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 53 of 227)
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in 1892, known as the "First Pennsylvania Saen-
gerfest," because only societies from the State
■were allowed to participate. On Aug. 5, 1897,
the society celebrated its fiftieth anniversary, there
being present many delegates from German sing-
ing societies from the Eastern and Middle States,
besides delegations from all the German societies
at Reading.

Reading Musical Society. — The third society was
formed in 1855 by H. D. Torrey, an artist, and
named the Reading Musical Society. Annual con-
certs were given and the organization \yas main-
tained until 1860.

Mozart Musical Union. — The fourth society was
formed in 1862, and called the Mozart Musical
Union. Concerts were given annually here and
elsewhere until *1872.

Reading Chorall Society. — In 1875, Prof. Edward
A. Berg organized the fifth, by the name of Read-
ing Choral Society. It participated in thfe May
Musical Festival at New York City in 1882, which
was given under the leadership of Theodore Thom-
as. The grand chorus comprised 3,500 voices, and
in rendenng one of the pieces on the program,
the tenor part was sustained by the Reading Choral
members so effectually as to win the special com-
mendation of Thomas himself. The society was
represented on that occasion by 103 members. Num-
erous concerts were given by the society at great ,
expense, at which nearly all the renowned oratorios
were rendered. The members reorganized in Octo-
ber, 1897, and participated in the Eisteddfod at
Allentown, Pa., on Thanksgiving Day, where they
won four cash prizes.

Reading Church Choral Society was organized
from the Reading Choral Society shortly after E.
A. Berg's decease in 1897, and Edward H. Knerr
has been the director until the present time. It
numbers 100 miembers and gives three concerts each
year, which are largely patronized. Its rehearsal
meetings are given in the First Baptist Church.

Reading Liederkranz was organized in 1885. Its
first festival was held in Deppen's Hall in 1890 ; on

which occasion German societies were in attendance
from Reading, Pottsville, Allentown and Wilming-
ton. In 1891 its quarters were established in Li-
brary Hall. In 1894 the society participated in the
singing contest at Allentown and won the first prize,
scoring the highest number of points. The quar-
ters of the society were continued in Library Hall
until 1901, when it purchased a property at No. 834
Chestnut street and remodeled the building to suit
its purposes, where it has continued in very active
and successful existence until the present time.
It has given annual concerts here and elsewhere
which were largely patronized and heartily appre-
ciated. The membership in 1909 was forty-five
active members, and 250 passive.

The society attended the State Saengerfest at Al-
lentown in 1905, and at Wilkes-Barre _ in 1907,
winning at the latter place the second prize in the
first class.

During the "German Week" in 1908 at Pendora
Park, the society gave three concerts on alternate
days, assisted by the Germania Orchestra, and the
attendance at the secondconcert was estimated at
15,000, evidencing the great popularity of the so-
ciety and its superiority as a musical organization.
Prof. George D. Haage has filled the position of
director in a superior manner since February, 1903.
Previous prominent directors were John Dersch and
Jacob Schmidt. The officers for 1909 were : Presi-
dent, William Aisdorf; secretary, Henry Schorn;
treasurer, Levi Weitzenkorn.


The first brass band at Reading was organized
in 1814. From that time until 1852, several bands
flourished for a while, the Reading Military Band,
and afterward the Mechanics' Brass Band, having
been quite prominent.

RinggoM Band. — In 1852, eighteen men of Read-
ing, rtiostly mechanics but fond of instrumental
music, associated together and organized a band,
which they named the Ringgold Brass Band, after
the Ringgold Light Artillery, of which the men
were members. John A. Hook was the leader.
When the Civil war broke out, its services were
tendered to the government. It was connected with
the 25th Regiment, P. V., and served the term
of its enlistment, three months. Joseph Winter
became the musical director in 1868, and filled this
position for thirty years, and brought it to a high
state of efficiency. It accompanied the State Fen-
cibles of Philadelphia to the centennial celebration
of Bunker Hill; and by special request of the com-
missioners, it participated in the opening ceremon-
ies of the Centennial at Philadelphia in 1876. In
1878, it took part in the centennial celebration at
Valley Forge. In 1881, it was attached to the 1st
Brigade, N. G. P., with 35 members; and in that
year it was detailed to accompany a provisional
brigade as an escort to the Governor and members
of the Legislature at the centennial celebration at



Yorktown, Va. In 1888, it participated in the one
hundredth anniversary of constitutional govern-
ment at New York City; in 189G, in the centennial
celebration at Huntingdon, Pa. ; and in 1897, in the
centennial celebration at Waynesboro, Pa. Besides
these great occasions, it led political clubs in parades
at nearly all the inaugurations of the Presidents
of the United States, and of the Governors of Penn-
sylvania, since 1852. Its annual concerts are
superb and well patronized. It furnished the music
at the Princeton College reunions in 1903 and 1906.

Germania Band was organized in 1887 with Mon-
roe A. Althouse as leader and had a very success-
ful existence for fourteen years under his leader-
ship, when it was consolidated with the Ringgold.
Prof. Althouse has been the leader since then.

Other bands organized within the past ten years :

Cadet, 1898, 40 members; Arthur Yocum, leader
since 1907.

White Eagle (Polish), 1899.

Colonial, 1901, Archie Boyer, leader.

Philharmonic, 1903, Harry E. Fahrbach, leader.

Italian, 1905, Ignatius Sparagana, leader, 30


Prof. 0. H. Unger has been teaching and or-
ganizing bands since 1865. In 1876 he had on hand
thirty-two bands in Berks and surrounding coun-
ties. He directed the Liberty Band from 1877 to
1889; and the Philharmonic (formerly Athletic)
for seven years. He also organized a Symphony
Orchestra in 1904 with 15 members. It has been
gradually enlarged to 50 members, and its concerts
have been very popular.

Drum Corps. — The fife and drum corps was a
musical institution at Reading from the time of
the Revolution and its identity has been preserved
until the present. It constituted three pieces: fife,
small drum and large drum. When the Civil war
was carried on from 1861 to 1865, several fifes and
small drums were included in the corps, which made
the "martial music" more demonstrative and effec-
tive. Since then the pieces have been gradually in-
creased until they number twenty and more, in-
cluding cornets and slide-trombones.

The "Big-Six" Drum Corps are old soldiers who
were enlisted in the Civil war and they have main-
tained their musical organization until the present
time. The leader is William Klineyoung.

There are now three other corps at Reading:

Military, organized in 1898, embracing 20 pieces;
leader, Daniel Raudenbush.

Schuylkill, 21 pieces ; leader, Harry Rickenbach.

Liberty, 16 pieces ; leader, William Weidman.


Soup Society. — The first public association for
indigent persons of Reading was formed in 1823.
Owing to the construction of the Schuylkill canal,
much sickness and distress arose in numerous fam-
ilies at Reading, and also along the canal to the
county line beyond Birdsboro. The organization

was called a "soup society," and much relief was
afforded. After the prevailing epidemic subsided,
the society disbanded.

Benevolent Society. — In 1835, the Reading Be-
nevolent Society was established. The first annual
meeting was held on Jan. 1, 1836, and annual meet-
ings have been held regularly ever since. The reg-
ular meetings of the managers were held in private
houses until 1874; since then the building of the
Relief Society has been occupied.

Relief Society.— In 1866, the Reading Relief So-
ciety was organized for distributing soup to the
poor. It co-operates with the Benevolent Society.
In 1874, a fine building at Franklin and Plum streets
was erected for the society. It operates two build-
ings during the winter months, the other being on
Spring street at Moss.

Bureau of Employment. — The Bureau of Employ-
ment was formed in 1875 by a number of women
who were connected with the Benevolent Society,
for employing deserving and self-respecting women
at sewing and paying them fair prices for their
work, either in money or clothing. Quarters were
established in the Relief Society building. Dur-
ing the first winter, over two hundred women were
supplied with work.

This society has had a successful existence until
the present time. William M. Staufifer, a generous
and public-spirited man, has served as president
since its organization, and the society has had its
quarters in his building at Sixth and Franklin
streets since its erection in 1898. The society an-
nually secures employment at household work for
upward of five hundred women, which evidences
the extent of its usefulness to the community. Mrs.
James B. Brusstar has been its secretary since 1900 ;
and its superintendent, since 1907, Miss Sarah
Wentzel. The previous superintendent for seven
years was Mrs. Anna E. Weissfiog.

Reading Hospital. — A society was organized in
1868 to provide medical aid to the indigent sick and
wounded people of Reading, and in 1869 it was in-
corporated under the name of Reading Dispensary.
In 1883, this name was changed to the Reading
Hospital. Then the directors raised $25,000, and
the State appropriated $20,000 toward a building
which was erected in 1884 at Front and Spring
streets, which was opened in 1886. An addition
was made to it in 1890, called the Wootten Wing
(John E. Wootten) at a cost of $20,000, and a
Training School was erected on the lot for student
nurses in 1896, by the efforts of the Ladies' Aux-
iliary. Annual contributions have been received
from the State since its erection. The medical
staff is selected from the Reading Medical Associa-
tion and consists of six surgeons, six physicians
and a resident physician, who are elected annu-
ally. Total cost, $75,000. Annual reports have
been issued showing its guperb management. The
board of managers comprise some of the most in-
fluential men of Reading.

















A training school was established in 1890 for
professional nurses and since 1891 there have been
graduates annually, numbering altogether eighty-
three. The number of beds in the hospital is

Patients treated during 1908 numbered 886, the
largest since the opening of the hospital in 1869.
The next largest number was 769, in 1898.

The number of patients treated have been as
follows :

In-patients previously reported 11,038

During 1908 886


Out-patients previously reported 27,418

During 1908 1,405


Total treated 40,747

Officers of the Hospital :

President, Charles Kessler, 1867-72 ; Dr. Joseph Coblentz,

1872-81; W. E. C. Coxe, 1881-91; William D.

Smith, since 1891.
Treasurer, H. H. Muhlenberg, 1867-69; A. F. Boas, 1870-

72; Dr. W. M. Weidman, 1873-74; Dr. P. M.

Ziegler, 1875-88; P. R. Stetson, 1889-1905;

Frank S. Livingood, since 1905.
Secretary, Dr. P. M. Ziegler, 1867-72 ; Dr. J. B. Brooke,

1872-81; Dr. William F. Muhlenberg, 1882;

Dr. Israel Cleaver, since 1883.

St Joseph's Hospital— In 1873, the Vollmer
property at Twelfth and Walnut streets was pur-
chased for hospital purposes by Rev. George Borne-
mann, and a small brick dwelling thereon was
placed under the charge of the Sisters of St. Fran-
cis. In 1885, a superior large brick building was
erected costing $60,000, and in 1895, an addition
was made to it costing $85,000, all paid by contribu-
tions from the community, solicited by the Sisters.
A large, superior and attractive annex was built in
1904. The medical attendance is supplied from the
physicians at Reading.

The total number of patients treated has been
14,512 (in 1908 being 992, and in 1907, 975).

Sister Anastasia was the Mother Superior from
1885 to 1887 ; Sister Julianna, from 1887 to 1907 ;
and Sister Fulgentia, from 1907 to the present

A- training school for graduating nurses was
established in 1905 ; three nurses were graduated
in 1906, two in 1907, and three in 1908.

James Nolan has officiated as president of the
hoard of managers since 1908, and Frederick Steph-
an as secretary since 1901.

Homoeopathic Hospitdl. — In August, 1887, sev-
enteen womp.n started the Homoeopathic Hospital
and Dispensary Association, and for its maintenance
funds were obtained from parlor entertainments,
donations and membership duel The demands
for treatment increasing, a board of trustees was
organized two years afterward, and premises No.
126 Nofth Sixth street were purchased for $21,-
000. The building was completely furnished by
the Ladies' Auxiliary, and the hospital was formally

opened July 1, 1891. A fine, large and substan-
tial annex was built in 1905.

Total number of beds in the hospital is seventy-
five. There are four public wards; two private
wards; and thirteen private rooms; also a con-
tagious ward.

It is equipped with all the most recent medical
and surgical appliances. Cost of institution, $75,

The following statistics are presented to show
the extent of its services to the community:

In-patients, 1905 to 1908 1,241

Out-patients, 1905 to 1908 8,048

Prescriptions, etc., 1905 to 1908 16,548

Accident cases, 1900 to 1908 8,146

A training school for nurses was established at
the Hospital in 1895, and since then annually, ex-
cepting 1896, 1903 and 1907, nurses have been
graduated, numbering altogether twenty-six.
, Officers of the Hospital :

President, Isaac McHose, 1890-94; C. H. Ruhl, since 1894.
Treasurer, James L. Douglas, 1890-92; Jerome L. Boyer,

1892-1896; Charles E. Leippe, since 1896.
Secretary, C. H. Ruhl, 1890-94; W. W. Light, since 1894.

Dr. Lewis A. Shollenberger has been the super-
intendent of the hospital since 1897 ; and he has
been serving on the medical staff since 1887.

Widows' Home. — The Society of the Home for
Widows and Single Women was established in
1874, for the purpose of affording humane and
charitable relief, assis'tance and support to widows
and single women of Reading, and incorporated
Jan. 11, 1875. A building was rented for a time;
then a property on Eighth street near Chestnut
street in which a "Home" was established, and there
it continued until July 7, 1886, when it was re-
moved to the present place at Sixteenth and Haak
streets. The superior building then erected was
occupied until Feb. 5, 1905, when it was destroyed
by fire. It was immediately rebuilt at a cost of
$15,000. It has been managed in a most success-
ful manner, many people of the city contributing
annually toward its support, and the spirit con-
stantly displayed is truly admirable. The officials
from 1875, who have carried on this charitable
institution, are the following:

First Directress, Mrs. M. A. DeWolfe Howe, 1875-94;

Mrs. H. H. Muhlenberg, 1895-1901; Susan E.

Benson, 1902-09.
Treasurer, Susan E. Benson, 1875-1900; Mrs. Jerome L.

Boyer, 1901-07; Mrs. G. A. Schlechter, 1908-

Secretary, Rachel D. Griscom, 1875-89; Mrs. P. M. Ziegler,

■ 1890-1909.
Matron, Elizabeth R. Lea, 1877-78; Mrs. Elizabeth Knox,

1878-80; Mrs. Emma Silheimer, 1880-81;

Pamelia P. Draper, 1881-84; Mrs. Mary A.

Filbert, 1884-87; Miss Sarah R. Filbert, 1887

(June-Nov.) ; Emily T. Hamlin, 1887-98; Mrs.

Margaret Nevin, 1899-1903; Mrs. Belle Wor-
rell, 1904-09.

From 1875 to 1908, the society had secured forty-
three life members. The inmates who died in this
time were 56; and the inmates during the year
1908 were 36.



Home for Friendless Children. — The Home for
Friendless Children began as a day nursery in May,
1884, under the auspices of the Bureau of Employ-
ment at No. 236 Franklin street, and a widow as
matron, and five children were then placed there.
The Home becoming too small, a lot was purchased
on Centre avenue near Spring street, and a fine
double two-story building erected, which was ded-
icated on Thanksgiving Day, 1888. The number
of children averages from 35 to 40. The society
endeavors to secure private homes for these chil-
dren, and theire they are kept until eighteen years
of age. Two additions were built to it, the north
wing in 1903, "the gift of that staunch friend of
the Home, Mr. William D. Smith," and the south
wing in 1906, also the gift of Mr. Smith, who, at
the same time, presented a kindergarten outfit and
swings for outdoor amusement.

The incorporators in 1888 were Margaretta C.
Ermentrout, Elizabeth S. Richards, Emma A. End-
lich, Amelia D. Leaf and Hannah Cotterel.

The first named served as president from 1888
to 1894,. and the second from 1804 to 1898. Mrs.
Rev. B. Bausman has served this position since
1898. Miss Cotterel has served as treasurer since
1888; and Miss Endlich served as the secretary
from 1888 to 1908, when she was succeeded by Miss
Addie C. Owen.

The matrons of this most commendable insti-
tution have been: Mrs. Lucy Frankum, 1888-96;
Miss Kate Williams, 1896-98; Miss S. R. Hem-
perly, 1898-1904; Mrs. Flora C. Bricker, 1904-06;
Miss Margaret J. Durr, 1906-10.

St. Catharine's Female Orphans' Asylum was
founded by Mrs. Catharine Madary, who, in 1871,
devised her property at Franklin and Maple streets
to Archbishop Wood in trust for the rulers of
the Mother House of the Sisters of Charity at Em-
mittsburg, Md. Three sisters came from Emmitts-
burg, and took possession in April, 1872. In 1873,
a superior large brick edifice was erected, and in
1887, a large addition was built to it. The pres-
ent number of girls in the asylum is 90 ; total
number cared for is 410. Eight sisters are in
the institution.

House of Good Shepherd was established at
Fourth and Pine streets in 1889 by the Roman
Catholics at Reading, and a colony of sisters from
the Provincial House at Philadelphia came to
Reading to take charge of it. It continued there
until January, 1900, when it was removed to Glen-
side, where a superb institution was established on
eight acres of ground at a cost of $180,000. The
object is to reclaim fallen girls and women, and
teach them sewing and laundry work, so that when
they leave the place they can earn a living. They
are allowed to remain if they wish to do so, and
then they become Magdalens. There are 25
cloistered sisters, 3 outdoor sisters and 13 Mag-
dalens connected with the institution. Total num-
ber of girls cared for is 228 ; present number, 160.

.S'^ Paul's Orphan Asylum for Boys was estab-
lished at No. 137 North Ninth stree't in 1889 by

the St. Paul's Roman Catholic congregation, and
16 boys became its first inmates. Now it harbors
70 boys; total number cared for, 200. In 1897,
the institution was enlarged. It is supervised by
the rector of St. Paul's Church and supported by
voluntary contributions; 10 sisters are in charge.

Canstatter Volks-Fest Vcrein was organized in
1882, for celebrating annually the "Canstatter
Volks-Fest," and for fourteen years was very suc-
cessful, the celebrations attracting many people,
contributing much pleasure, and developing great
sociability. The members were almost entirely
Germans and at one time numbered 275. It was
discontinued in 1903.

5". P. C. A. — The Society for the Prevention of
Cruelty to Animals was organized in 1891. It has
been maintained successfully until now. Thereto-
fore cruelty to animals was a common occurrence in
Reading, but after a number of inhuman persons
had been prosecuted and fined for their cruelty
to horses and cattle (about one hundred, mostly
persons from the country districts,) a much im-
proved public sentiment followed. As a consequence,
cruelty to animals is seldom seen upon the streets
and complaints on that account are rare. This
was succeeded by the "Humane Society of Berks
County," incorporated in 1900 to protect children, as
well as animals, from cruel treatment; it has since
exerted much influence. Hon. H. Willis Bland
was president until 1903, and George J. Gross has
filled this office since then. The society established
comfortable quarters at No. 114 South Sixth street ;
its membership is 250.

Beulah Anchorage. — This noble institution was
founded at Reading in 1907 by Mrs. M. L. Lan-
dis. Its purpose is to rescue wayward and erring
girls and women, and help them to secure positions
of honorable self-support. The building is situated
on Fifth street below Bingaman, having been
secured at a cost of $6,000. Mrs. Kate L. Schultz
is the matron. It has upward of six hundred con-
tributing members and is generously assisted by
donations. Through its influence, many girls and
women have been reformed and found comfortable


Y. M. C. /4.— The Young- ]\Ien's Christian As-
sociation began at Reading m 1860, but it did not
continue long in existence. A second attempt was
made in_ 1869, and the organization then effected
has continued until the present time. From 1879
to 1895, it was situated in the Breneiser building
at Eighth and Penn streets. Its quarters were es-
tablished at No. 626 Penn street in 1895, at a total
cost of $75,000._ The exterior appearance is im-
posing and the interior compartments for reading,
lecturing, educational, athletic and entertainment
purposes are complete. F. S. Livingood, Esq., has
been president since 1886; James H. Edwards,
secretary since 1889. Special efforts were made to
increase membership in 1909, with great success.

W. C. T. C/.— In 1884, Frances E." Wlllard vis-
ited Reading in behalf of the Women's Christian





Temperance Union and through her influence a
society was formed which has been kept up since.
The members number 360. In 1904 a granite drink-
ing fountain was erected on the north side of Penn
Square in memory of Miss Willard.

The Boys' Brigade was originally started in Scot-
land in 1883. The first company in the United
States was organized in California in 1889, and
the first at Reading in 1895. The object of the
brigade is to advance Christianity amongst boys
through military organization. All religious de-
nominations are represented in it. Some years
ago, there were at Reading eighteen companies,
which constituted the 5th Regiment of Pennsyl-
vania, and the total membership was 800 boys
over eleven years of age. Each church supplied
the equipment for its respective companies. Re-
cently, however, the enthusiasm has subsided and
the regiment has dwindled to two companies con-
nected with the First Baptist Church, numbering
about 125 members.

P. & R. Y. M. C. A.— On March 15, 1896, ten
men met at the home of Samuel Monasmith' in
response to a call from Edward A. Homan to
discuss the question of engaging in religious work
among their fellow employees of the P. & R. Rail-
way Company, and of providing a place where
influences and surroundings would prove morally
and physically beneficial.

Through the kindness of George F. Baer, Esq.,
then president of the Reading Iron Company, the
building and grounds familiarly known as "Green-
Willow Park" (on Eighth street, just beyond
Green) were set aside for the use of the new or-
ganization, which became the P. & R. Railway
Department, Young Men's Christian Association.

The purpose of the Association was to provide
an attractive place for the intellectual, social, physi-
cal and spiritual welfare of the employees and it
has been productive of beneficent results to all
such individuals who have come under its influ-
ence. The Association is controlled by a Com-
mittee of Management, elected annually by the

Any male employee, or male member of his fam-
ily, in the service of the Reading Railway, Read-
ing Iron Company, or affiliated lines of service,
resident in or near, or running into Reading, not
less than sixteen years of age, may become a mem-
ber. On March 1, 1909, there were 524 memibers,
including men of all creeds.

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 53 of 227)