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 65 of 227)
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in 1908, mains having been extended to these plac-
es. On account of the elevation of the reservoir,
the pressure is very strong.

Town-Hall. — In 1897 the borough erected a two-
story brick town hall on the square, costing $6,-
500. It was established mostly to accommodate
the Volunteer Fire Company with a convenient
building for its fire apparatus.

Fire Company. — A fire company was incorpor-
ated in 1897 and supplied with hose carriage, hook
and ladder truck, and chemical engine. It has up-
ward of fifty members. H. H. Hafer has since
been the chief of the fire department. It is sup-
ported by voluntary contribution.

Electric Plant. — The borough established a su-
perior electric plant in 1907 at an expense of
$30,000. It has been. located on the old and his-
toric Charming Forge property which is situated
along the Tulpehocken creek, three miles north-
east of the borough. It supplies the light for
the streets, hotels, and many of the stores and
dwellings. Its management by the town council
is highly praiseworthy.

Churches. — In 1793, members of the Lutheran
and Reformed denominations united in erecting
a stone church in the town. It was improved in
1805 by means of a lottery authorized by an Act
of the Legislature; and it was rebuilt in 1867.
It is still maintained as a union church, with a
large regular attendance.

In 1834, members of the Presbyterian denomin-
ation established a church in the town, and the
congregation was maintained for twenty years.

About the same time, certain Universalists erect-
ed a small church and encouraged services for a
number of years, but the society was disbanded
and the building was sold to the school board for
educational purposes.

Some years before, adherents of the Evangelical
denomination had effected an organization and
erected a meeting-house. They conducted their

meetings in a successful manner until 1867, when
they erected a more pretentious church and in this
they have carried on services until the present

A Young Men's Christian Association was or-
ganized in May, 1907, and since then has held its
meetings in the old Presbyterian Church building
and been managed in a successful manner with an
increasing membership. Henry D. Hackman has
been its president and most active and influential

Cemeteries. — In 1858, an association was formed
for establishing a Union cemetery, a tract of three
acres of land having been purchased, adjoining
the Union church, and laid off in burial lots.

In 1883, a tract of three acres was purchased
by the Zion's Reformed church and laid off into
lots for burial purposes. Several costly monu-
ments have been erected, including those to David
Laucks and Dr. James C. Livingood. The re-
mains of Hon. George Ege (a prominent iron man-
ufacturer and county official for many years) were
buried in this cemetery, and his grave is marked
by a marble shaft.

Schools. — Education was encouraged from the
beginning of the town. The first teacher was Bar-
on Stiegel, the earliest manufacturer of iron in
the western section of the county, he having di-
rected his attention to teaching after his failure in
business. Walker Stephen was the most promi-
nent teacher and the longest in continuous service,
having taught the children of the town for over sixty
years, from 1800. Higher education was encour-
aged as early as 1828 by establishing an academy
in the town. The institution became incorporated
in 1834, and it was conducted successfully for thir-
ty years.

In 1880, the borough erected a superior two-story
brick high school on the site of the academy, at a
cost of $4,500. In 1906 there were six graded
schools in the place, with over two hundred schol-

Band of Music — In 1906, Calvin Reinhold or-
ganized a band of music which was called the Min-
nehaha Cornet Band and he has since been the
leader, with upward of twenty members whom he
has instructed.

Washington's Visit. — In 1794, President Wash-
ington, while on his way to Carlisle, in reference to
the Whiskey Insurrection, stayed over night at
Womelsdorf, and the extraordinary occasion was
celebrated in a proper manner by the inhabitants.
In the proceedings, Capt. Samuel Dewees took a
prominent part on account of his personal acquain-
tance with the President, which he had made dur-
ing his services in the Revolution. In a published
biography of Captain Dewees (1844) this event
and his connection with it are mentioned quite

Bernville was laid out as a town in 1819 by
Thomas Umbenhauer, on land which he owned.



It was situated in Bern township on a public road
from Reading, by way of the Bern Church, to the
Blue Mountains. The projection of the Union can-
al near by, along the Tulpehocken creek, led to the
selection of this locality as a convenient place for
a town. It was named in 1820 after one of the
principal towns of Switzerland, the native place
of the founder's father.

In 1828, the canal was opened for traffic, and it
was operated successfully for thirty years until the
establishment of the Lebanon Valley railroad, and
then its business began to decline rapidly. During
this time, Bernville was a great shipping point and
business of all kinds was in a flourishing condi-
tion ; but the final abandonment of the canal caused
a great change to take place, ending in deprecia-
tion of property and values, and the discontinu-
ance of various successful enterprises.

The nearest railroad station is Robesonia, on
the Lebanon Valley railroad, seven miles to the

A branch of the South Mountain railroad -was
projected from Strausstown to Reading by way
of Bernville, and it was partly constructed along
the North-kill through the western section of
the borough, but it was not finished. Many per-
sons of this vicinity responded liberally in sub-
scriptions and credits, which became a total loss
to them. The projected roadway is still visible.

Purchasers of First Lots. — The following per-
sons purchased lots of the town which were sold
on March 7, 1820:

Philip Filbert Nicholas Haas

John Umbenhauer Samuel Filbert

Matthias Stoudt John Heck, Jr. '

Henry Waters John Miesse

Peter Filbert Jacob Wagner

Philip A. Good John Wagner

Samuel Umbenbauer Daniel Strause

Catharine Stoudt John Aulenbach, Jr.

Joseph Seybert John Heck, Sr.
Samuel Seybert

Occupants of First Dwelling-houses. — The
first houses were occupied by :

Henry Witman tinsmith

William Runkle merchant

Abraham Reber merchant

Andrew Greth blacksmith

John Haag wheelwright

Joseph Burkhart chair-maker

Jacob Allenbach hatter

Rev. Bover minister

Peter Bennethum tanner

Michael Parst paper-box maker

Benj. L. Kerschner , . .coach-maker

Jacob Wagner butcher

Joseph Kauffman hatter

Catharine Stoudt cake-baker

Lewis Porr tailor

John Umbenhauer weaver

William Umbenhauer tavern-keeper

Daniel Klopp tavern-keeper

John Daniel tinsmith

Incorporation. — The town was advanced in-
to a borough in 1851. The taxables at that time
were as follows:

Abraham Andrews Samuel W. Miller

Tohn Boyer John Miller

Henry Byerle Jonathan Miller

Daniel Bentz Dr. A. A. McDonough

Enoch Burkhart Rev. George Minnig

Adam Bohn Est. Samuel Madden

Maria Brossman Catharine Mohn

Rebecca Brossman Ludwig Porr

Enoch Bricker Est. John Runkle

John Burkhart Elijah Richardson

Joseph B. Conrad Joseph Renno

Elizabeth Conrad Runkle & Son

Daniel Deppen William Runkle

Samuel K. IHindore George Rick

Valentine Epler Est. Jacob Strouse

Edward B. Filbert Catharine Stoudt

Daniel R. Faust Benjamin Seyfert

Solomon Faust William Sheidy

William Greim Rev. John C. Smith

John Heck Adam Snyder

William Huber Daniel Umbenhower

Jonas Hetrich Thomas Umbenhower Est.

John Haag John Umbenhower

Samuel Hicks Henry Witman

Joseph Hertzler John Wenrich

Henry Kleim John Yeager

William Kalbach Rev. Jacob Zehring

Benjamin Kershner Lenhart Zerbe
Abraham Koenig


Jacob Adam Jacob Riegel

John Daniel John Rick

Lewis Fair Jacob Rieser

John Greiner J°hn Resh

Andrew Heilman J?^" ^"dy

Benjamin Himmelberger p ^".''y .^'|"^^ ,

John Harbach ^r^hT ^"'''"

iir I,- i Tj • Jacob Werner

Washmgton Hem ^adock Weber

^Y TjJ'^^ J°^«Ph Wolfinger

John Heffelfinger John Witman

fe^n-^'"^?*, John Walter

William Noll Joshua Yeager

Single Men
Adam Bohn Jonathan Snyder

Alfred Kershner Matthias Trompater

Jonathan Spengler Jacob Werner

In 1906, the taxables numbered 134; and then
the taxable property was assessed at $123,690.

Officials. — The following lists comprise the
names of the chief burgesses, town clerks and
justices of the peace from 1851 to 1909 :

E. B. Filbert -^gj^

A. R. Koenig ] ^^gjg

William Runkle -j^ggg

Henry Witman 1354

Abraham Andrews j^gjg

Joseph B. Conrad ■.'.'.'.■.■.'.■.■. ISog';' 1872';' 1887-88

ti. iiarner ^f..„

Adam Stoudt ""

Paul Wenrich ]lll

Levi M. Gerhard i860 61

D-D- Deppen 1862V I868 ; ' 1889-90

John F. Burkhart irr^ • issr

A. M. Bright ^^^^' ]lll

David R. Koenig. . .■ ]lll

Adam M. Dundore isfifii'is??

Jefferson Haag :; ^^"^ ■ HH

Abraham Witman ,111

F. M. Harbaugh [W;; ]^J,l

Ephraim Witman ,„°

Jacob S. Werner HH



Charles F. Rentchler 1875

John A. Hiester 1876

Lewis P. Kerschner 1877 ; 1899

Levi Ludwig 1878-80 ; 1900-03

Levi Berger 1881

John S. Wenrich 1883-85

Edwin Umbenhauer 1891-93

Jonathan B. Miller 1894-96

Levi S. Bright 1897-98

Levi D. Kalbach 1903-06

Ephraim Miller ; 1906-09

Charles M. Richardson 1909-12


A. R. Koenig 1851

John S. Rick 1852-54

Harrison Harner 1855-56 ; 1858-63

Wm. H. Kintzle 1857

C. W. Hetrich 1864; 1866; 1868-70; 1874-76; 1881-96

Peter Sands 1865

L. W. Rentchler 1867

John H. Riegel 1871-73

H. S. Machemer 1877-80

Charles M. Harbach 1897

Charles P.' Kalbach 1898-1900

H. C. Kerschner 1900-03

Geo. C. Kline 1903-08

P. F. Burkhart 1908-10


John H. Riegel 1869-74

Simon Riegel 1872-77

Charles W. Hetrich 1874-99

Henry S. Machemer 1877-82

Benjamin Klahr 1882-97; 1898-1913

James F. Talley 1897-98

Samuel T. Bordner 1899-1908

S. P. Wilhelm 1908


Chief Burgess, Charles M. Richardson
Town CouncU, George Moll, President

S. P. Wilhelm, Treasurer

John Snyder

John Haag

Frank Stamm

Willis Bright

Paul F. Burkhart, Secretary
School Board, William Heffelfinger

Dr. C. E. Schloppig

Thomas Kalbach

James Burns

Joeah Sheidy

Howard Dietrich
Justices of the Peace, Benjamin Klahr
S. P. Wilhelm
Constable, John Christ
Auditors, Willis Bright

Alfred Rentschler
J. Paul Burkhart
Assessor, James Grofif
Collector, Levi Ludwig

Industries. — Previous to 1819, this locality was
entirely a farming community. Industrial estab-
lishments could not be encouraged because there
were no facilities for shipping manufactured ar-
ticles. The prospects of a canal stimulated en-
terprise, and then different industries were start-
ed, which were operated successfully for about
forty years. Some were continued longer, but
they too had to succumb. Tanning was intro-
duced in 1830, and was actively carried on for six-

ty years, but it finally passed away in 1900. Sev-
eral foundries were operated for a number of
years. The last was removed in 1906, having
been taken to Topton.

Creamery Business. — (Charles M. Richardson
(the burgess of Bernville) has been very success-
fully engaged in conducting creameries in differ-
ent parts of Berks county for a number of years,
having directed their affairs from Bernville as a
central office under two firms with which he is
connected, Ahrens & Richardson and Richardson
Brothers, the former controlling eight creameries
and the latter six. Those in the county are' situated
at Bernville, Strausstown, Mount Pleasant, Wer-
nersville, Berne, Mertztown, Longswamp, Maxa-
tawny, Topton, Schofer, Kutztown, Bowers, Ly-
ons and Dryville. He is also connected with the
Harford ' Dairy Company, at Harford, Pa., which
controls eight creameries.

A creamery was erected by Jonathan B. Miller
at Bernville in 1889 and operated by different par-
ties. It has been carried on successfully since 1891
by Ahrens & Richardson.

Electric Light Plant. — ^An electric light plant was
established by Harrison Kalbach of Lebanon in
1904 for supplying the borough with an improved
light. It is managed by Dr. Charles P. Kalbach.
The lights supplied number 300.

Bakeries. — Two bakeries have been established,
one by J. B, Miller in 1894, carried on by Harry
Sheetz; and the other in 1896 by J. D. Reeser, who
after operating it ten years was succeeded by his
brother Charles C. Reeser, who has carried it on
since 1906 with increasing success.

Recently two additional industries were started:
a shirt factory by Hoffman Brothers, and a hosiery
mill by High & Son.

Stores. — Several stores in the place have been
continued in a successful manner until now, not-
withstanding adverse circumstances. The Miller
store was started in 1847 by Samuel W. Miller.
His son Jonathan B. succeeded him in 1878, after
being a partner for fourteen years. It was then
much enlarged and improved by the son and came
to be recognized as one of the largest and best
stocked country stores in Pennsylvania. James
F. Talley became the purchaser in 1903 and he has
carried it on since.

Albert F. Schock began the store business here
in 1872. He established a , larger stand on the
opposite corner in 1884, with a costly stock, and
continued until a few years before his death, in

John F. Burkhart began the stove and tinsmith
business in 1848, and he and his sons have kept
it up successfully until now. Their trade extends
throughout the surrounding townships.

There are three practicing physicians in the bor-
ough; thyee hotels; a drug store; and a saddlery^

Physicians. — A num'ber of medical practition-
■ers lived at Bernville who were very successful
and won the respect and confidence of the sur-



out Aug. 8, 1862, by reason of an Act of Congress
which was passed to dispense with regimental

rounding community for many miles: Dr. George Ham H. Keim. The grand review of all the com-
Beyerle, Dr. Enoch Bricker, Dr. Daniel Deppen, panies in dress parade was witnessed by Gov. David
Dr. A. A. McDonough, Dr. Philip R. Palm, Dr. R- Porter. Many persons were m attendance. The
George W. Ditzler, Dr. Wellington G^ B eyerie ^ jr^Tr^rc" rmH.-The Bernville
Dr. Danus D. Deppen, and Dr. John A. Brobst. ^omet Band with Henry Grime as leader and thir-
National Bank.— a national bank was organ- ^^^^ musicians, was enlisted in the Civil war for
ized at Bernville in October, 1907, with a capital j-^g^rly a year.' It was mustered into the service
of $25,000, with James F. Talley as president 5gpt_ 26, 1861, with the 26th Regiment, Pennsyl-
and Augustus M. Brown as cashier. In Novem- yania Volunteers, as the regimental band, and con-
ber, 1908, the total resources were $122,462; in- tinued with the regiment until it was mustered
dividual deposits, $57,590; time deposits, $20,607; ' ■ - -

loans and discounts, $77,585.

Stage Lines. — iTwo daily stage lines maintain
business intercourse with other places : From Read-
ing by way of Bernville to Millersburg; and from
Robesonia to Bernville (twice daily).

Two rural free deliveries have been established
from Bernville.

Churches. — The first church was established
here by the Lutherans in 1745, and worship was
continued by them alone until 1834, when the
Reformed members were permitted to unite with
them. The union character of the church was
maintained until 1897, when they separated. The
Lutherans erected a superior church at a cost of
$16,000 ; and the Reformed, with the co-operation
of the New School Lutheratis, also erected a sim-
ilar church, in the same vicinity, on the opposite
side of the public highway, at a cost of $18,000.

The Evangelical Association also established a
church here in 1852 and the limited membership
was active for a number of years.

Schools. — Education received early encourage-
ment. In 1878, a large two-story brick building
was erected to take the place of two small build-
ings, and this is still used. Three schools are
graded, with over seventy scholars.

Secret Societies. — The first secret society es-
tablished at Bernville was a lodge of Odd Fel-
lows, No. 122, instituted Sept. 6, 1845, and the
members have maintained the organization un-
til the present time, the membership being 65. This
was one of the first lodges of the order established
in Berks county. They dedicated a hall in 1851.
The assets of this body are $4,000.

Another society here which has been quite suc-
cessful and whose members have exerted consid-
erable social and political influence in the communi-
ty is Camp No. 113, Patriotic Order Sons of Amer-
ica, which was instituted in 1869, with 12 charter
members. On Dec. 31, 1908, the members num-
bered 208, and the total assets of the camp were
reported as $10,270.

Military Encampment. — A large military en-
campment was held at Bernville on Aug. 27, 1841,
comprising seventeen companies of militia, almost
entirely from Berks county. Several companies
were from Lebanon and Schuylkill counties. At
that time, Berks county had altogether twenty-
three companies, indicating that the majority of
the local companies were present upon that occasion.
The principal officer in command was Gen. Wil-


Birdsboro is a flourishing borough in the county
through the influence, encouragement and great
success of the Brooke iron works. William Bird
established at this place one of the first iron in-
dustries in the State. This was in 1740. It was
a forge. He erected additional forges here; also
a grist-mill and saw-mill. He took up several thou-
sand acres of land in the vicinity south of the
Schuylkill, stretching along Hay creek. Upon his
decease, in 1762, he was succeeded by his son,
Mark. Within twenty years, the son became one
of the largest producers of iron in the country
at that time. He' was particularly prominent in
the Revolution.

The development of the Bird industries caused
the formation of a considerable settlement on both
sides of the creek near its outlet into the river,
and it naturally took the name of Birdsboro. At
the time of the erection of the county in 1752,
besides the township names for local districts, there
were only two named towns, Reading and Birds-
boro. After 1762, this town became more prom-
inently known through the industrial energy of
Mark Bird, and it has continued to be the most
prominent center in the county next to Reading
in respect to population and wealth from that time
until now.

The Brooke family came to be identified with
the place before 1800, and its greatest development
is owing to the enterprise of Edward Brooke" and
George Brooke (sons of Matthew Brooke), be-
tween 1837 and 1878, when the former died. Since
1878, George Brooke has been at the head of the
works and, as a matter of course, of the entire

Incorporation. — The town was incorporated as
a borough in November, 1872, the limits includ-
ing territory one mile square, with the northerly
line along the Schuylkill river. It embraces sec-
tions which are known locally as Lincoln-town,
Brooklyn, Texas, and Mexico. The streets were
regularly surveyed and graded in- 1883. A wat-
er department was then established, the water be-
ing supplied by the Brooke Iron Company from
a large reservoir containing 37,000,000 gallons,
constructed on Indian run two miles south of
Birdsboro. In 1900 the Birdsboro \\''ater Com-



pany was incorporated by the Brookes, which pur-
chased the plant for the purpose of supplying the
growing town with water. In 1906 the company
enlarged the main pipe to sixteen inches. The
small mains were also enlarged, thereby increas-
ing the daily supply and improving the service to
meet the demands of the community.

In 1885 the streets were first lighted by naph-
tha gas lamps; and in 1896 by electric lights, the
plant being run by water power from the canal.
A fire company was organized in 1883. A build-
ing for the apparatus was supplied by the bor-
ough in 1884, and enlarged in 1905. The upper
story is occupied as a town hall. Two wards
(East and West) were erected in 1889.

In 1906, the taxables numbered 969; the total
assessed property amounted to $1,233,264; and
the money at interest, $472,534. The buildings
numbered 450 ; East ward, 280, and West ward,

First Taxables. — The following list embraces
the first taxable inhabitants of the borough :

Enoch Alderman
James Brusstar
Dr. B. F. Bunn
George Brinly
Jeremiah Beard
John R. Bechtel
Edward Brooke
George Brooke
Zacharias Bishop
Augustus Britton
Henry Biedencup
Richard Bull
Reuben Beidler
Samuel Bland
Lewis R. Bland
Daniel Bower
John Bechtel
James Bradley
John Britton
Effenger Dengler
William DeWitt
Ferdinand Egelman
Henry A. Esterly
Reese Evans
Benjamin Grubb
Samuel Goheen
Charles Glass
Jacob Geiger
Joseph Hale
Michael Hoffman
Jacob R. Hunter
Henry Houck
Elisha B. Houck
Hannah Huyett
G. W. Harrison
Dr. Isaac B. Hallman
Caleb Harrison
Jacob E. Hook
Susan Hale
Adam Hoyer

Robert Arnold
Daniel Aldenderfer
Ammon Albright
Henry Albright
Albert Borden

William Hart
John E. Hook
Levi E. Hook
Henry E. Hook
Henry M. Houck
George W. Hains
William Hayflicker
Anna Kline
John Keinard
Joseph R. Kerst
George W. Knabb
James Liggett
David J. Lincoln
Michael Lacy
Ellen Luft
Peter Moll
Raymond Mohr
Daniel R. Miller
John T. Miller
Enos Morris
James Price
Cyrus Painter
Edward Parlaman
Isaac L. Pauling
Andrew Painter
John Rork
Cyrus Rhoads
Samuel Rhoads
Augustus Redcay
Moses Stubblebine
Hannah Steinmetz
Elijah Shirey
Augustus Schlichter
Daniel Spencer
David Vanneman
George Wert
Elizabeth Wood
George Yocum
Henry Yeager
John Yeager


Reuben Breidegam
John Bailey
John H. Brinley
Jeremiah Babb
Williaih Bortz

Andrew Bivens
Joseph Bigley
John Boyer
John Brown
William Bishop
Thomas Conner
Edward Conner
Jacob Cramp
Charles Coughlen
Uriah Carson
Peter Detemple
William Davis
James Doaty
Jeremiah Dieter
John Deeds
John Davis
James Davis
William Davis, Jr.
Henry Davis

Tames Daub
David Dieffenderfer
Aaron Ellis
Lacy Epstein
Joseph H. Fisher
David Focht
John Fillman

Samuel Fair

Isaac Fair

Peter Frymoyer

William Fosnacht

Jacob Fry

John Geary

George Grubb

Samuel Goheen

John Goheen

Frederick Garrick

William Haggins

Rudolph Hayflirker

William Harbeson

Thomas Hesser

Owen Hamilton

John Hoffman, Sr.

John Hoffman, Jr.

Charles Hoyer

James Henry

Henry Henry

Daniel Hoyer

Amos Harner

Henry Haws

William D. Homan

James Homan

Charles Hoffman

Levi Hartman

Isaac Hahn

Charles Hoyer

Joseph M. Hale

Henry Hoffman

William Ives

John Incheliff

George Irey

David Johnson

Perry Jones

Samuel Kachel

Henry Kline

David Kline

Samuel Kring

John Kutz

Charles Lacy

Edward F. Alderman
James Biedencup
Samuel Bland
Edward Bland
Charles Bland
Henry Bechtel

John Lacy
Jacob Lichty
Henry Lichty
Joel Moore
Benjamin McCord
Edward Mohr
David McCord
Joseph McKim
William Morris
Adam McMullen
James H. Minker
Isaac Minker
Augustus Minker
Levi Mover
John Mock
John Mills
Caleb W. Mann
William March
John Nichols
William Nagel
George Painter
Lewis Phillips
Henry Quimby
Colbert Reamstein
David Rhoads
B. F. Rorke
Franklin Reed
Caleb R. Rhoads
Augustus Redge
Benjamin Roberts
George Rotz
Robert Rhoads
John Rhoads
Peter Rorke
Henry Reimert
George Siegfried
William Seidel
Daniel Spencer
Jacob Steinmetz
Aaron 'Sloyer
James Schule
Henderson Sample
William Stanley
John Siegfried
Edward Siegfried
William Siegfried
George ichirey
Ezra Smith
Isaac Steinruck
Samuel Shealer
J. S. Scheffey
Samuel Troop
James Tolbert
William Thompson
Charles Vanderslice
Hugh Vaneman
Owen WoJff
David Watts
Daniel Witman
John White
Jonathan Woomer
Oliver C. Wilson
Benjamin Weidner
George Wert
Francis M. Weaver
A. B. Young
John H. Yeager
Peter Zeller

Single Men

William Britton
George Britton
William Dengler
Lewis Delavan
George Engelman
Edward B. Evans



Levi Focht William March

Aaron Francis Amos Miller

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 65 of 227)