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 73 of 227)
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F.W. Nicolls won the Tennis Championship in 1903,
and Robert E. Brooke in 1904. The Silver Cup,
presented by George F. Baer, Esq., for the Tennis
Championship, was won by Robert E. Brooke in
1905, and by Randolph StaufFer in 1906, 1907, and
1908. In the Handicap Shooting Match, Mrs. Wil-
liam Seyfert won the 1905 Silver Cup, presented
by E. E. Stetson, Hunter Eckert and Samuel R.

The officers of the Club are: F. C. Smink, presi-
dent ; Wilham Seyfert, vice-president ; Frederick W.
Nicolls, treasurer; George W. Delany, secretary.

Glenside. — In 1902, George O. Runyeon, C. Q.
Guldin and A. J. Brumbach laid off seventy-five
acres into about 1,700 building lots along the Bern-
ville road in Bern township, near the Schuylkill
avenue bridge, and called the place "Glenside."
About sixty dwelling-houses have been erected
since. Some years before, a previous attempt had
been made to establish a suburban town here.

Wernersville Bank. — The Wernersville Na-
tional Bank was chartered March 10, 1906, with a
capital of $50,000. George W. Wertz was selected
as president, and Leonard M. Ruth as cashier. In
November, 1908, the total resources were $273,579.


The Schuylkill Section comprises six townships
and the time of their settlement and erection is set
forth in the following table :


Settled Erected

Brecknock 1729 1741

Caernarvon 1700 1729

Cumru 1732 1737

Robeson 1720 1739

Union 1705 1752

Taken from Erected

Spring Cumru 1850

Derivation of Names. — The derivation of the
names was as follows:

Brecknock, from the name of a distr':t in
Wales ; but the name had been given to a township
in Lancaster county, of which the portion cut off
in the erection of Berks county was a part.

Caernarvon, for the same reasons, as above

Cnnw'u, from the name of a district in Wales,
whence the first settlers had emigrated.

Robeson, from the name of Andrew Robeson,
the first settler of this vicinity, who had taken up
a large area of land.

Union, from the circumstance of uniting two por-
tions of territory in forming the township, one from
Lancaster county, embracing about 5,600 acres, and-
the other from Chester countv, embracing about
7,500 acres.

Spring, from the circumstance of a large spring
of water, situated near the central portion of the


township, which frequently disappeared or sank Railroads. — The Reading & Co'lumbia Railroad'
away in dry weather, on account of the limestone was constructed in 1864, extending from Realding
fissure. westwardly through Spring township to Sinking

This formation was the only new township estab- Spring, and southwardly to the Lancaster county
lished in this section. A previous effort had been line, a distance of eight miles.
made in 1845 for the division of Robeson township,. The Lebanon Valley Railroad was extended
and though successful by petition to the court, the through Spring township in 1857.
proceedings were set aside by a public election, which The Wilmington & Northern Railroad, in 1870,
was held on March 7, 1846. The establishment of extending from Birdsboro southwardly to Chester
the new township, named Hay-creek by the court, county line, a distance of ten miles; and in 1874
after the strong stream of water in this vicinity, to "Poplar Neck" on the High farm northwest-
developed so much opposition that the objectors, wardly^a distance of six miles,
headed by Levi B. Smith, of Joanna Furnace, se- j^^^^ Lines. -The Reading and Southwestern
cured the passage of an Act of Assenibly by the gtreet Railway was constructed in 1890, in Cumru
State Legislature which directed the submission of township, from Reading to Mohnton, a distance
the question to public vote, and the vote was unan- ^f ^^^ ^^j^^ ^^^ ^^ ^gg^ extended to Adamstown,
imous against the division of the towUship. ^ ^j^^^^^g ^^ ^^^ ^-^^^^

Boroughs.— The following boroughs were es- ^he Black Bear line extended in 1904 to Birds-
tabhshed m this section: ^,^^0, via Seyfert, in Robeson township, a distance

WoSn'"in%6 of four miles.

West^Rea^ng" in 1907. Canal.— The Schuylkill canal was constructed

Mohnton, in 1907. in 1838, in Robeson and Union townships along

Shillington, in 1908. the river to the Chester county line, a distance of

Waterworks have been established , at the bor- nine miles ; one level of six miles from the Big

oughs named, excepting the last, which is supplied Dam to Birdsboro ; and another level of eight miles

from Mohnton. to Laurel Hill, some distance beyond the county

Towns. — The following towns are situated in line,
this section: Early Industries. — Three iron works were es-

Name Houses Name Houses tablished in Robeson, and One in Union, before
AUeghenyviUe (18T0) SO Monocacy (1852) 44 1800, as f oUows : Bird's Forge, 1740; Gibraltar

Beckersville (1852) 8 Montello (1896) 18 „ -i ivpvn t tt -irinn tt ii t?

Browerviiie (1820) 8 Mocgantown (1770) 48 Forge, 1770 ; Joanna Fumace, 1790 ; HopewcU Fur-

Geigertown (1828) S2 Oakbrookl (1885) 116 „„-„ 1 7Rt;

Gibraltar (1836) 75 Seyfert (1881) 40 "acC, -I'OO.

Gougiersviiie (18555 30 Sinking Spring (1831) ....230 Estabhshments at the first two places have con-

Mmmont" (1885*)°\ .'.!'.'.!;' ! 05 wSfz^ffll ^}^^^^... '.'.'.'.'.'.' H tinued in operation until the present time, but the

First SETTLERS.-The first settlers in this sec- ^''^^''^^ "^^'^ abandoned and dismantled many

tion were Welsh, and it is believed that they took y^^^ ^^o- . . .„ , . ^- u

up land in the vicinity of Morgantown before 1700, . ^""',^''°"'. ^"'*:"^'"'. ^"/,^. P"* "? <'P^'^l°f by

having migrated up the Schuylkill Valley from the *e early settlers along the Wyomissing creekfor a

tir 1 u 4.ri i • nu r.1. +,. Ttc <.o,-i;ocf distance of seven miles, which evidences their ap-

Welsh settlements m Chester county. Its earliest ■ .• . ,, . ' r ■. ^„-,...u,]p .^^ter
settlers along the western bank of the river were preciation of the stream tor its valuable water-
Swedes, they having entered the section opposite PO'^^^e .

the Molatton settlement in Amity township shortly Suburban Towns. — ^The first attempt at estab-

after 1700. The Welsh settlers were numerous and lishing suburban towns in this section was made

took up large quantities of land before 1740. The by George Frill, about 1870, he having purchased

township of Caernarvon was erected in 1729; Cum- the Leinbach (formerly Bell) farm, situated along

ru, in 1737 ; and Brecknock, in 1741, the names the Schuylkill river, to the west of Reading, which

evidencing the nationality of the settlers. A num- came to be called West Reading, and as such it

ber of English settlers also found their way to the was established as a borough in 1907.
central portion of Robeson before 1740. Shortly afterward (1874) a number of cap-

HiGHWAYS.— This section is intersected by many italists at Reading purchased the Muhlenberg

roads, the following being the most prominent: farm along the Schuylkill river, to the south of

Schuylkill road, along the west bank of the Schuyl- Reading, which they laid off into building lots

kill, from the mouth of the Tulpehocken creek, (about 500) and called Millmont (translation

via Flying Hill and Birdsboro to the Chester of the name Muhlenberg, mill-at-the-moun-

county line ; the Morgantown road, via Green Tree tain) . Some lots were sold, but the county

Tavern and the Plow Tavern, to Morgantown; New authorities then refusing to erect a bridge across

Holland road, from Reading, via Angelica and the river at the foot of South Sixth street, the

Knauer's, to New Holland; and the Lancaster road, establishment of a town there was not a success,

from Reading via Shillington, Five-mile House and and their continued refusal has kept the place back-

Gouglersville to Adamstown. ward. The construction of the Pennsylvania

1 Laid out as Oakland. Schuylkill Valley railroad through the proposed



town in 1884 encouraged the erection of industries
and a large natural ice plant there. The rail-
road company named the station "Orrton" after
Jesse Orr, one of the founders of Orr, Painter &
Co. The city "Disposal Plant" is near by along
the river.

While this was going on at Millmont, Henry
T. Kendall and George Brooke laid off about
seventy acres along the Lancaster road, two miles
from Reading, into lots, which they named Brook-
side ; the George Bechtel Estate laid off about forty
acres, and named it Oakbrook, where a post-office
was established in 1897 but discontinued in
1906 on account of the rural route; and
Mrs. Mary A. Boyer laid off about fifty-five
acres (234 lots) which came to be called "Boyer
Heights." Along the river, George A. Boyer es-
tabUshed in 1898 a bathing place with 100 booths
for bathers, which came to be very popular. It was
washed away by a freshet in 1902, and rebuilt. For
several years past efforts have been made to annex
the land embracing these suburban improvements
to Reading.

Springmont, in Spring township, along the turn-
pike near Sinking Spring, was laid out by Benja-
min Knowles in 1895, and embraced 950 lots.

Arlington Place was laid out in Union township,
along Schuylkill road, near Monocacy, in 1895.

West Lawn, in Spring township, along the turn-
pike beyond Wyomissing, was laid out by Irwin B.
Dill, Warren H. and Frank H. Fenstermacher in
October, 1907, and embraced 567 lots.


Hendel Hat Factory was established in
Cumru near Mohnsville, in 1878, and has been
operated by George Hendel and sons since then.
Hands employed, 250.

Millmont Works.— Orr &• Sembower erected
a plant in Cumru in 1884, for the manufacture of
engines, and have been very successful. The firm
was incorporated in 1890. They employ from 220
to 250 hands.

The Prizer-Painter Stove Company started the
manufacture of stoves, ranges and heaters at Mill-
mont in 1899 in a large building previously occu-
pied by Orr, Painter & Co., in the same business.
They employ 300 hands.

The Chantrell Tool Company was first started in
1888, at Reading, and after carrying on business
there for four years, removed to Millmont. They
manufacture household specialties, and builders'
hardware. Hands employed, 160.

Belt Line, extended through Spring and Cumru
townships, along and crossing the Schuylkill, in
1901, and opened for traffic in 1902, for the purpose
of relieving the great congestion of traffic on the
main line of the P. & R. R. The length through
this section is five miles.

Ice Plants. — The Angelica Ice Company was
organized in 1886 and then established its first
plant at Millmont for storing natural ice. Sub-

sequently it secured additional plants along the An-
gelica creek; total storage capacity, 60,000 tons.

Mt. Penn Ice Company established a plant
on the farm of William J. Shalter in Cumru, on
Flying Hill creek, in 1903, and enlarged it in 1904.
Total storage capacity, 7,000 tons.

Gibraltar Iron Works^ established about 1770
in Robeson and maintained ever since. The Sey-
fert family became connected with the plant in
1835, and has operated it with the rolling-mill at
Seyfert on the W. & N. railroad since 1882.

Trap Rock. — A large quarry was opened a mile
south of Birdsboro in 1893 by Dyer & Company, of
Norristown, on property of the E. & G. Brooke
Iron Company, and has been carried on very exten-
sively ever since. They operate four crusher plants
and produce daily from 2,000 to 2,500 tons
of crushed material, of various sizes, which is
shipped to all parts of the country. They employ
from 120 to 150 hands.

The Schuylkill Valley Stone Company was or-
ganized in 1907, by capitalists of Birdsboro, Nor-
ristown and Philadelphia, who established a large
crusher plant in Union township, one mile south of
Monocacy, with a complete equipment for supply-
ing crushed stone and Belgian blocks in great quan-
tities. A railroad siding has been extended from
the Pennsylvania railroad to the plant. Over half
a million dollars has been expended thus far in
this enterprise.

Montello Brick Works was started by A. A.
Gery in 1891 at Montello, in Spring township, a
mile south of Sinking Spring, for the manufacture
of vitrified brick. In 1899, a second plant was es-
tablished at Wyomissing; and in 1905 the adjoin-
ing plant of the Reading Shale Brick Company
was purchased.

Garbage Plant. — In 1902, a plant was estab-
lished in Cumru, a mile south of Grill village, to
dispose of the garbage collected at Reading, which
is delivered there by teams.

Electric Plant.— ^The Metropolitan Electric
Company has secured property at the mouth of the
Wyomissing creek and has arranged to establish a
large and powerful plant on this side, opposite
Reading in this section, for supplying power and

PooRHOUSE, established in Cumru in 1825, by
the county of Berks, for the poor people of the
county. Various improvements were made until
1874. The farm contains over 400 acres. It has
been maintained there ever since by county appro-

Reading Disposal Plant, estabhshed in Cumru
along the river below the city, in 1894, at a cost of
$130,000, for the purpose of disposing of the sew-
age by a process of filtration, pumped there from
the foot of Sixth street.

Fertilizer Works, erected in Cumru township
near the "Big Dam" in 1905. A phosphate works had
been carried on previously for several years at Wy-



omissing, which was discontinued on account of ad-
verse Htigation.

Globe Rendering Company. — In January, 1909,
Dr. M. R. Adam, Dr. G. S. Rothermpl, John G.
Rhoads and Wilson Rothermel organized this com-
pany for manufacturing various oils, fertilizer pro-
ducts and poultry food out of slaughter-house oflFals
and the carcasses of dead animals. They estab-
lished their plant in the Angelica barn at Millmont,
adjoining the "Disposal Plant," one mile south of
Reading. They employ four hands and ship their
productions to all parts of the country.

Country Homes. — Costly country homes of Jo-
siah Dives, Richmond L. Jones, Mrs. Catherine
Archer, Herbert M. Sternbergh, George Horst and
Jacob Nolde, in Cumru township, are worthy of
special mention.

Polish Convent.-^A large institution was
founded in Cumru township, beyond Millmont, by
the "Bernardine Sisters of The Third Order of St.
Francis, of Reading, Pa.," in 1905, for the purpose
of educating teachers for Polish parochial schools,
in different parts of the United States, being a con-
tinuation of the Convent which had been carried on
several years on "Flying Hill." An orphanage is
included, which had fifty girls in 1909. Sixty-five
teachers are connected with this worthy institution,
who are sent to all parts of the United States where
needed to carry on Polish schools. This is the
"Mother House" of the Order in the United States.

The property embraces twenty acres of land, and the
value is about $65,000.

Stock Farms.— rAe Hillside Stock Farm of
W. Harry Orr, of Reading, was established in
Spring township in 1893, for the purpose of rais-
ing high-bred horses, breeding from the Ashland-
Wilkes stallion particularly, whose colts have de-
veloped remarkable speed on the track. The farm
embraces 160 acres, situated along the Cacoosing
creek, two miles south of Sinking Spring.

The Spring Valley Stock Farm of Abner S. Dey- '
sher, of Reading, was established in 1902, in the
southern portion of Spring township, a mile west
of Gouglersville, along the head waters of the Little
Muddy creek. The farm comprises nearly 200 acres.

State Police. — A "Barracks" was established in
Cumru in 1905 by the State Police for Troop C, but
was removed to Pottsville May 31, 1909.

State Road. — ^A section of State Road, three
miles in length, was constructed, in 1906, in Cumru
on the road from Reading to Shillington. It was
the first public improvement of this kind in Berks
county. [See Chapter II.]

Milk Station. — H. Dolfinger, of Philadelphia,
established a superior milk station at Joanna on the
W. & N. railroad, in July, 1909. It is a large two
story brick building, equipped with the latest im-
provements for cooling the milk. A large ware-
house and ice-house are connected with the plant;
also a dam. John W. Jacobs (who had been in the
coal and ice business there for many years) is the



The following article, prepared by the compiler
of this history and published in the "Historical
Register of Interior Pennsylvania," January, 1883,
is regarded as applicable to this important chapter :

You have, no doubt, been already in a forest. There,
in looking over the vast collection of trees, you saw, at
different places, great oaks standing like hoary sentinels
that witnessed, as It were, the coming in and going out
of years until they numbered a century. Their wonder-
ful arms overshadowed the earth below for a hundred
feet, and their magnificent tops stood high above the many
trees surrounding. Have you not compared with one of
these a great family, whose progenitor, by his powerful
manhood, gave to society vigorous sons and daughters,
who-, like the branches of the mighty oak, scattered their
seed and their strength all over the land?

In every forest there are such trees. In every county
there are such families. The giant oaks are conspicuous
for their strength and breadth and height. So are the
families conspicuous in similar respects — strength of phy-
sical character, breadth of mind in the various affairs of
life, height of moral grandeur. The former are the
pride and glory of the forest; so are the latter of the
counties which comprise our great Commonwealth. Nature
and time have been from the beginning creating and de-
stroying both, but both are still living and flourishing.
And as the one is necessary for the mountains and the
valleys in respect to water and air and the intercourse of

mankind, so is the other necessary for the counties in re-
spect to government, growth, dignity, wealth and power.

Pennsylvania is a great State. She comprises a vast
area of territory, rich in forests, fields and mines, and
especially rich in internal improvements; and she is pos-
sessed by a magnificent people. She is proud of all these;
and she can well be proud, for her possessions are well
possessed. At the beginning of her history, her soil at-
tracted energy and industry. Through these she has been
developed to her present greatness, and these are still im-
proving her by an ever-increasing greatness. It was a
fortunate circumstance for her that such characteristics
first found lodgment on her territory; and fortunate, too,
that they transmitted their virtues, without wandering away,
from generation to generation. She still holds to herself
the blood of the first settlers. She is therefore distinctive-
ly Pennsylvanian in settlement, in growth, in wealth, and
in government. Her sons, to a very great degree, possess
all, control all. These constitute her great families. They
are all distinctive as they are conspicuous. They appear
in manufactures and trade as well as in agriculture ; and
they are as distinguished in jurisprudence as in legisla-

Pennsylvania was formed and named in 1683. Then
three counties were set apart — Bucks, Chester and Phila-
delphia. Within a score of years afterward a great feeling
in her behalf was developed, attributable mainly to the
wisdom and excellence of the policy of William Penn. It
induced hundreds, even thousands, to immigrate hither.
Upon landing, many proceeded northwardly and north-
westwardly. Settlements succeeded each other rapidly,



and, for convenience in local government, township or-
ganizations followed. For a period of forty-seven years,
no additional counties had been formed. Then settlers
began to formulate them. In 1729, Lancaster was erected :
in 1749, York; in 1750, Cumberland; in 1753, Berks and
Northampton; in 1771, Bedford; in 1772, Northumberland;
and in 1773, Westmoreland. These were erected in her
history as a colony of Great Britain. As an independent
State, they multiplied in rapid succession, numbering to
the present time fifty-six, or averaging nearly one every
other year. Altogether, the counties number sixty-seven.
In each of these counties, local history is dependent upon
families. Especially in the Provincial counties, prominent
historical facts are inseparable from their respective first
families. This feature is as plainly perceptible as the
mountain ridges which extend through their territory.

In the several respects mentioned, Berks county is con-
spicuous. Her first settlers began to establish themselves
along the Schuylkill river, several miles westward from the
Manatawny creek, between 1700 and 1705. This district of
territory did not then have a name. It was identified bv
being near the Manatawny. Now it is called Amity. It
has been so called since 1720. In 1713, settlers began to
locate in Oley. Then this district was so called. It in-
cluded a large area of territory, at least sixty thousand
acres. In Caernarvon, along the head-waters of the Con-
estoga, they began as early as 1730 ; along the Tulpehocken
in 1723, and along the Maiden creek in 1733. They took
up the lands, first by warrant and survey, then followed
by patent. They possessed and improved them by cultiva-
tion, and they generally remained upon them until their
decease, when they were transmitted by devise or con-
veyance to their children. In many instances they have
been handed down to the third, and fourth, even fifth

In the several quarters mentioned, east, south, west, and
north, the descendants of many of the first settlers are
still flourishing in number, in industry, in wealth, and in
social, religious, and political influence. In taking a
hasty glance over its broad territory, I can mention in the
eastern district, along the Manatawny and its tributaries,
the Baums, Bertolets, Boones, DeTurks, Egles, Griesemers,
Guldins, Hartmans, Herbeins, Hochs, Hunters, Kauffmans,
Keims, Knabbs, Lees, Leinbachs, Leshers, Levans, Lin-
colns, Lobachs, Ludwigs, Peters, Pottses, Reiffs, Rhoadses,
Ritters, Schneiders, Spangs, VanReeds, Yocums, Yoders,
Weavers,^ and Witmans ; and, on the border along the
headwaters of the Perkiomen, the Bauers, Bechtels, Ben-
fields, Boyers, Clemmers, Ehsts, Funcks, Gabels, Gerys, Greg-
orys, Reidenaurs, Rohrbachs, Rushes, Sassamans, Schalls,
Schultzes. Staufifers,Wagoners, Walters and Wellers ; in
the southern district along the Allegheny, play creek,
Little Conestoga, and Wyomissing, the Blands, Clymers,
Eschelmans, Evanses, Gauls, Geigers, Grings, Harrisons,
Huyetts, Joneses. Kurtzes, Morgans, Pennepackers, Planks,
Redcays, Robesons, Scarlets, Smiths and Ziemers ; in the
western district, along the Tulpehocken and its tributaries,
and the Little Swatara, the Adamses, Althouses, Batdorfs,
Bergers, Boeshores, Bordners. Brechts, Conrads, Eckerts,
Eplers, Deppens, Dimdores, Ermentrouts, Fishers, Fillers,
Frantzes, Groffs, Hains, Hiesters, Keysers, Kissingers.
Klingers, Kricks, Kurrs, Livingoods, Millers, Newcomets,
Obolds, Potteigers, Rebers. Reeds, Relirers, Riegels, Scharfs,
Seiberts, Seltzers, Shaeffers, Speichers, Spohns, Tryons, Um-
benhauers, Walborns, Weisers, Wenrichs, Wilhelms,
Womelsdorfs, and Zerbes; and, in the northern district,
along the Maiden creek and its tributaries, the Brobsts,
Davises, Dietrichs, Belongs, Dreibelbises, Dunkels, Ger-
nants, Greenawalds, Grims, Hahns, Heffners, Heinlys,
Hottensteins, Kaufifmans, Kaerchers, Kellers, Kemps, Kief-
fers, Kirbys, Kutzes, Leibys, Lenharts, Levans, Merkels,
Mertzes, Parvins, Penroses, Piersons, Prices, Rothenberg-
ers, Rothermels, Saylors, Schaeffers, Shalters, Shappels,
Shomos, Starrs, Trexlers, Wanners, Weilers, and Zach-
ariases. Others could be mentioned, but these, however,
stand out prominently iii the development of the county
from the first settlements of the several districts to the
present time.

The great majority of the descendants have continued
persistently engaged in agriculture upon or in the vicinity
of the original settlements. Some moved to other dis-
tricts of the county; others to Reading. Many sons and
daughters migrated to the West and settled, particularly in
Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, Kansas and Colorado.
Some of the sons turned to the professions — divinity,
law, and medicine, in which they shone with more or less

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 73 of 227)