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 52 of 227)
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dent, Charles F. Brissel.

The Firemen's Union caused a fine granite mon-
ument to be erected on Penn Common, at the Penn
street entrance; it was dedicated Sept. 2, 1901. It
occupies a prominent position and represents a vol-
unteer fireman on a shaft.

The fire department in 1909 had the following
equipment, valued at $138,000:

Fire Engines 11

H. &L. Trucks 2

Chemical Engines 3

Chemical Comb'n

Wagons 11

Fire Extinguishers 26

Horses 62

Ambulances 2

Feet of Hose 20,000

Hose Wagons 4

Hose Cart 1

Patrol Wagon 1

Smoke Protectors 60

Life Saving Nets 7

Chief Engineers. — The following persons have
■officiated as chief engineers :

David A. Stout 1867-1868

John A. Buch 1860

John F. Weitzel ] 870

Henry A. Albright 3870-1871

Lewis L. Moj'er 1 873

Howard F. Boyer 1873-1885

George W. Miller 1885-1909


The secret society was started as a distinct or-
ganized body by the Free and Accepted Masons
at Reading in 1780, but it was not maintained. It

was started a second time in 1794 and has contin-
ued until the present time. The Independent Order
of Odd Fellows was started here in 1838. These
two were the only secret orders carried on at Read-
ing when it became a city in 1847. Since then num-
erous other societies have been organized and car-
ried on with each succeeding decade and each order
has come to include various bodies with a large
total membership. A brief description of all of
them cannot be attempted in this compilation.

F. and A. M.— In 1894, Lodge No. 62, Free and
Accepted Masons, celebrated the centennial of its
institution, and caused a souvenir history to be
published. The order has six lodges at Reading.
These lodges, two Royal Arch Chapters, and two
Knight Templar Commanderies, erected a superb
four-story granite front Masonic Temple on North
Fifth street beyond Washington, at a cost exceed-
ing $150,000. The first Knight Templar State •
Conclave at Reading convened in 1872, and the
second in 1895. On both occasions, the event was
signalized by a superb parade.

Shrine Reception. — The Nobles of the Mystic
Shrine, No. 50, at Reading, gave a public recep-
tion in Penn Square to a number of distinguished
Nobles on Wednesday, May 19, 1909, including
Rear Admiral Winfield Scott Schley (member of
Alma Temple of Washington, D. C,), Maj. Gen.
J. P. S. Gobin (member of Zembo Terhple of
Harrisburg, Pa.), and Rt. Rev. Ethelbert Talbot
(member of Irene Temple of Wilkes-Barre, Pa.),
whilst on a fraternal visitation. The pupils of the
public schools, of the several grades, numbering
about 9,000, participated in the parade. Their
behavior during the public reception was highly
creditable, and their singing of the "Star Spangled
Banner," "America," and "Onward, Christian
Soldiers," with the accompaniment of the Ring-
gold, Philharmonic and Allentown bands of music,
was truly inspiring, more especially during the re-
peated waving of small American flags by the thou-
sands of pupils in the center of the Square. A
larger public assemblage was never before witness-
ed in Reading. The weather was ideal and the
orderliness of the great throngs of people whilst
moving into and out of the Square was remarkable.

At Rajah Temple, in the evening, a regular
meeting of the Shrine was held at which a large
number of applicants for membership were ini-
tiated, and afterward the distinguished guests and
members were entertained at "a banquet, nearly
a thousand having participated.

/. O. 0. F. — The first lodge of the Independent
Order of Odd Fellows was instituted at Reading in
1838. An association was incorporated in 1845
for erecting a hall for use of the Odd Fellows and
all other benevolent societies of the place ; a lot was
purchased at Fifth and Franklin streets, and a four-
story brick building was erected thereon. At the
dedication on Oct. '26, 1847, dignitaries of the Su-
preme Lodge, and of the Grand Lodges, of the
order of this and other States were in attendance.



In 1868, this hall was purchased by the Reading
Library Company. In 1880, the Grand Lodge met
at Reading, and again in 1893. At the latter con-
-vention, John Wunch, a resident of Reading, was
elected Grand Master, and in that year he laid the
corner-stone of the I. O. O. F. Temple at Phila-
delphia. Since 1847, only one grand parade has
been given by the order at Reading, and this was
in 1882.

K. G. E. — The first castle of the Knights of the
Golden Eagle was instituted at Reading in 1885.
The Grand Castle convened at Reading in 1886,
and the Supreme Castle in 1897.

G. A. R. — The following bodies have been organ-
ized at Reading by men who were enlisted in the
Civil war, or by members of their families:

McLean Post, No. 16, ipstituted 1866; and Womans Re-
.lief Corps.

Keim Post, No. 76, instituted 1878.

Meade Camp, No. 16, Sons of Veterans, instituted 1881;
and Ladies' Aid Society, No. 6.

Union Veteran Legion Encampment, No. 43, instituted
1889 ; and Ladies' Auxiliary.

Ladies of the G. A. R., instituted 1883.

Ringgold Light Artillery, First Defenders, organized at
Reading in 1892 with the four other corripanies which were
the first to respond to the call of President Lincoln for
troops in 1861. They caused a granite monument to be
■erected on Penn Common which was dedicated on July
4, 1901.

Through the efforts of the members of the two
posts an imposing granite soldiers' monument was
■erected in Charles Evans Cemetery, and dedicated
with interesting ceremonies in 1887.

P- O. S. of A. — The Patriotic Order Sons of Amer-
ica was instituted at Reading in 1860, and has come
to be the strongest secret beneficial society here, com-
prising fourteen camps, with a total membership ex-
ceeding 3,835. In June, 1888, the National and
State Camps held their conventions at Reading, and
to signalize the extraordinary occasion, the Order
gave a monster parade, which, in respect to the
great number in line, and to the public decorations,
exceeded all demonstrations of every kind thereto-
fore given. In the latter part of August, 1897, the
National convention was held at Reading, and the
semi-centennial of the order was celebrated. The
first camp had been instituted at Philadelphia in 1847,
but it was obliged to suspend on account of the
members enlisting in the Civil war. Camp No. 61,
at Reading, maintailned its organization, notwith-
standing many of its members had enlisted also,
and kept the order in existence, for which reason
Reading was selected by the State Camp, and also
by the National Camp, as the proper place for the

To signalize the extraordinary occasion, a mon-
ster parade of the Order was given on Aug. 26th,
in which over nine thousand menibers participated.
The local camps of Reading and the country dis-
tricts manifested much enthusiasm and were un-
tiring in their combined efforts to make the dem-
onstration a grand success. The streets along the

route of the parade, more especially Penn street,
were profusely decorated.

/. 0. R- M. — This society was established at Read-
ing in 1854 by the name of Ancient Order of Red
Men, but this was changed to Improved Order in

Jr. 0. U. A. Af.— The Junior Order United
American Mechanics was instituted at Reading in
1867. For some years it was noted for presenting,
the national flag to the school authorities for dis-
play over the public school buildings.

Benevolent Protective Order of Elks was insti-
tuted at Reading March 10, 1889. It established
superior quarters at the northwest corner of Fifth
and Franklin streets in 1904, costing $30,000 ; and
in 1908 erected a large and costly addition. "Elks'
Hall" is a complete establishment in all its depart-
ments ; the total cost is $90,000.. The membership
in February, 1909, was 402; of which fifty were
not resident in Berks county. , It is the only society
of the kind' now in the county.

Fraternal Order of Eagles. — This beneficial so-
ciety was organized at Reading in 1900, as Aerie
No. 66, and since then has been very successful,
having in May, 1909, 1,075 members. In 1903,
the Order established a superior place in Lower
Alsace township, a short distance beyond the Min-
eral Spring Hotel, as a resort for the members,
costing $20,000. It comprises a substantial build-
ing and six acres of land. The Aerie also secured
a fine property on Penn street. No. 1040, for the
members, which has been much improved, at a
total cost of $30,000. The president of the Aerie
is William J. Moore, and the secretary William
H. Croessant.

Other Societies. — Other secret societies, worthy
of mention, with the time when first instituted at
Reading, are the following: Order United Ameri-
can Mechanics, 1847; German Order of Harugari,
1849 ; American Protestant Association,, 1857 ; In-
dependent Order of Good Templars, 1858 ; Brother-
hood of the Union, 1864 ; Knights of Pythias, 1867 ;
Knights of Friendship, 1871 ; Knights of Mystic
Chain, 1871; Royal Arcanum, 1880.


In the following table the various bodies of
these orders are enumerated, showing membership,
date of institution, assets, etc.:

Free and Accepted Masons


Lodge No. 62 .1794 318

Lodge No. 227, Chandler ' 1848 416

Lodge No. 367, Teutonia 1866 109

Lodge No. 435, St. John's 1869 239

Lodge No. 549, Reading 1876 266

Lodge No. 660, Isaac Hiester 1908 123

Reading Chapter, R. A 1827

Excelsior Chapter, R. A.

De Molav Commandery, No. 9, K. T 1854

Reading Commandery, No. 42, K. T. 1871

Nobles of Mystic Shrine, No. 50 1892


Lodge No. 73, Victor, 1890
Mt. Olive Chapter, R. A., No. 23, 1891
King David Commandery, K. T., No. 15, 1893



Patriotic Order Sons of America

Members Assets

Camp No. 61 188 $ 3,060

Camp No. 89 400 45,915

Camp No. 163 1,113 30,514

Camp No. 312 347 11,939

Camp No. 339 314 6,380

Camp No. 330 177 4,411

Camp No. 509 306 3,280

Camp No. 553 90 448

Camp No. 560 287 8,395

Camp No. 663 309 3,032

Camp No. 676 44 784

Camp No. 678 145 995

Camp No. 689 243 3,398

Camp No. 691 74 1,847

3,835 $113,398

Boroughs, 11 camps 2,115 81,454

Townships, 28 camps 3,419 148,152

Total 9,369 $343,004

Patriotic Order of Americans
Camps No. 17, No. 117, and No. 131.

Independent Order of Odd Fellows

Members Assets

Germania Lodge, No. 158 1846 30 $1,800

Emblematic Lodge, No. 169 1846 190 9,200

Vigilance Lodge, No. 194 1884 258 21,600

Oky Lodge, No. 218 1846 311 12,853

Progressive Lodge. No. 470 1889 264 12,840

Mt. Penn Lodge, No. 518 1874 250 9,200

Muhlenberg Lodge, No. 1085 1895 198 6,300

Reading Encampment, No. 43.... 1846

Mt. Penn Encampment, No. 152

Esther Lodge, No. 4, Daughters of Rebekah, 1886, 400

Improved Order of Red Men


Juniata Tribe, No. 74 1867 855

Opekasset Tribe, No. 122 1870 210

Ogalala Tribe, No. 186 345

Wyanet Tribe, No. 301 365

Manangy Tribe, No. 316 223

Unamis Tribe, No. 330 257

Neversink Tribe, No. 351 242

Metacomet Tribe, No. 416 335

Narragansett Council, No. 67, Degree of Pocahontas
Indianola Council, No. 70, Degree of Pocahontas
Opitsah Council, No. 117, Degree of Pocahontas

Knights of Friendship

Fidelia Chamber, No. 5, 1880
Charity Chamber, No. 23, 1886
Reading Chamber, No. 26, 1888.
Friendship Chamber. No. 28, 1889.
Lincoln Chamber, No. 36, 1892.
Prosperity Chamber, No. 48, 1899.

Knights of Golden


Reading Castle, No. 49 1885 323

Mt. Penn Castle, No. 51 1885 244

Sirius Castle, No. 63 1885 255

Fraternity Castle, No. 302 1889 172

Muhlenberg Castle, No. 372 1890 268

Victory Castle, No. 433 1893 96

Prosperity Castle, No. 481 1894 77

West Reading Castle, No. 487 1895 116

Columbian Temple (Ladies), No. 17
St. Bernard Temple (Ladies), No. 21
Lady Bayard Temple (Ladies), No. 78. . .1895
Mt. Penn Comimandery, No. 51, Company B.
St. Bernard Commandery, No. 0, Company C.

Knights of Pythias

Friendship Lodge, No. 5 1867

Mt. Penn Lodge, No. 65 1868

Endowment Rank, No. 9 1877

Cashmere Temple, No. 37

United American Mechanics

Reading Council, No. 46.
Seminole Council, No. 88.
Reading Council, No. 122 (Daughters of Liberty).

Independent Americans

Perseverance Council, No. 19.
Resolute Council, No. 27.
Thaddeus Council, No. 252.
Neversink Council, No. 371.
Randall Council, No. 448.
Laing Council, No. 995.

United Americans

Leona Evelyn Smith Temple, Vo. 78.
Old Glory Temple, No. 80.
Riverside Temple, Na 81.

Protestant Societies

Charity Lodge, No. 34.
Lady Ruth, No. 36.
Aaron Lodge, No. 95.
Neversink Lodge, No. 104.
Aaron Juvenile Lodge, No. 13.

Brotherhood of the Union

Freedom Circle, No. 7, 1864.

Lady Jefferson Home Communion, No. 5, 1867.

Foresters of America

Court Progress, No. 115 1895 265

Court Wyomissing, No. 130 1897 192

Court Conrad Weiser, No. 199 1899 193

Court Victory, No. 123

German Order of HARUG.^RI


Goethe Lodge, No. 60, D. O. H 1857 12

Improved Order of Heptasophs

Reading Conclave, No. 67.
Berks Conclave, No. 133.

^Modern Woodmen of America

Neversink Camp, No. 7634.
Reading Camp, No. 9289.

Roman Catholic Societies

Ancient Order of Hibernians, No. 1 and No. 2.

Bonifacius Brotherhood, 1866.

Holy Cross, 1868.

Emerald B. A. of St. Peter's Church, 1869.

American Catholic Union, Reading Assembly, No. 28.

Reading Knights of St. John.

Knights of St. Casimir, 1898.

Knights of St. John.

Knights of Columbus.

St. Peter's T. A. B. Society, 1883.

St. Stanislaus Beneficial Society.

Royal Arcanum


Mt. Penn Council, No. 495 1880 440

Reading Council, No. 1104 1889 136

Wyomissing Council, No. 1584 1894 .".or



Club Houses. — Five club houses have been estab-
lished at Reading: Wyomissing, 1890; Ivy Leaf,
1891; Independent Gun Club, 1891; Combine, 1891;
Nursery, 1893; Elks, 1908; and. Eagles, 1909.


Banks. — The first bank at Reading was estab-
lished in 1808. It was a branch of the Pennsylvania-
Bank and continued until 1857, when it sus-
pended. Its place of business was in the building
now occupied by the National Union Bank.

The next was the Farmers, organized in 1814,
which has been continued in the same building
where it started. The Eckert family was promin-
ently identified with it from 1836 to 1908.

The following list embraces the banks and trust
companies at Reading, showing the time of organ-
ization, capital stock, resources, deposits, etc., in
November, 1908. The banks are all national banks,
excepting the last two, which are State banks :

and it has been kept up over sixty years. But it
has not been so successful for the past ten years.
Previous to 1876, the associations received moneys
only and made them profitable on mortgage securi-
ties; then they begai) not only to erect dwellings,
but also market-houses and business places. In
1897, there were 53 associations at Reading, but
in 1905, only 8, and in 1908, 2. .

Insurance Companies. — The first fire insurance
company in Berks county was organized in 1844;
and the first at Reading was in 1867. The Read-
ing Fire Insurance and Trust Company was incor-
porated in 1868; the Trust company was incorpor-
ated as a separate institution in 1886. The Insur-
ance company carried policies on properties through-
out the United States east of the Rocky Mountains,
with risks exceeding forty million dollars. _ It was
discontinued in 1903, having transferred its risks
to the Hartford Fire Insurance Company.

The Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Reading
was organized in 1870, and since then it has not

Trust Companies at Reading



Pennsylvania Trust Company

Reading Trust Company

Berks County Trust Company

Colonial Trust Company

Commercial Trust Company

* $128,000 paid in.

Banks at Reading














$ 527,224








' 151,505



















Farmers '.



. 50,000












First National . .


Second Nat'l . . .



Schuylkill Val..




7.651,991 3,260,753

Channing Bingham was the bank examiner of
the national banks of the city and county for up-
ward of ten years, until November, 1908, when,
owing to illness, he was succeeded by Lloyd M.
Tillman, who for thirteen years had been connect-
ed with the Treasury Department at Washington,
D. C. '

B. & S. A. — The building and sayings associa-
tion as an institution for the acquisition of prop-
erty or accumulation of money out of savings by
working people was organized at Reading in 1848,


levied a single assessment. Its insurance extends
throughout Pennsylvania, and amounts to $3,900,-
000; the policies number 3,000.


Board of Tra,de. — The first Board of Trade at
Reading was formed in 1807, for the purpose of
considering the possible navigation of the Schuyl-
kill, a number of prominent men having at that time
founded -an association under the name of The So-
ciety for Promoting and Cleaning the River
Schuylkill. The same men were interested in other
local improvements, such as turnpikes, canals,
bridges, and railroads ; and they accompHshed great
good in the development of Reading.
' A second board was, started in 1870, but it had
a short existence. The third, which is the present
board, was organized in 1881, and it has kept up
a successful existence until now. It was incorpor-
ated in 1889. The membership in March, 1909,
was 350.

Unions. — All classes of working-people have
formed unions for maintenance in sickness and co-
operation in reference to employment, wages, etc.,
and they have had an active existence at Reading



for many years. Over thirty societies have been


Libraries. — The Reading Library was organized
in 1808. It contained 1,000 volumes in 1842, and
1,500 vohimes in 1850. A reorganization was
effected in 1868, when it purchased the Odd Fel-
lows' Hall. It was made free Jan. 1, 1898, through
the liberality of twenty-three men who each con-
tributed $500 toward extinguishing the debt on the
hall. The present number of volumes is over
37,000. Dr. A. R. Durham was a most efficient
librarian from 1898 until his decease in March,
1907, when he was succeeded by E. A. Howell as
the librarian.

Reading German Library was organized in 1808,
and began with 685 volumes. Subsequent addi-
tions were made until it had 1,500. The society
disbanded in 1847, and the books were distributed
amongst its members.

Berks County Law Library v^ras organized in 1843
and kept up by appropriating certain fines allowed
by law. The books are on the third floor of the
Court-House. The collection of reports, text and
miscellaneous books numbers 6,500.

Harmonie Maennerchor Library was started when
the Reading Maennerchor was organized in 1847.
The nucleus was the collection of books of the
German Library, which disbanded about that time.
An addition of 1,200 volumes was made in 1877 by
the disbanding of the Schiller Verein.

Historical. — ^A historical society was formed in
1840, but no record of its transactions was pre-
served. In 1869, a second society was incorporated
under the name of Historical Society of Berks
County, but only several meetings were held. In
February, 1898, a reorganization was effected with
A. G. Green, Esq., as president, and George M.
Jones, Esq., as secretary, and quarters were secured
in the Court-House, third floor, for its meetings
and for storing its papers. In 1904, a building was
purchased at No. 519 Court street and a collection
of historical publications was then begun. Mr.
Green continued as president until his decease in
1903. He was succeeded by Louis Richards, Esq.,
who has served since. The library contains about
1,500 volumes, and the collection now includes
many curios.


Daughters who were descendants of soldiers en-
listed in the Revolutionary war organized a society
at Reading in 1893, which they called the Berks
County Chapter of the Daughters of the American
Revolution. A national society was organized at
Washington in 1890 ; and in 1897 a State Associa-

The niembers of the local society in 1909 num-
bered ninety-seven. The principal officers then were
as follows :

Mrs. de B. Randolph Keim, Regent.
Mrs. John C. Illig, Secretary.
Mrs. John B. Dampman, Historian.
Miss Addie Owen, Registrai.

A children's branch of the D. A. R., called the
Conrad Weiser Branch, was organized in 1895, and
in 1909 it had forty members.

In October, 1905, the Eighth Annual Pennsyl-
vania State Conference of the D. A. R. met at
Reading and was largely attended.


Medical. — ^A medical society was organized at
Reading in 1824. It was the second society of
this nature formed in Pennsylvania, the first hav-
ing been at Philadelphia. Dr. Isaac Hiester was
the first president and he continued to fill this po-
sition for twenty-five years. In 1849, the second
annual convention of the State Medical Society
was held at Reading, and in 1891 another was held
here. In 1866, the name was changed to Berks
County Medical Society, which it has held until
now. The transactions began to be published in

The Reading Medical Association was organized
by physicians of Reading in 18.50. It was chiefly
instrumental in establishing the Reading Dispen-
sary, and the Reading Hospital. For some years,
the meetings of both societies have been held in
the Raser D:rug Store at Sixth and Walnut streets.

A Homoeopathic Practitioners Association was
organized and it was instrumental in estabhshing
the Homoeopathic Hospital in 1887. It was re-
organized in 1896, and in 1908 the name was
changed to Berks County Homoeopathic Medical

Legal. — Men learned in the law have been ad-
mitted to practice in the several courts of Berks
county since 1752, but no society was organized
until 1867; then the Legal Association of Berks
County was established. Nearly all of the members
of the Bar have resided and continue to reside at
Reading, some of them having their residences and
offices in the more prominent boroughs.


Beethoven Society. — The first singing society at
Reading was organized about 1832. It as called
the Beethoven Society. The first concert was given
in the "State-House" which was a great success.
Concerts were given by the society for a number
of years afterward.

Harmonie Maennerchor. — The second society
was the Reading Maennerchor, organized in 1847.
This has maintained an active existence ever since,
and is now one of the oldest singing societies in
the United States. The first National Saengerfest
was held at Philadelphia in 1850, and William Ros-
enthal (then living at Philadelphia, but at Reading
since 1860) was the presiding officer. There were



only four societies in attendance, the Reading Maen-
nerchor being one of them. The first Saengerfest
at Reading was given under the auspices of the
society in 1868. It was attended by seventeen
German singing societies. In 1874, the Harmonic
Maennerohor (which was organized in 1866) con-
solidated with the Reading Maennerchor, and the
former name was adopted. In 1878, the society
secured quarters in the large structure on Sixth
street near Walnut, on which account the building
was named Maennerchor Hall, and there the so-
ciety has remained until now. In 1884, the second
Saengerfest was given at Reading and it was at-
tended by several thousand Germans from differ-
ent parts of the country. The National Saenger-
fests at Newark in 1891. at New York in 1894,
and at Philadelphia in 1897, were attended by the.
society and the members acquitted themselves most
creditably. The third Saengerfest at Reading was

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 52 of 227)