

1. Richard Hockley, tract for 1,150 acres ; survey, Feb.
19, 1733.

2. Thomas Lawrence, tract for 300 acres ; survey, March
19, 1733; patent, Oct. 37, 1733.

3. Thomas Lawrence, tract for 137 J acres; survey, April
22, 1738; patent, Feb. 16, 1739.

4. Samuel Finney, tract for 150 acres; survey, Feb. 19,
1733.

5. Proprietary land, tract for 126 acres; survey, July 3,
1741.

6. Part of tract 1 ; on which lots were laid out, afterward
called "Hockley Out-lots."

The tract for 1,150 acres adjoined the river and
extended from a line now occupied by Hockley and
Woodward streets to a line beyond the Charles
Evans cemetery, known for many years as Hiester's
Lane.

Some years after these patents had been issued,
about 1740, while efforts were being made to erect
a county (Berks), the Penns conceived the idea of
laying out a town at this point, but finding that the



land had been, sold, they endeavored to re-purchase
it. Lawrence, however, declined to re-sell his two
tracts. Their agent then investigated the matter,
and on Sept. 38, 1743, addressed a letter to them
in reference to the proposed "Town of Reading."
This is the first mention of a town at this place. In
1745, lots were laid out on part 6, and this ac-
tion induced Lawrence to re-convey his tracts.

Town Laid Out. — During the fall of 1748,
Penn's two sons, Thomas and Richard, caused a
town to be laid out by Nicholas Scull, their sur-
veyor-general, on the land adjoining the Schuylkill
(Lawrence tract), at the "Ford," in the road that
extended from the Tulpehocken settlements to Phil-
adelphia. It was named Reading, after the county-
town in Berkshire, England. The town-plan com-
prised 520 lots, and 204 out-lots, numbered con-
secutively.

The lots between the river and King (Third)
street were laid out in 1776. The double line
through these lots, on the accompanying plan, indi-
cates the canal which extended through that part
of the town from 1822 to 1834. At that time there
was not a town, not even a village, in all the sur-
rounding territory for many miles. The nearest
town was Lebanon, twenty-eight miles to the west,
which had been laid out in 1740 ; and the next was
Lancaster, thirty-three miles to the southwest, which
had been laid out in 1728.

Lots Sold. — Penn's sons then appointed Conrad
Weiser, Francis Parvin and WiUiam Hartley as
commissioners, to sell the lots; and on June 15,
1749, they sold a large number of them. In 1751,
1752, 1753 and 1754, patents were issued for 241
lots, and if the conditions of sale were complied
with, there were in the town, by the year 1755, at
least two hundred dwellings and one thousand in-
habitants.

First Patentees. — The following statement
shows the years in which the builchngs were prob-
ably erected, and to whom and for which lots pat-
ents were issued. It is possible that buildings were
erected in, and even before, 1751, and the patents
taken up afterward.



For the year 17 51



Lot



29.



Patentee
Conrad Weiser (justice)
Daniel Steinmetz (mer-
chant of Philadelphia)
Isaac Levan (Exeter, yeo-
jnan)

For the
Conrad Weiser
Conrad Bower (shop and

inn-keeper)
Martin Gring
Michael Reis (Tulpehocken,

yeoman)
Moses Starr (Maiden-creek,
yeoman)



Lot Patentee

34. Conrad Weiser
106. Adam Witman (shop and

inn -keeper)
114. Isaac Levan
120, Conrad Weiser
year 1752

8. John Epler (Bern, yeo-
man)

y^ J Daniel Steinmetz

■ 1 Jacob Morgan (inn-keep-
er)

13. Jacob Morgan



154



HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



Lot

14.
15.

18.

19.
20.

21.

24.

25.

26.

27.

28.

30.
33.
35.
36.
39.

40.

41.

42.
44.

45.
46.
48.
49.

51.

54.
55.

61.
62.
64.



70.
71.
72.
74.
75.
76.

77.
79.
81.
82.

85.

87.
89.

90.
91.

92.
95.



Patentee

Peter Haws (inn-keeper)

Daniel Hiester (Montgom-
ery Co., tanner)

Francis Parvin (Maiden-
cr., tanner)

Conrad Weiser

John Lepoe (Tulp., yeo-

Peter Weidner (Cumru,

yeoman)
David Evans (Cumru, yeo-

MiS' Schmell (Heidel-

bere, yeoman) .
Benjamin Parvin (Ma.den-

WiUramVertordwain-

^-fe^cou«,oS-
William Parsons (Easto"
Tobias Waggoner (clerk)
George Albert (yeoman)
Georle Yoh (yeoman)
Isaac Weidner (Alsace, yeo-

Pete"^"vVeidner (Alsace,

PetJr^°Euth (Cumru, yeo-
man)
Simon Scherker
Conrad Kissmger (yeo-

ChrStoVer Gottschalk
Jacob Kissinger (yeoman)
Jacob Kern (Cumru, gent.)
Henry Wolf (Cumru, cord-

wainer) ,

George Daum (cordwain-

John" Schneider (yeoman)

Peter Schneider (Exeter,
blacksmith)

Conrad Bower

Reinhard Waldtz

Philip Weiser

William Erman (yeoman)

Benjamin Lightfoot (shop-
keeper)

William Parsons

William Parsons

Conrad Weiser

Abraham Brosius (tailor)

Jacob Bollinger

Michael Graul (Alsace, yeo-

"'='") . / *• ^

Wm. Hottenstem (potter)

John Weber.

Philip J. Moyer (baker)

Andrew Wolf (Cumru, yeo-
man)

Nich. Kennell (beer-brew-
er)

George Sheirer

Christopher Witman (cord-
wainer)

Christopher Witman

Michael Zuster (saddler)

(ieorge Douglass (saddler)

Fred'k Marsteller



Lot Patentee

96. Henry Melchior Muhlen-

berg (minister)

97. Henry Souter

98. Samuel Brackman

99. Peter Knorr

100. Benjamin Pearson (jomer)
105. Adam S. Kuhn (Lancaster,
esquire)

107. Eleanor Waggoner

108. George Hitner (Philadel-

phia, merchant)
111. Adam Gerhart (Alsace, yeo-
man)
113. Henry Reuthmyer (wheel-
wright)

115. Ernest Kurtz (Phila., to-

bacconist)

116. Peter Bingaman (Alsace,

yeoman)

117. Mary Bishop

118. Henry Boyle

119. Kraft Hiiner (baker)
122. Peter Trumbour (yeoman)
124. Jacob Bucher

130. Charles Fricker

131. Paul Derst (Exeter, inn-

keeper)

132. Andreas Shack

133. Peter Feder (inn-keeper)

135. John Early (Lane, joiner)

136. Henry Boyle

137. Baltzer Schwank (Alsace,

yeoman)

139. John Wilson (Lane, mil-

ler)

146. Peter Muma

147. Hsnry Hahn (blacksmith)

148. Henry Lick

140. Evan Popkins (cooper)

151. George Mich. Kreter

(slaughterer)

152. Ulrich Richard (Heidel-

berg, yeoman)

153. Paul Parlet (carpenter)

154. William Miller (carpenter)

155. Sebastian Grauser (carpen-

ter)

159. Henry Graul (Green tavn)

160. Philip Ziegler (Tulpehoc-

ken, yeoman)

161. Henry Goodhart

163. John Kissinger

164. Peter Rapp (butcher)

165. George (^rumlauf

166. Jacob _ Conrad (Virg.,

smith)

167. Peter Baum (turner)

168. Fred'k Goodhart (Alsace,

yeoman)

175. Peter Baum

180. John Kissinger

190. Henry Gerritt (Alsace,
yeoman)

196. John Nicholas Yost (Cum-
ru, inn-keeper)

199. George Chris. Spengler

2S.^, Franris Fipher

266. Abraham Brosius

268. Simon Scherker

271. Henry Graul

275. Joseph Wilkinson

278. Isaac Levan



Lot.



Patentee



Lot.



Patentee



281. Philip Jacob Moyer

282. Henry Feedei
288. Conrad Bowei

296. Christian Bentzer (Latic,
county)

298. Fred'k Weiser (Heidelberg,

yeoman)

299. Philip Jacob Moyer
328. Jacob Morgan

339. Jacob Leibrock (baker)
355. Michael Ludwig (Amity)
379. Conrad Bower
382. Conrad Bower



383. Nicholas Retschew
386. George Yoh (potter)

389. Abraham Smith

390. Conrad Bower

391. Philip Erpf (Lancaster

county)

400. Adam Reifell (Alsace, cor-

tas.)

401. Geo. Francis Winter

404. Francis Morgan (yeoman)

405. Jacob Erpf
443. Philip Reaser



For the year 1^53



Lot

9.
10.
23.

31.

47.
50.

53.
59.
60.
67.
68.
73.
78.
83.

84;



Patentee



Patentee



104.
109.
116.
121.
126.
134.
138.
143.
156.
171.
172.
174.
179.
188.
189.
195.
197.
198.
201.
203.
204.
208.
209.



George Douglass
Christopher Witman
Isaac Weidner (yeoman,

Alsace)
Jonas Seely (justice)
Jonas Seely
William Thomas (Chester

county)
Nicholas Werner
Christopher Camerer
Philip Erpf
Mark Starr
James Starr (brewer)
John Smith (shopkeeper)
George Douglass
Peter Weiser (Heidelberg)
Peter Weiser
Henry Sheirer
Frederick Weiser
Jost H. Sassamanhousen
James Biddle (lawyer)
James Biddle
Henry Sheirer
Simon Sherker
Isaac Levan
Abraham Levan
John Steel
Peter Weiser
Wendell Hains
George Saurbrey
Adam Schlegell (tailor)
Hans Martin Garich
George Hiitner
Michael Rosch
Lawrence Spats
Michael Fichthorn
William Cluse
Paul Durst
John Philip Klinger
Alexander Klinger
Martin Moll
Andrew Engel



Lot

217. Hans Geo. Back (baker)

221. Paul Durst

231. Andrew Steger

234. Everhard Martin (soap-

maker)

235. Martin Moll

260. Geo. Mich'l Kreter
267. Christopher Witman

272. Casper Zin

273. Jacob Zin

274. Fredericka Waggoner

280. Philip Jacob Erpf (mason)

284. Andrew Fuchs

291. Francis Morgan

294,295. Conrad Bower

297. William Marck

300. William Bird

310. Geo. Mich'l Kreter

312. Jacob Morgan

314. Michael Schrack

318. Conrad Stichter (weaver)

319. Valentine Stichter
329. Isaac Weidner
331. William Marck
333. Jacob Hetler

341. Joseph Brendlinger

349. Peter Klinger

350. Jacob Morgan

356, 357. Frederick Volant

381. Martin E. Kraft

384. Adam Reifell

387. Nicholas Sauter

392, 397. Adam Reifell

402. Court-house and Prison

409. Christopher Spengler

413. Henry Schneider

433. George Kappus (Mason)

438. George Kappus

490, 491. Francis Creek

493. Francis Wenrich

498. Elizabeth Godschalk



For the year 1754



Lot



Patentee



Lot



Patentee



88. Christian Bussy

123. Philip Breitenbach

173. Nicholas Keim

265. Christopher Godschalk

270. Frederick Fernsler

285. Maria Barbara BishofE

290. John Hartman (tailor)

293. Jacob Rappolt (tiler)



305. Jacob Morgan

308. Francis Morgan

388. Nicholas Seitzinger (inn-
keeper)

406, 407. Lutheran Church

421,424. Calvinist Church (Re-
formed)

509, 512. Peter Haws




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TOWN PLAN



READING



155



Ground-Rent.— When the lots were laid out leases of ground-rent were executed by the attor-

provision was made that each lot should be subject ney, and these were placed on record. In 1833, he

to a ground-rent of seven shillings, payable an- notified the public that he would not settle any

nually on the first day of May ; but notwithstanding further claims for ground-rent, and his agency hav-



this provision
the charge.



numerous lots were sold withoui j^g been discontinued, the matter was dropped.

County-Seat. — By a petition presented to the
Assembly at Philadelphia on Feb. 4, 1753, in behalf
of the erection of a new county (Berks), it ap-
pears that Reading then contained 130 dwelling-
houses, besides 41 stables and other out-houses;
and 160 families, which consisted of 378 persons.
It is believed that there were three small churches
in the town at that time, Lutheran, Reformed, and
Friends ; all erected in 1751.

Town District Established. — In 1760, the
town and part of the township adjoining (Alsace)
were erected into a district, called the "Township
and District of Reading." The boundary Hnes were
fixed by the court in 1761. They inclosed about
950 acres.

First Store. — The first business place was the

store of Conrad Weiser on Penn Square above Fifth

street. He purchased the lot (No. 3) in 1749, and

obtained a patent in 1751. Under the conditions

of sale, he doubtless erected a two-story stone

building on it in 1750 and started a general store.

He carried on business intercourse there with the

CONRAD WEISER STORE ^ Indians, and on this account the stand was given

By an Act of Assembly, passed Nov. 37, 1779, particular prominence. In 1769, Nicholas Keim

the estates of the Proprietaries in Pennsylvania ^^^^^^ ^-^^ owner. The Keims occupied it as a

became vested in the State and were placed at the ^gj^g^al hardware store for seventy vears. Then

disposal of the Legislature the qmt-rents were ^^^ Stichters began, and they have been there

abolished, and a donation of £130,000 was made ^.^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^

Public Buildings. — A Court-House was erected




and a donation of £130,000 was made
to their devisees and legatees.




in 1763 ; a market-house in 1766 ; and a county jail
in 1770 ; and in 1773, a fire company was organized,
called the "Rainbow," which has maintained a suc-
cessful existence until now.

Oldest Buildings. — Three old buildings, which
were erected in this period of Reading, are still
standing: two stories of the large hotel on the
northwest corner of Fifth and Washington streets,
erected by Michael Bright for a tavern in 1760;
two-story stone building on the northwest corner
i of Penn Square, below Fifth street,' erected in 1763
by Adam Witman for a tavern ("Federal Inn")
and occupied by the Farmers' Bank since 1814;
and two-story stone building on the northeast cor-
ner of Fifth and Washington streets, erected by
county commissioners in 1770, occupied as a county
jail until 1848, and since then for store purposes.
Educational Affairs. — Three churches were
estabUshed during this period: Friends, Lutheran
itTecamraTuVecrSragitlted'Ae lot-holders and Reformed. The Protestant Episcopal and
for a number of years. In that year, and again in Roman Catholic denominations had no churches,
1818 the local attorney of the Penns required the but held religious services in the homes of certain
delinnuents to pay the rents due, otherwise he would members. .Secular education was carried on in
cause their lots to be sold. In 1830, numerous re- schools which were connected with the churches.



FEDERAL INN

After the Revolution, this ground-rent on the lots
in Reading was disregarded until about 1815, when



U56



HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



and also in several private schools. The pupils
paid their teachers several cents a day. The
Friends' school at Washing-ton and Wood (Madi-
son) streets was conducted for English education,
the other schools were mostly for German education.
There were no newspapers published at Reading

rthen. The Pennsylvania Gazette and Sauer's Jour-

.nal had a limited circulation.

Nationality of Inhabitants. — The first inhab-
itants of Reading were mostly Germa.ns. There
were some English, and men of this nationality

■served in county offices through the influence and

■direction of the Penns until the Revolution; then
men of the German nationality came to fill them
and they have almost entirely continued to do so
until now. This change was brought about by the
determined action of the Germans in behalf of inde-
pendence and representative government, the. Eng-
lish having favored the British government, and
discouraged the Revolution, on which account they
were called "Tories."

French and Indian War. — The French and
Indian war affected Reading more or less from 1755
to 1760. The inhabitants were excited and fre-
quently alarmed for their safety during 1755, 1756

.and 1757. But the Indians in their incursions never

■reached Reading. They confined their stealthy, at-
tacks and barbarous cruelties to the settlements

■ along the Blue mountains.

The prominent men from Reading who were ac-
tively engaged in defensive operations were Conrad
Weiser, Edward Biddle and George Nagel. In
1756, a company of grenadiers was stationed here
for a time ; also a company commanded by Conrad
Weiser, consisting of two sergeants and twenty-
eight privates. A number of interesting letters
were sent from Reading during these years, de-
scribing thq, dangerous situation of affairs. No

-person from Reading was killed.

Revolution.— The first public action at Read-
ing in behalf of the Revolution was taken with
m-uch spirit on July 2, 1774, and from that time
until the declaration of peace, in 1783, the resi-

- dents displayed remarkable zeal for political inde-
pendence and representative government. On the
day named, a public meeting was held in the Court-
House and appropriate resolutions were adopted,

-expressing sympathy with Boston and urging such
measures as would settle with precision the rights
and liberties of America. Delegates were appointed
to attend the different conferences and earnest co-
operation was manifested at all times for carrying

■on the war successfully.

In April, 1775, the people of the town raised two
companies of infantry, and one of them, com-
manded by Cap. George Nagel, several months
afterward marched to Cambridge and participated

'in the campaign at that place. Numerous other



companies were raised in response to repeated calls
for troops. And great quantities of supplies were
forwarded to the government, amounting to sev-
eral hundred thousand dollars.

Reading was a prominent inland place for storing
supplies of all kinds during that period, having been
selected by the Board of War for its admirable sit-
uation; and prisoners of war were sent here in
large numbers. The locality where they were quar-
tered was called "Hessian Camp," after the Hes-
sians taken at Trenton in December, 1776. It was
situated to the east of the town, along the Hill road.
In 1777, when the British entered Philadelphia,
many residents of that city fled to Reading for
safety.

Reading furnished many men who became very
active in the service. Edward Biddle was one of
the representatives from Pennsylvania in the First
Continental Congress ; Bodo Otto and Jonathan
Potts were prominent surgeons ; Mark Bird, Henry
Haller, Nicholas Lotz, Joseph Hiester and Daniel
Brodhead were colonels; and George Nagel, John
Spohn, Peter Decker, Henry Christ, John Diehl,
John Rightmyer and Peter Scull were captains.
Edward Scull was secretary of the Board of War;
James Read was an Executive Councillor, and reg-
ister of the court of Admiralty; and Edward Burd
was prothonotary of the Supreme court.

BOROUGH, 1783 to 1847

Borough Erected. — The town of Reading was
incorporated into a borough on Sept. 12, 1783. It
contained over four hundred taxables, and about
twenty-one hundred inhabitants; and it was gen-
erally recognized then as the largest and most pro-
gressive inland town in the United States. Nine-
tenths of the inhabitants were German. The
principal officers were the chief burgess and asso-
ciate, four assistant burgesses, two justices of the
peace, high constable, treasurer, clerk, two super-
visors and two assessors.

Surrounding Towns. — The county of Berks
contained about twenty-five thousand population,
and the surrounding towns in the county were
Womelsdorf, fourteen miles west; Hamburg, sev-
enteen miles north; Kutztown, seventeen miles
northeast; Birdsboro, nine miles southeast; and
Morgantown, fifteen miles south.

Post-Office.— A post-office was established in
1793. A daily mail by stage was started in 1793,
which continued until 1838, when the railroad was
introduced, and increased faciUties for transporta-
tion were afforded.

Stage-Coach. — The stage-coach was introduced
at Reading in 1789, and ran from Reading to Phila-
delphia. Afterward, lines were extended in differ-
ent directions, and they were carried on until the
railroads were constructed. The business was very
brisk from 1826 to 1838.



READING



157.'



Bridges. — A ferry was carried on at the "Ford"
from 1783 to 1815, when a covered wooden bridge
was constructed by the county commissioners. An-
other covered wooden bridge was constructed by
the commissioners at Levan's Ferry, at the foot of
Bingaman street, in 1831. The first bridge across
the river near Reading was on the road to Sunbury
through Bern township, erected in 1810.

Turnpikes. — While the subject of bridges was
discussed by the people, another received their at-
tention. It was that of turnpikes. These were ex-
tended over prominent highways, one to the north
in 1805 called the "Centre," the second to the south-
east in 1810 called the "Perkiomen," and the third
to the west in 1817, called the "Berks and Dauphin."

Public Buildings. — The Court-House continued
in Penn Square until 1840 ; and the prison at Fifth
and Washington streets until 1848. The "State
House" for the county officers was erected on the
northeast corner of Fifth street and Penn Square
in 1791 and was used for this public purpose until
1840. A second market-house was erected in West
Penn Square in 1799. Both market-houses were
rebuilt in 1846. They had seventy stalls and 116
stands.

Canals. — Two canals, leading from Reading,
were constructed: The Schuylkill, extending along
the river north to Pottsville and southeast to Phila-
delphia, in 1823; and the Union, extending west



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