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 74 of 227)
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distinction ; others to trades and manufactures, in which
they realized rich rewards for their industry and well-
directed energy. In tracing down all the pursuits of life
carried on in the county, it is only occasionally that a
complete stranger appears and identifies himself with her
onward movements for any considerable period of time.
This is especially the case in our politics. The names of
the old families are continually on the surface. Not par-
ticularly demonstrative, they are like expert swimmers in
deep water. They float onward majestically in the great
stream of time; their heads are always visible; their
endurance prevails.

In the development of the county through internal im-
provements, the turnpikes, canals, and railways, they are
likewise conspicuous. They began early, if not ahead of
time, not behind it. Their correspondence in reference to
the improvement of the Schuylkill river for navigation
began before 1770, and their enterprise brought coal to
light during the period of the Revolution. Transportation
and its facilitation were always encouraged by them. Some
opposition was develop^ed in the general endeavors to es-
tablish new motive power, as there is in most enterprises
everywhere; but they were successful. In laying them
down, they actually walked in the footsteps of their fath-
ers ; for the early settlers, in following the streams to
locate their settlements, marked out, as it were, the
courses for turnpikes, canals, and railways, which were
to come after them, to facilitate the business intercourse
of their children. In some respects, these improvements
were slow ; but a consideration of all things leads us to
the conviction that they came to us just when they were

In a political sense they have exhibited a persistent at-
tachment to one leading principle. At first they were
anti-Federal by a large majority. They opposed the great
pohtical movement whose object was the establishment of
a Federal government and constitution. They preferred
the right of States, as States united by a confederation, and
of local self-government. Of these rights they were firm
advocates, and though their political sentiments have been
transmitted through three generations of government of,
by, and for the people, and though party names have to a
great extent been transposed, they have preserved this
principle. Through this period, and through all the ex-
citement of party strife for power and policy, they have
been thoroughly patriotic. Now the great majority are
"Democrats," a political name created by partv leaders,
and by it they are known. But, in reality, with "them it is
not name; it is principle— it is self-government. This has
their devotion, their love, their admiration. If, in a hun-
dred years to come, party names should be re-transposed
to what they were a hundred vears ago, the succeeding
generations will neverthekss be found on the side of this
principle which was advocated and sustained bv their an-

This idea of local self-government won the first families,
and induced them to locate here. It was simple. They
soon understood it, and thev carried it on successfully in
their various local affairs, their children took to it natur-
ally, and naturally retained it. After the lapse of a cen-
tury, it is now a fixed idea with them. Education has
not changed it. The education, as dictated bv the State,
has not even changed it. But this educational policy is, how-
ever, making apparent one consequence — a general ten-
dency in many men for political preferment. It is produc-
mg many professional men of various kinds. All of them
manifest a desire at some period or other to serve the
State in one capacity or another. Of course, this is com-
mendable; the State expects it— she encourages it. But



are. they seeking preferment for emolument, or distinction
through earnest labor for the public weal? They obtain
the one with ease, because it is common, because the State
is generous. But they seldom obtain the other, because it
is not common — because it" is not the gift of the State ; it is
rather the gift of nature, improved by time and well-
directed efforts. As yet this principle of government in
them has not been affected. Its virtue still prevails. In
politics, therefore, as in agriculture and religion, the great
majority of these first families have preserved their
strength and greatness. This idea is not the notion .of
"State Rights," which the late Civil war settled. That
fallacious doctrine had not, in fact, their advocacy, though
they had been identified with the party that was led on by
certain leaders who claimed it as a most material part
of their political creed. They promptly denounced seces-
sion, and adrnirably sustained the National Government
in her gigantic efforts to preserve the union of all the
States. Their patriotism was then conspicuous as it had
theretofore been in all the military periods.

For upward of ten years the descendants of some
of the "First Families" above mentioned have
formed arid held "Reunions" at different places in
the county, which have developed not only great
interest in genealogy and genealogical research, but
also much sociability and acquaintanceship amongst
members of the respective families from all parts
of the county, indeed, from all parts of the United
States. The following families are among the more
prominent which have kept up their reunions with
muth success and are therefore worthy of special
mention :

Baer. — The Baer family of Berks and surround-
ing counties is one of the very large families, which
has had large annual gatherings since its reunion
was first organized, in 1899. The place of meeting
has been Kutztown Park, and the historian is Dr.
Samuel A. Baer, A. M., Ph. D., who with the aid
of assistants and secretaries has collected many
valuable records.

John, Melchior and Chri'stophel (or Stoffel)
Baer came -across the ocean on the ship "Phoenix"
in 1743. They settled in eastern Pennsylvania, and
their descendants number today several thousand.
The exact relationship between these three immi-
grants is uncertain, but the fact is established that
they came to America on one ship, settled in the
same section of the State, spoke the same language,
and adhered to the same religious faith. Some
think they were brothers, or at least close relatives.

Most of the Baers of Berks and Lehigh counties
claim John (or Hans) Baer as their ancestor. Be-
fore 1750, he settled in Weisenburg, which is now
in Lehigh county. He had four children: John,
Adam, Jacob, and Barbara (who married Henry
Fetter). John moved to Windsor township,
Berks county, and his descendants live in Hambui:g,
and Windsor, Perry and Bern townships.

Melchior Baer, the second of this trio of immi-
grants, settled at Macungie, Lehigh county, and had
several large farms. He had eight children, and
made special bequests to Melchior and Jacob.

Of these, Melchior Baer married Catharine Desch,
and they had ten children: David, Jacob, Polly,

Ehzabeth, Charles, George, Samuel, Henry, Susan
and Catharine.

Jacob Baer (son of Melchior, Sr.) likewise had
a numerous offspring. He had eleven children:
Rachel, George, Joseph, Melchior, Samuel, Susan,
Judith, Ephraim, Elizabeth, Manasses and Benjamin.

The third of the group of immigrant Baers was
Christophel Baer, who prior to his coming to Amer-
ica patented 560 acres of land in what is now White-
hall, Lehigh Co., Pa. liis history is complete. The
records at Easton show that he was a systematic
business man and possessed of great force of char-
acter. He was the great-grandfather of George F.
Baer, the ' distinguished lawyer and railroad presi-
dent. His family consisted of six children: Hein-
rich, Melchior, John, Salome, Apollonia and Jacob.

The Baer family traces its ancestors to Zwei-
briicken, Germany, where a place known for gener-
ations as "Baren JHiitte" ("Bruin's Rest") is still
pointed out. Tradition in connection with the home-
stead at Zweibriicken has it that one Peter von Baer,
in the distant past, married the daughter of a count
palatine, thus establishing rank. The family coat
of arms is in the possession of American descend-

The Baers have large reunions and render inter-
esting programs. They expect to have their reunion
incorporated and to publish a family history. The
following are their permanent officers :

President, Henry C. Baer, Reading, Pa.

Vice-Presidents, Rev. John B. Stoudt, Macungie, Pa.,
George E. Baer, Schwenkville, Pa.,
John P. Baer, AUentown, Pa.

Secretary, Fred N. Baer, Kutztown, Pa.

Treasurer, J. W. Baer, Phoenixville, Pa.

Historian, Dr. Samuel A. Baer, Graham, Va.

Beetolet. — The Bertolet family of Pennsylvania
was founded in Oley township, Berks county, by
two brothers, Peter (Pierre) and John (Jean)
Bertolet. The family in France has beeh for cen-
turies one of the highest and most honorable in
that country, many of the name having been dis-
tinguished" personages. They are of noble rank,
and the family seat was originally in Picardy. Dur-
ing, the Reformation the Bertolets were strongly
Protestant, and many, owing to Papist persecution,
took refuge in other lands. Some time during the
Revocation period a family of this name fled from
Picardy to Chateau d'Oex, in Switzerland, and to
it belonged the Peter and John who came to
Pennsylvania, the former in 1719, and the latter
in 1726. Both settled in Oley. The large old fam-
ily Bible brought to the New World was sold in
] 906 or 1907, at public vendue, to Sarah Bertolet, a
maiden lady of Oley, for $183. This valuable book
contains the family genealogy for several centuries.
The family is traced back to 1470.

In 1730 Peter Bertolet signed the petition for
the erection of Oley township. He died about 1727,
as is recited in an application for a patent of his
land in 1734. His wife Elizabeth and several chil-
dren survived him.



President, Charles Boyer, Tatamy, Pa.
Secretary, Jacob L. Drumheller, Reading, Pa.
Treasurer, Abraham Boyer, Schofer, Pa.
Historian, Dr. C. C. Boyer, Kutztown, Pa.

Croll. — The descendants of John Croll held their
fifth biennial reunion in Hancock Park in 1908. At
this reunion Martin S. Croll, of Topton (father of
William A. Croll, the present treasurer of Berks


in 1711 Jean Bertolet married Susanna, daughter Dr. Boyer's historical address at the last meeting

of Duke Henri De Harcourt (1653-1703), a gen- was a feature and gave evidence of careful research.

eral and marshal of France. Jean Bertolet, owing He has a deserved reputation for always domg

to political unrest and religious persecution, fled to things well.

Selz, in Alsace, where he was engaged in farming The officers of the reunion are as follows :
for fourteen years, during which time five of his
children were born. Thence he came to Pennsyl-
vania, locating in Oley, near the Exeter line. Here
in 1754 he built a large stone house which is still
standing and occupied by a descendant, David Ber-
tolet. On this original farm is a private Bertolet
burial-ground where many generations are buried.

Jean Bertolet was a man of great piety and benev- • -^ r,

olence. He prayed with the Indians and performed county), read a paper on the previous Croll

missionary work in his section among all classes unions, the first of which was held in 1895, being

of men that lived there. He was one of the first one of the very first meetings of this character in

Moravians of Oley, and was on terms of close in- this county. •

timacy with leading men of the church, especially The Crolls are descended from Phihp and Ulrich

Count Zinzendorf, who preached in his house in Croll, who came to this country on the same ship,

1741 and 1742. This noble man and pioneer died [^ 1728, on which Egidius Grim (the forebear of a

in 1754. He founded a numerous and honorable l^rge family) also emigrated.

posterity and many of his descendants have been John Croll, whose posterity held the reunions,

eminent in various walks of life, Bishop N. Bertolet ^-^g a descendant of Philip Croll. He was a son of

Grubb and Jacob Bertolet (deceased) being notable Joseph and Ehzabeth (Schlenker) Croll and was

examples. born in Greenwich in 1814, being of the third gen-

The family of Jean Bertolet was as follows : eration of American Crolls. The Grimville Church,

Abraham (1712-1776) married Esther De Turk; in Greenwich township, is mentioned in old docu-

Maria (1715-1802) married Stephen Barnett; John rnents as the "Crolle Kirche," so named after this

(1717-1789) married a daughter of Peter Pallio; family.

Esther (1720-1796) married Dr. George De Benne- Rev. P. C. Croll, A. M., in 1887, pubHshed "The

ville; Susanna (1722-1800) married Jacob Fry; Croll Family," a volume of 106 pages, as a souvenir

Frederick (1727-1779) married Esther, daughter of of the fiftieth anniversary of the marriage of John

Abraham Levan. and Catharine Croll.
The Bertolet family was one of the very first to

hold a reunion in the county. Its first gathering
was held in 1897 on ancestral grounds in Oley,
and annually since then at different popular places.
The eighth reunion was held at Carsonia Park in
1905. The officers of the Bertolet Family Associa-
tion are:

President, Levi A. Bertolette.
Vice-Presidents, Israel M. Bertolet,
Benjamin Bertolet.
Recording Secretary, Samuel E. Bertolet, Esq.
Corresponding Secretary, Daniel H. Bertolet.
Treasurer, Dr. Isaac B. Yeakel.

BoYER. — The Boyer Family Reunion of Berks
county was founded by Dr. Charles C. Boyer, A. M.,
Ph. D., of Kutztown, in 1907, having then held its
first reunion in Kutztown and the second at the
Black Bear Inn (near Reading) in 1908. Both
reunions were very largely attended and proved a
success in every way.

The historian, Dr. Boyer, of Kutztown, is a man
of cultured mind, energetic and indefatigable, and
his researches will undoubtedly result in the produc-
tion of a concise history of the "Boyer Family in
.-\merica." Its history dates back to ancient times,
and is traced to many countries. The name is

DeLong. — The DeLong family of Berks county
was founded here by Peter DeLong, who was a
pioneer of the county and a settler in Maxatawny
township, near Bowers Station. He was a free-
holder of Maxatawny prior to 1745 and his
neighbor was Henry Luckenbill. Peter DeLong
lived near the present Christ Reformed (DeLong's)
church, at the place later owned by Reuben
Grim. He died about 1760, and his remains
rest at the church named after his descendants. He
reared a family of seven children, namely: John,
Henry, Jacob, Michael, Abraham, Barbara and

The DeLong family is most numerous in Maxa-
tawny township. It is thrifty and thoroughly rep-
resentative of the pioneer stock of this region. Its
members have been holding reunions since 1900,
with interesting proceedings. The sixth meeting
was held at Kutztown Park in 1906, and the his-
torical address on this occasion was delivered by
Rev. Preston A. DeLong, of Chambersburg. Ad-
dresses were also delivered by Rev. William^ F.
DeLong, of Annville, and Richard J. DeLong, of

At the third reunion Rev. John F. DeLong de-
ivered an able address on the pioneer, who came

variously spelt. The historian has prepared fam-
ily charts and trees of the different branches which to Berks county from Ulster county, New York,
were on exhibition at the reunion in 1908. The officers of the reunion are :



President, Joseph DeLong, Topton, Pa.

Secretary, Irwin DeLong, Topton, Pa.

Treasurer, A. F. DeLong, Kutztown, Pa.

Executive Committee, Dr. W. D. DeLong.
James DeLong,
Rev. Calvin M. DeLong,
Solomon DeLong,
Martin S. CroU,
Rev. William F. DeLong.

DiEROLF. — The fourth annual reunion of this
family was held at Bechtel's Park, near Gabelsville,
July 24, 1909, and over three hundred descendants
were present from Boyertown, Reading, and other
places in Berks county, also from Pennsburg, East
Greenville, Harrisburg and other places in Pennsyl-
vania. The following officers were elected :

President, John H. Dierolf, Barto, Pa.

Vice-Presidents, John Strunk, Gilbertsville, Pa.,

Samuel Dierolf, East Greenville, Pa.

Secretaries, Mrs. Henry Mertzler,

Benjamin dinger, Potts^own, Pa.,
Ammon Dierolf, Wyomissing, Pa.,
Francis Saltzer, Pottstown, Pa.,
William Derolf,- Gilbertsville, Pa.

Corresponding Secretary, Levan Dierolf.

Treasurer, William Dierolf.

Dietrich. — The Dietrich family held its first re-
union at Lenhartsville, Pa., Sept. 26, 1903. This
meeting was well attended and much interest was
manifested. A permanent organization was effected,
and at the instance of the founder, William J. Diet-
rich, the name "Dietrich Family Association" was
adopted. The second reunion was held in Kutztown
Park in 1904, more than two thousand five hundred
people being present — ^reputed to have been the
largest family gathering ever held in Pennsylvania.
Eight States and the Dominion of Canada were
represented. At the third reunion, held in Kutz-
town Park in 1906, over three thousand people were
in attendance. Seventeen States, as well as Canada
and Mexico, were represented. "The Dietrichs in
Europe and America," an address by Rev. W. W.
Deatrick, A. M., Sc. D., was a feature at this
gathering. This Family Association is not merely
a local organization, but it has members in most of
the States of the Union. It has been the means of
arousing much enthusiasm in the matter of re-
unions of other families and of stimulating research
into family genealogy.

The Dietrichs trace their origin to Dietrich Von
Bern, 454-526, the Champion of Civilization, and
King of the Ostrogoths in southern Europe. Mern-
bers of the family were leaders in the Crusades, in
peace and in war, and in the Reformation, they
helped to make history. The Dietrichs are promi-
nently mentioned in the annals of Germany, and six
distinct families in the German Empire have coats
of arms.

The association, having collected considerable
data, has nearly complete records of the following
immigrant forebears: Johannes, Adam, John Lud-
wig, Elias and John Jacob Dietrich.

The Dietrichs of Berks county are descendants
of Johannes, Adam and Conrad Dietrich.

Johannes Dietrich came to America on the ship
"Phoenix" in 1751, and about 1760 settled in Green-

wich township, where he died in 1785, in which
year his widow, Barbara, took out letters of admin-
istration. They had three sons: Johannes, Jacob
and John Adam. The first two located in the upper
end of this State, and John Adam lived and died
in Greenwich township, where he was a farmer. His
wife Susanna Arnold bore him twelve children, as
follows: Maria, Rebecca, Jacob, Isaac, EHzabeth,
Annie, Gideon, Adam, Moses, Rufena, Catharine
and Reuben.

Adam Dietrich (1740-1817), a brother of Johan-
nes, crossed the ocean on the "Britannia," landing
at Philadelphia, Oct. 26, 1767. He was accompanied
by his brother, Casper Dietrich, who first located in
Northampton county. Pa., and some time after the
Revolutionary war settled in Virginia. Adam Diet-
rich was a sergeant in Capt. Jacob Baldy's Company
in the Revolutionary war. He located in Maxa-
tawny first, but later because of good water settled
in Greenwich township. He was a farmer. His
wife, Maria Barbara Steinbruch, bore him the fol-
lowing twelve children: Adam, Georg, Maria Bar-
bara (married Johannes Zimmerman), Catharine
married Rev. Johann Michael Schmidt), Jacob,
Michael, Heinrich, Johan, a daughter that died in
infancy. Christian, Polly (Maria Magdalena) (mar-
ried a Becker), and Beckie (Anna Margaret) (mar-
ried Jacob Heffner).

Conrad Dietrich (1763-1841) was born in Balti-
more, Md., and came to Berks county, locating in
Hereford township. Here he married Elizabeth
Seisholtz, from Longswamp township. About 1795
he and his family came to Reading, where he died
and is buried. The following are four of their nine
children: George, Jacob, Susan (married Henry
Fry), and Conrad (born 1798, died 1861, who had
sons Conrad and William H., the latter now living
in Reading).

The Dietrich Family Association is a flourishing
organization. Its success in large measure is due
to the efforts of the founder. The officers are :

President, Lawson G. Dietrich, Esq., Kutztown, Pa.
Vice-President, Henry O. K. Dietrich, Lenhartsville, Pa.
Secretary, William J. Dietrich, Reading, Pa.
Treasurer, Daniel F. Dietrich, Reading, Pa.
Executive Comndttee, Mahlon C. Dietrich, Kempton, Pa.,
Rev. W. W. Deatrick, Kutztown,

C. H. Dietrich, Hopkinsville, Ky.,
Jonathan P. Dietrich, Klinesvill^

C. Joseph Dietrich, La Grange, 111.,
Charles H. Dietrich, Kutztown,

A. M. Dederick, Albany, N. Y.,
Samuel Detrick, Sunbury, Pa.,
Harry A. Dietrich, South Bethle-
hem, Pa.,
Joel D. Dietrich, Virginville, Pa.,
Dr. Charles J. Dietrich, Reading,

The Association has also ten active Assistant Sec-
retaries. An illustrated pamphlet, really a finely
gotten up souvenir program, contains a history of
the Association, names of its officers, and the names
and dates of emigration of the sixty-two immi-



grants; also a copy of the coat of arms with an ex-
planation of same.

Dries. — ^The Dries family held its first reunion
in 1906, in Kutztown Park. It hails from the
upper end of the county. The ancestor is said
to have settled in Albany township. The second
reunion was held in 1908, also at Kutztown. Be-
sides a large number of vice-presidents and assist-
ant secretaries, the following are officers :

President, Worths A. Dries, Kutztown, Pa.
Vice-President, James C. Driess, Oley, Pa.
Secretary, Charles A. Dries, Maiden-creek, Pa.
Manager, W. A. Dries, Reading, Pa.
Historian, J. Heber Dries, Molltown, Pa.

Fisher-Hartman. — The Fisher-Hartman fami-
lies hold joint reunions because of the inter-mar-
riages of their members. They hold annual meetings
at Boyertown, Pa. They have succeeded in collect-
ing many records. Their first meeting was held in
1907, and the second on Labor Day, 1908. The
officers of the Association are:

President, George W. Hartman.
Vice-President, Charles T. Davies.
Treasurer. George H. Hartman.
Secretary, P. Henry Fisher.
Historian, William Kehl.

Furry. — John Furry, a native of Europe, came to
America in 1727. In 1744 he located in Tulpe-
hocken township, Berks county, on a tract of 346
acres of land. He had two sons and two daughters,
namely: Michael, John, Rosina (wife of Henry
Berger) and Catharine (wife of Leonard Emerich).

John Furry, son of the forebear, settled on the
west side of the Susquehanna river. Four sons
and two daughters were born to him, the sons being
as follows : John, Jonas, Lawrence and Henry. The
first three upon their return from a grist-mill at
Sunbury, Pa., found to their horror that the Oneida
Indians had killed and scalped their parents and
two sisters, and also burned down the house and
taken a horse with them. The youngest son,
Henry, they took with them to Canada, where he
was afterward found. The three brothers buried
their parents and sisters under an apple tree and
came to Reading where some of the posterity now

The family held the first reunion in 1904 and the
fourth at Carsonia Park in 1908. The officers are :

President, Henry S. Furry, of Reading, Pa.
Vice-President, John C. Furry, New Cumberland, Pa.
Secretary, G. H. Furry, Coopersburg, Pa.
Treasurer, Ulysses Furry, Bethlehem, Pa.
Executive Committee, Thomas Furry, Lionville, Pa.,

Harry and William Furry, Leban-
on, Pa.,
D. C. Furry, Newmanstown, Pa.,
Mrs. Charles Furry, Lebanon, Pa.,
Mrs. Adam Furry, Richland, Pa.,
Mrs. Sallie Stephens, Allentown,

Mrs. Jennie Shunk, Phoenixville,

Gery. — The Gery family, numerous in Plereford
township, Berks county, and in Montgomery county,

where the forebear settled before the middle half
of the eighteenth century, has been holding annual
meetings since 1908. The last reunion of the family
was held at Siesholtzville. The family traces its
history to one Jacob Geary (Gery), who was a
redemptioner, and came into the Griesemer family
to work out his passage. Later he married his
master's daughter, and they reared a family whose
descendants are now many, scattered over Berks,
Montgomery and Lehigh counties. The officers are :

President, Irvin C. Gery, Siesholtzville, Pa.
Vice-President, William H. Sallada, Hereford, Pa.

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 74 of 227)