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 59 of 227)
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cal music in a superior manner. The instructors
and leaders have been James Sander, Henry Druck-
enmiller, Theophilus Wagonhorst and Preston

B.-VTTALiONS. — Kutztown was a prominent center
for seventy years after the Revolution in the mat-
ter of assembling of the local militia companies
for the purpose of keeping up familiarity with
military exercise, and the dav was commonly
known as "Battalion Day." Multitudes of people
went from the surrounding districts for ten miles
to witness the exhibition and the day came to be
recognized as a holiday for amusement and .hilar-
ity. The following announcement made in 1831 will
give a correct idea of its character at that time,
over seventy-five years ago :

"The yearly fair will be held August 12th and 13th,
1831. Persons fond of military parade will see Capt.
Grim's company of Horse, and Capt. Bieher's company of
Infantry, and the Kutztown Band of Music parade on
these days. Shows and pastimes of all kinds will be ex-
hibited. Hucksters will be well provided with beer, mead,
sweet-meats, and all the fruits in season. The youth are
informed that there will be an abundance of good music,
and plenty of pretty girls to dance to it."

For sorne years after the Revolution, these an-
nual meetings in May and September were rec-
ognized as of a serious nature in order to main-
tain a preparation for war in time of peace, but
then they gradually drifted away from its bene-

ficent purpose. By 1840, more especially by 1850,
they had come to be particular occasions for rev-
elry and dissipation; and this peculiar character
was observable all over the county. They were
discontinued before the Civil war.

Cultivation of Ginseng. — The cultivation of
ginseng at Kutztown was begun by Henry K>
Deisher in 1904 and he has been very successful.
The beds cover several acres of ground situated
at the rear of the premises, where he resides on
Noble street, and they contain upward of fifty thou-
sand roots. He is also cultivating beds several
miles from Kutztown which contain upward of
fifteen thousand roots.

Newspapers. — The Kutztown Journal, a Ger-
man newspaper, was begun in 1870 by Isaac F.
Christ and published by him until 1875, when
Conrad Gehring and A. B. Urich became the pur-
chasers. In 1877, Mr. Gehring bought the interest
of Mr. Urich and continued publishing the paper
until 1887, when he sold the plant, including a book
and wall-paper store, to Jacob B. Esser, who had
learned the printing business there ; and Mr. Esser
has continued its successful publication until now.

The American Patriot, an English-German news-
paper, was also started by J\Ir. Christ in 1874. He
sold it to Gehring and Urich in 1875, and Urich
sold his interest to Gehring in 1877. In 1887 Geh-
ring sold it to Esser, who has published it since. In
1888 the use of the German department in the news-
paper was discontinued. It has been issued con-
tinuously from the Journal office. In 1905, Mr.
Esser introduced the linotype machine, with mat-
rices for English and German composition; and he
enlarged the Patriot to eight pages. Both newspap-
ers have a large circulation, but that of the Patriot
has been the larger of the two since 1895.

The National Educator was published at Kutz-
town as an English educational journal by Rev.
Dr. A. R. Home from 1872 to 1877, when it was
transferred to Allentown. He had removed to
that place in 1877. The newspaper was printed
in the Journal office.

The Normal Vidcttc was first issued in INIarch,
1894; and has been published quarterly in Octo-
ber, January, April and July. It is mailed to the
majority of the graduates and former students
of the Keystone State Normal School, to school
teachers, to school superintendents, and to school
directors ; and sent as an exchange to a great many
colleges, normal schools, academies, and high
schools of Pennsylvania as well as to other States.

Its staff consists of Prof. Harry T. Stein, man-
ager; Prof. James S. Grim, editor; Prof. George
C. Bordner, alumni editor ; Caroline V. Hov, editor
of school news; and Prof. PI. W. Sharadin, art-
ist. Professor Stein has been connected with it
almost from its very inception. It has proved a
strong medium in bringing alumni in closer touch
with their alma mater. It has been printed and
issued by the publisher of the Journal.





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_ Secret Societies. — The following- Secret So-
cieties have been instituted and carried on at Kutz-

F. & A. M., Huguenot Lodge, No. ^77, 1866 ; 141

K. G. E., Adonai Castle, No. 77, 1886 ; 350 mem-

Jr. O. U. A. M., Charles A. Gerasch Council,
No. 1004, 1895; 325 members.

Ladies Golden Eagle, Purity Temple, 1900; 80

Royal Arcanum, Maxatawny Council, 1900.

Fraternal Order of Eagles, Kutstown Aerie,
1903 ; 200 members.

Churches. — In 1790, a union church was erect-
ed of frame material by members of the Luther-
an and Reformed denominations of the vicinity,
and this was maintained until 1891, when a su-
perior stone church was substituted. But mem-
bers of these respective denominations have since
erected beautiful denominational churches, known
as the Trinity Lutheran (1892), and the St. Paul's
Reformed (1885). In the old church, a Sunday-
school was organized in 1826, and this has been
carried on successfully until now.

The Evangelical Association erected a church in
1850, and organized a Sunday-school in 1851; and
the members have maintained both until now.
They erected a fine new building in 1885.

Cemeteries. — Besides the burying-ground con-
nected with the old Union Church, Hope cemetery
was established near by in 1871 ; and the Fair-
view cemetery along the road to Reading, a short
•distance west of the Normal School, in 1861. The
latter was enlarged in 1905 by the purchase of
twelve acres as an annex, situated on the west side
of the public road. There are a number of costly
monuments in these cemeteries.

Schools. — The subject of education received,
the earnest attention of the inhabitants from the
beginning of the town. While a union church
was being erected by the Lutheran and Reformed
denominations, rules were framed for the govern-
ment of a school, and it was carried on under the
supervision of the church council until the intro-
duction of the common school 'system in 1838.

In 1892 the borough erected a large and superior,
■school building with eight rooms at a cost of $25,-
000. It embraces five schools. The total annual
■expenditures are $5,000.

Keystone State Normal School. — This institu-
tion, though not situated within the corporate lim-
its of Kutztown, is nevertheless so thoroughly iden-
tified with the borough as to justify a description'
of it in connection with the historical narrative of
the borough. Proceedings are now pending in
court relating to the annexation to the borough of
adjoining property, which includes the Normal
School. The article which follows was prepared
Ijy the Rev. W. W. Deatrick, A. M., Sc. D.

The buildings of the Keystone State Normal School are
admirably located on elevated ground along the "Easton
Road" in the southwestern part of Kutztown, midway
between Reading and Allentown. " The landed property
of the institution, now embracing some fifty acres, ex-
tends on both sides of this noted highway for quite a dis-

This normal school is the direct outgrowth of two ear-
lier schools, Fairview Seminary and its predecessor, the
old Franklin Academy. This earliest school was housed
first in the old stone parochial school-house and later in
the small wooden building still standing at the intersec-
tion of Walnut and Whiteoak streets, in the heart of the
town. It was founded in 1836; and in 1838, in order to
secure an annual appropriation of $400 which the State
then offered to an academy having on its roll twenty-
five students, it was incorporated. The first trustees were
Daniel B. Kutz, Daniel Bieber, Col. John Wanner, David
Kutz, Dr. C. L. Schlemm, David Deisher and Henry Heflf-
ner. The number of pupils was limited to thirty-three
and no one was received for a shorter period than six
months, for which time the tuition charges were $10.00.
The school had quite an extensive library for the time.
Hon. Alexander Ramsey (in later years a prominent states-
man of Minnesota) was at one time a teacher in this
academy. After rendering excellent service to the com-
munity Franklin Academy closed its doors.

In 1860, another attempt was made to provide oppor-
tunities for advanced instruction. In that year, mainly
through the efforts of the Rev. J. Sassaman Herman,
a clergyman of the Reformed Church, Fairview Seminary
was established. This school was opened, and for sev-
eral years was conducted in the building now known as
"Fairview Mansion," the present residence of Col. Thom-
as D. Fister, at the extreme western end of the town.
Prof. H. R. Nicks, A. M., was the first teacher. He
opened the school with five pupils : Erastus Bast, O. C.
Herman, Jefferson C. Hoch, Nathan C. Schaeffer (later
for sixteen years principal of the Keystone State Nor-
mal School and, since 1893, superintendent of public in-
struction of the State of Pennsylvania), and Miss Clara
Wanner. The school prospered under Professor Nicks.
By April, 1861, he had forty-one pupils on the roll, and
in the spring of 1863 there were eighty-five, of whom
a large number were boarding students. This number
taxed the capacity of the building, and, in 1863, through
the influence of Professor Nicks, five acres of land
were purchased, where part of the Normal buildings
now stand, and on that tract was begun the erection
of a larger brick building. This structure cost $6,500,
and later became the old northeastern wing of the Key-
stone State Normal School, making way in time for
the present Boys' Dormitories. In the fall of 1864, Fair-
view Seminary was moved into this building and there
conducted under the new name of Maxatawny Seminary.
Professor Nicks continued as principal, associating with
himself, in 1865, as assistant, the Rev. Samuel Transeau,
who remained with the school till 1867, and in 1873 re-
moved to Williamsport, where for a number of years
he served as city superintendent of public schools.

As early as 1857 the location of the State Normal school
for the Third district, composed of the counties of Berks,
Lehigh and Schuylkill, was discussed. In that year, in
an address delivered at Reading, the Hon. H. H. Schwartz,
then superintendent pf schools of Lehigh, advocated the
claims of Kutztown as the site for the proposed institution.
In 1862, the Rev. B. E. Kramlich suggested that Professor
Nicks's "Fairview Seminary" be converted into a State Nor-
mal. The Rev. John S. Ermentrout, superintendent of the
Berks county public schools, favored Hamburg, as a better
locality. Professor Nicks, however, was the individual who
worked hardest and did most, accomplishing what others
merely talked about. In 1863 he entered into corres-
pondence with the Hon. Thomas H. Burroughs, State sup-
erintendent, in order to ascertain what steps were to be
taken to secure recognition of his school as a State Normal



school. In the spring of 1865 a number of public school
teachers were gathered into Maxatawny Seminary, where
they were given formal pedagogical instruction by County
Superintendent Ermentrout. When the success of Maxa-
tawny Seminary had been assured, Professor Nicks pro-
ceeded to interest the community in the greater project.
As the direct result of his advocacy of the measure and
of his persistent energy, an organization was effected in
the summer of 1S65 and funds were speedily subscribed
for the erection of two additional buildings, a central
building and a wing on the north-west similar to the Max-
atawny Seminary building, which, after the erection of the
two new edifices, formed the northeast wing of the com-
pleted structure, the whole then presenting a frontage of
240 feet, "with boarding accommodations for 300 and school
accommodations for 400 students." The corner-stone of
this structure was laid Sept. 17, 1865, by Superintendent
Ermentrout. In the corner-stone "were deposited, among
other things, the Bible and the Apostles' Creed.'' .Addresses
on this occasion were delivered by Hon. J. Lawrence Getz,
William Rosenthal, Esq., Daniel Ermentrout, Esq., Llewel-
lyn Wanner, Esq., and Prof. Albert N. Raub. The building,
erected by Messrs. Garst and Mast, of the city of Read-
ing, was completed within a year at a cost of about

The people of the community, notably the Hottensteins,
the Biebers, Dr. Charles A. Gerasch, Solomon Christ, and
David Schaeffer, by liberal contributions, made the under-
taking a success. For the Normal there was subscribed
$18, .300; which with the $6,500 given for the seminary
previously, made a total of $24,800.

The first board of trustees was composed of the fol-
lowing gentlemen : Henry Bushong, Egidius Butz, Daniel
Deatrich, Rev. J. S. Ermentrout, David Fister, John
H. Fogel, Jonas Hoch, Edward Hottenstein, M. D.,
J. Clancy Jones, Rev. B. E. Kramlich, Diller Luther, M.
D., Jonas Miller, Ullrich Miller, Rev. H. R. Nicks, H.
H. Schwartz, Esq., David Schaeffer, Adam Stein, Lesher
Trexler, M. D., and J. D. Wanner, Esq. Lewis K.
Hottenstein was president of the board of trustees, David
H. Hottenstein its secretary; Lesher Trexler, M. D., was
president of the board of stockholders and Jonas Hoch
secretary. Charles Gerasch, M. D., was treasurer of the
new school.

At a meeting of the board of trustees, held Aug. 4, 1866.
formal application was made to the Hon. Charles R. Co-
burn, State superintendent of common schools, for the
recognition of the school as the State Normal School for
the Third District. On Thursday, Sept. 13, 1866, W.
Worthington^ George Landon, S. Elliott, Thaddeus Banks,
J. S. Ermentrout (superintendent of Berks county),
Jesse Newlin (superintendent of Schuylkill), and E. J.
Young (superintendent of Lehigh), inspectors appointed
by the State superintendent, inspected the school and rec-
ommended its recognition, and on Sept. 15th, two days
later. Superintendent Coburn issued a proclamation recog-
nizing the school by the name of the Keystone State
Normal School, the corporate name borne by it to the
present time.

The officers of instruction, as given by the first catalog,
were: Rev. J. S. Ermentrout, A. M., Principal, and Pro-
fessor of Mental and Moral Science, and of Theory and
Practice of Teaching; Rev. H. R. Nicks, A. M., Associate
Principal, and Professor of Mathematics and Physics;
Albert N. Raub, A. M., Professor of English Language
and Literature, and of Vocal Music; Rev. Samuel Tran-
seau, A. M., Professor of Ancient Languages and His-
tory; Edward T. Burgan, M. E., Superintendent of the
Model School and Professor of Penmanship and Book-
keeping; Rev. G. F. Spieker, Professor of German Lan-
guage and Literature; Lesher Trexler, M. D., Lecturer
on Anatomy. Physiology, and Hygiene; Miss Julia E.
Bullard, M. L., Teacher of Instrumental Music, French,
Painting and Drawing; Miss Mary Morrison, Teacher of

Reading and Geography; ^ (not filled), Teacher of

Elocution; Peter S. Umbenhauer. Pupil Assistant. The

first catalog, 1866-1867, contains the names of 318 pupils:
263 of them male, 55 female.

Rev. John S. Ermentrout served as principal until 1871
when he was succeeded by Rev. A. R. Home, A. M.
After an absence of three years. Professor Ermentrout
returned in 1874 and served as Professor of Mental Science
and English Literature (or "Belles Lettres," as it was
called at first) until 1881. In 1877 Dr. A. R, Home was
succeeded in the principalship by the Rev. Nathan C.
Schaeffer, A. M., who, after winning unusual distinction
and receiving honorary degrees from eminent institutions
of learning, severed his connection with the school in 1893
to become State superintendent of public instruction of
Pennsylvania. Rev. George B. Hancher, Ph. D., became
principal in 1893 and served till 1899 ; since that time to
the present, the Rev. A. C. Rothermel, Pd. D., has been
the efficient head of the institution.

The growth of the school has been steady and substan-
tial. For more than twenty years past, building opera-
tions have been almost continuous. The earlier struc-
tures were soon outgrown and larger edifices, one by one.
have taken their place until now, with the exception of
a single three-storied brick building, known as "The
Steward's Building," overshadowed by massive piles
around it, not one of the first erections remains. In 1880
the "Ladies' Building" or Girls' Dormitory was put up ;
in 1887 the "Chapel Building" was erected ; in 1891 the
extensive northeast wing or "Boys' Dormitory" followed ;
in 1893 the old "Main Building" was demolished to give
place for the great six-story "Center Building," costing
$75,000; in 1896, the necessities of the school produced a
fine kitchen and laundry with a superb equipment: in
1898 a powerful electric light plant made coal-oil illumina-
tion an incident of history; in 1900 the foundations were
laid for a new "Model School Building" with an annex
containing physical, chemical and biological laboratories,
and an ample auditorium (the two costing $100,000); in
1908 a splendidly equipped gymnasium, ornately designed,
and erected at a cost of $50,000, was opened for use :
while the early months of 1909 witness the completion
of a fine two-story brick hospital or infirmary, for the
isolation and treatment of pupils who may fall ill while
at school (a provision for which it is hoped there may
be little need).

Besides this, there is a great boiler house, which has
been enlarged from time to time in order to furnish
steam heat to recitation rooms and dormitories and power
to run the machinery of the hydraulic passenger elevator,
the apparatus of the laundry, the electric dynamos, and
the pumping engine at the artesian well and water tower.

The buildings are in some respects unique as being,
with the exception of boiler house, electric plant, gymnas-
ium, infirmary, and steward's house, practically under one
roof, being connected by covered bridges, supported on
beams of steel. The dormitories and recitation halls are
large and abundantly lighted.

The equipment of the school in the way of scientific
apparatus is select and complete, and each vear large ex-
penditures are made for the physical, chemical, biological,
and psychological laboratories, as well as for the Other
departments of the institution ; by which means the edu-
cational facilities afforded by the school are kept abreast
of the demands of the times.

There are three principal libraries, each containing sev-
eral thousand volumes. One is the general reference li-
brary, the other two are the property of the two literary
societies maintained by the students. These societies are
the Philomathean Literary Society, organized early in the
year 1865, and the Keystone Literary Society, originally
named the Kalliomathean Society, which, in September of
the same year, was organized by students dismissed, for
the purpose of starting a rival society, by the elder organ-
ization. Besides these collections of books, several de-
partmental or working libraries, housed in various recita-
tion rooms, are maintained bv several of the departments
of the school. AH these collections are generously aug-
mented from time to time.



The course of study is that prescribed by the State
of Pennsylvania, but in some matters this school leads
its compeers. At the instigation of Dr. Nathan C. Schaef-
fer (who was principal at the time and had been a mem-
ber of the Pennsylvania Industrial Commission), a man-
ual training department, directed by Dr. W. W. Dea-
triok, was established in 1891, the first in Pennsylvania
Normal Schools. .Instruction in this department is given
on pedagogic lines but, nevertheless, the course is eminent-
ly practical, having obtained marked recognition in the
reports of the United States commissioner of education.
Specimens of work done in accordance with this course,
exhibited with other work of the school, won medals
and diplomas at two great world's fairs. Among other
exercises in this department, there may be mentioned plain
sewing (for female pupils), construction of apparatus,
clay-modeliBg, and mechanical drawing. The fine arts
are not neglected : drawing, crayoning, and painting in
water and oils and on china, are thoroughly taught.

But brains are better than bricks and the mainstay of
a great school must ever be the excellence of its teaching
force. In this particular the Keystone State Normal
School has been especially fortunate : it has always had
forceful instructors, and never more of them than now.
The roster of teachers in the last catalog contains thirty-
four names ; and among them a considerable proportion
is of names of college and university trained instructors.
In this way the desired breadth and accuracy in instruc-
tion are secured.

The school is crowded with pupils to the point of tax-
ing the capacity of the present ample buildings. The last
catalog contained the names of 929 pupils. The list of
alumni of the institution now totals 2,564 names, among
which are men and women prominent in every sphere of
wholesome and serviceable human activity. A recent report
of the trustees made to the Department of Public Instruc-
tion shows that, at present, there are about 10,000 volumes
in the combined libraries and that the value of the build-
ings and equipment approximates half a million dollars.

Deisher Indian Relics. — The collection of In-
dian relics owned by Henry K. Deisher, manufac-
turer, is worthy of special mention in connection
with the history of Kutztown. He began collect-
ing arrow-heads in the vicinity of the borough
when only a boy six years old, at the suggestion
of his teacher, and as he grew older he gradually
extended his excursions into the surrounding terri-
tory in search of relics. When plowing operations
on the farms were going on, he was particularly
zealous, and his industry and perseverance were
rewarded by the acquisition of all kinds of speci-
mens. In this way his collection grew larger and
larger and with it the development of his knowl-
edge on the subject, until Re came to possess su-
perior specimens from all parts of Berks county
and from the counties in the eastern and interior
parts of the State of Pennsylvania, and also num-
erous publications relating to Indian affairs, which
together comprise a considerable library of much
valu(e on the subject. Then he began to purchase
specimeijs from different States, and so he con-
tinued his accumulations until he now has upward
of 22,000, consisting of arrow-heads, spear-heads,
knives, scrapers, axes, celts, pestles, and ceremonial
or banner stones. Much skill has been displayed in
their arrangement in cases specially prepared. Since
1900, he has added two rare collections of all kinds
of relics from the Pacific coast, carefully packed and
weighing two tons, which embraced all kinds of
stone, bone and horn implements, and many strings

of ' beads and wampum. The collection includes
17,000 specimens of various kinds from different
parts of Berks county.

Mr. Deisher has also collected many baskets of
all kinds, shapes and sizes, made by the Indians
of California, Arizona and Alaska, varying in di-
ameter from one-quarter of an inch to two and a
half feet, and showing unique designs of perfect
regularity, in different colors.

The collection is worth many thousands of dol-
lars, and Mr. Deisher's enterprise, devotion, and
determination in this behalf since 1873, a period
covering thirty-six years, are truly commendable.


Hamburg is a prosperous borough in the north-
ern section of the county, near the eastern bank
of the Schuylkill river, sixteen miles north of Read-
ing. The land embraced in the limits of the bor-
ough was taken up by warrant as early as
1732, immediately after the territory was re-
leased by the Indians, and a patent was is-
sued in 1772 to Martin Kaercher for 250
acres, the tract having been named "Ham-
burg" at that time. In 1779, Kaercher conveyed
the tract to his son, Martin, and the son then laid '
out a town. It came to be publicly known by the
name of Kaerchertown, which it held for many >

The first public enterprise affecting this place
was the construction of the Centre Turnpike from

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 59 of 227)