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 79 of 227)
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this time he had acquired a considerable knowledge of the
Mohawk language, and while at home he increased this
knowledge by acting as interpreter between the German
settlers of that vicinity and the Mohawk Indians. The
settlers having been disturbed in their possessions, Conrad
Weiser's father and a number of others migrated to Pena.-
sylvania. They located in Tulpehocken in the spring of
1723,, in the midst of the Indians; and there they also
commenced the improvement of the land without permis-
sion from the land commissioners. The Indians com-
plained but the settlers were not disturbed. Subsequently
the Indians released their rights and about 1733 they re-
moved beyond the Blue Mountains.

Conrad Weiser was married to a young woman of
Schoharie in 1720 . He continued at that place till 1729,
when with his wife and five children he removed to the
Tulpehoc ken settlement, locating on a tract of land near
the present borough of Womelsdorf. Shortly after his
arrival, his ability and success as an Indian interpreter
became known to the Provincial government, and the
Governor employed him iri negotiation with the Indians.
His first services in this capacity were performed in 1731,
and from that time for nearly thirty years he was almost
constantly engaged in this important work. He assisted
at numerous treaties, and in the published proceedings
of these treaties his name appears prominently. His in-
tegrity was particularly recognized and publicly compli-
mented.

He was one of the most prominent men in the French
and Indian War. His numerous letters indicate his zeal,
courage and patriotism. He served in the war as a colonel,
and his services were of great value to the government
and to the people of Berks county.

The first proceedings for the erection of Berks county
were instituted in 1738. In this behalf Mr. Weiser was
very active, and he continued active till the county was
established in 1752. The town of Reading was laid out by
thePenns in 174 8, and in the s ale of the town lots M r.
Weiser acted as one of the'co m missioners. He was
prominently identified with the first movements" in building
up the town, and in developing the business interests of
the place.

The Governor of the Province, in 1741, appointed him
as a justice of the peace, and he filled this office for a
. number of years. When the county was erected in
1752, he was appointed one of the first judges. He acted
as president judge of the courts till his decease in 1760.
He lived at Reading mostly during the latter part of his
' life.

Conrad Weiser died on his Heidelberg farm J ul y 13 .
1760 , and his remains were buried in a private burying-
ground on the place, where they have remained since.
He left a widow and seven children: five sons, Philip,
Frederick, Peter, Samuel and Benjamin; and two daugh-
ters, Maria (m. Rev. H^ry Melchior Muhlenberg) and
Margaret (im. a Finker ). He was possessed" of a large
estate, consisting of properties at Reading, and lands in
Heidelberg township and in the region of country beyond
the Blue Mountains. In Heidelberg he owned a tract
which included the privilege of a "Court-Baron," granted
to him in 1743, the tract having originally contained 5,165



acres as granted to John Page in 1735, and having then
been erected into a manor, called the "Manor of Plum-
'°"'j ■^^ Reading one of his properties was a business
stand, and it has continued to be a prominent business
location from that time till now, a period embracing over
150,years.

For upward- of fifty years, various unsuccessful efforts
were made in behalf of erecting a suitable memorial to
Conrad Weiser. In 1892 and 1893, the compiler of this
history delivered a lecture before local teachers' institutes
m different parts of the county entitled "Life and Times
of Conrad Weiser" for the purpose of securing a memo-
rial, and the Reading Board of Trade led the school
authorities of the county to set aside November 2, 1893,
for observance by the teachers and scholars as "Weiser
Day," and to facilitate this observance 3500 copies of the
lecture were distributed gratuitously to all the schools of
the city and county. It was not until October 30, 1907,"
that a modest tablet was placed in the west wall of
the Stichter Hardware Store on Penn Square by the
Historical Society ol Berks County, which reads as fol-
lows :

Posterity Will Not Forget His Services.— Washington.

In Memory of
COL. CONRAD WEISER,

pioneer, soldier, diplomat, judge, as interpreter and

indian agent pie negotiated every treaty

from 1732 until near the close of

the french and indian war.

the weiser building, where he often met "
the indians
in conference, was erected by him
on this site in 1751.

born in germany in 1696, arrived

in berks in 1729, died

in 1760, near womelsdorf, where

his remains are buried.

his unswerving honesty set a shining

example to

future generations. — under the auspices of the

historical society of berks county this

tablet was erected in 1907 by the

school children of the county.

We append the autograph of this noted pioneer :



/^>-?^xJ>'*-^^-<y ;^^^.<.c#^



<e><.<^('S^i^






WILLIAM MUHLENBERG HIESTER, son of the
celebrated physician. Dr. Isaac Hiester, was born in Read-
ing, May 15, 1818. His maternal grandfather was Gen.
Peter Muhlenberg, of Revolutionary fame. His mother,
Hetty Muhlenberg, died in 1872, at the advanced age of
eighty-eight years. He received a preparatory training
at the West Nottingham Academy in Maryland, and sub-
sequently entered .Bristol College in Pennsylvania, gradu-
ating in 1837, in the second and last class of graduates
from that institution. He read law in the office of Judge
Banks, attended a course of lectures in the Law Depart-
ment df Harvard College, and was admitted to the Bar
at Reading, Jan. 7, 1840. The honorary degree of A. M.
was conferred upon him in 1843 by Harvard College. He
practised his profession four years in Erie, Pa., in 1845
returning to Reading,' and associating himself with the
Hon. Henry A. Muhlenberg, and soon acquired a large
practice. In 1853 he was elected by the Democratic party
as a member of the State Senate, and served until 1855,
taking foremost rank among the Democratic members.
At the opening, of the session of 1855, after an exciting



333



HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY. PENNSYLVANIA



contest, he was elected speaker of the Senate on the
twenty-seventh ballot. His career as speaker was dig-
nified, firm and impartial. In January, 1858, he was
appointed secretary of the Commonwealth by Gov. Wil-
liaili F. Packer, and continued in that office during the
administration of three years. He supported Stephen
A. Douglas for President of the United States in the
campaign of 1860, but subsequently earnestly advocated
the administration of Abraham Lincoln and was a warm
friend of the Union. In the summer of 1863, when Penn-
sylvania was being invaded by General Lee, Mr. Hiester
■was appointed by Gov. Curtin one of the mustering offi-
cers, with the rank of major, to muster in troops that
volunteered for ninety days' service, in response to the
Governor's proclamation of June 26, 1863, calling for sixty
thousand men. He was assigned to duty at the tem-
porary rendezvous on the Agricultural Fair Grounds at
Reading, which, in compliment to him, was designated
Camp Hiester. In the execution of his military com-
mission he mustered into the State service eight full
regiments of volunteers, comprising an aggregate force
of eight thousand men. After the war he supported the
Republican party, and in 1864 was the Republican candi-
date for Congress in the Berks county District. After
this event, he retired from participation in public affairs,
and devoted his attention to the benevolent and business
interests of his native city. He was a director in the
Reading Library Company, in the Charles Evans Cem-
etery Company and the Reading Gas Company, and a
liberal supporter of the public and private charities of
the city. He died in Reading Aug. 16, 1878, leaving a
widow and a son Isaac, who is a practising attorney
at Reading.

JACOB SALLADE, son of Andreas and Eva (Schmidt)
Sallade, was born at Womelsdorf (Middletown) July
13, 1789, and there educated. He was employed for a
time as clerk in a general store of a brother of Gover-
nor Shulze, at that place, and also officiated as justice
of the peace. In 1824 he received from Governor Shulze
(with whom he was upon intimate terms, they having
been brought up together in the same town) the appoint-
ment of clerk of the Orphans' Court and clerk of the
Court of Quarter Sessions, and then he removed to Read-
ing. He held these offices for three years, after which he
filled the office of prothonotary for three years — from
1826 to 1829 — by appointment also from Governor Shulze.
During the next ten years he was engaged in the general
merchandise business at Reading, and he also served as a
justice of the peace for a time.

In 1839 Gov. Joseph Ritner appointed him surveyor-
general, and he continued to serve in this position for
six years. During that time he resided at Harrisburg,
and he died there shortly after his term expired. His re-
mains were brought to Reading and buried in the Charles
Evans cemetery. He was a man of fine personal appear-
ance and enjoyed much popularity during his official career.

Mr. Sallade married Susanna Mayer and they had
seven children, Maria Catharine, Andrew M. (an attorney
at Reading), Charles M., Sarah, Susanna, Rebecca and
Jacob M'. (an attorney at Reading).

GOV. JOHN ANDREW SHULZE was not a resi-
dent of Berks county when elected Governor, but his birth
and earlier life in the county entitle him to a place in this
work. He was born in Tulpchocken township, Berks
county, July 19, 1775, son of Rev. Christian Shulze, a
Lutheran clergyman. His mother was Eve Elizabeth
Muhlenberg, the oldest daughter of Rev. Henry Alelchior
Muhlenberg. He was liberally educated in the ministry,
and regularly ordained as a minister in 1796, and he as-
sisted his father for eight years in the discharge of pas-
toral duties to several congregations in Berks, Lebanon
and Lancaster counties. Owing to a rheumatic affection,
he was obliged to relinquish preaching in 1804. He then
moved to Myerstown, then in Dauphin county, and pur-
sued the business of merchant. In 1806 he was elected
a member of the State Legislature, and afterward twice re-



elected, serving his constituents with distinction for three
terms. In 1813, upon the erection of Lebanon county,
he was appointed to fill the office of prothonotary, in
which he continued for eight years. In 1821 he was
again elected to the Legislature, and in 1822 he was
chosen senator, to represent the Senatorial district com-
posed of Dauphin and Lebanon counties. Whilst serving
as a senator he received the Democratic nomination for
Governor, and was elected by a majority of 25,706 over
Andrew Gregg, the Federal candidate; and in 1826 he
was re-elected governor with little opposition. In 1829
he was again brought out as a candidate, but for the sake
of harmony in the party he withdrew, and George Wolf
was nominated and elected. Whilst acting as Governor
he had the honor of tendering the courtesies of the State
to General LaFayette, who was then upon his celebrated
tour through the country. His administration of the
affairs of the State government during his official career
was distinguished for integrity, wisdom and statesman-
ship.

During President Jackson's opposition against the Bank
of the United States, Governor Shulze left the Demo-
cratic party. But he was not active in political life after
his retirement from the office of governor excepting on
one occasion, in 1840, when he was a member of the Har-
risburg Whig convention, which nominated General Har-
rison for President. In this connection he ran as a
Senatorial elector upon the Harrison ticket, and was
elected, and afterward officiated as president of the State
Electoral College.

Upon retiring from office he removed to Lycoming
county, where he continued to reside until 1846. During
that period he was engaged in certain extensive specu-
lations in this great and enterprising county, but he was
not successful in them. Then he moved to Lancaster,
where he continued to reside till his death, Nov. 18, 1852.
He -was a superior man, and he enjoyed the high esteem
of his fellow-citizens for his many excellent personal
and social characteristics. He was one of the few really
prominent men whom this county has produced. His pre-
decessor in the gubernatorial chair of this State was
Joseph Hiester, who was elected to this high office from
Berks couiity.

GEORGE EGE was born March 9, 1748, and died
Dec. 14, 1829, aged eighty-one years, nine months. During
his long and active business career he was extensively
known as the largest landowner of his time in Berks
county, and prominently identified with the iron interests
of the county for a period of half a century. In 1774
he purchased an interest in Charming Forge for eight
hundred and thirty-eight pounds. Nine months later he
bought the remaining interest for one thousand six hundred
and sixty-three pounds, and became its sole owner and man-
ager. In 1804 he built and operated Schuylkill County
Forge, near Port Clinton, then in Berks, now in Schuyl-
kill county. At that time he was possessed of the fol-
lowing landed estates : Charming Forge, with four thous-
and acres; Reading Furnace, with six thousand acres;
Schuylkill Forge, with six thousand acres ; and four large
farms in Tulpehocken and Heidelberg townships, embrac-
ing one thousand acres. The names of these farms were
"Spring," "Sheaff," "Leiss" and "Richards." In 1824 the
assessed value of his personal and real estate was three
hundred and eighty thousand dollars. During the Revo-
lutionary war he was an ardent patriot, and in 1783 was '
a member of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania. In
1791 he was appointed one of the first associate judges
of Berks county under the Constitution of 1790, and
served continuously with marked ability until 1818, a pe-
riod of twenty-eight years, when he resigned the position
to devote himself exclusively to his extensive business
interests. He died at his home at Charming Forge, in
Marion township, Berks county, and his remains were
interred in the cemetery of Womelsdorf.

Judge Ege married Elizabeth Oberfeldt, of Amboy, N.
J., by whom he had three children, George, Rebecca and
Michael, There are no descendants of George now liv-



BIOGRAPHICAL



333



ing; Rebecca married Joseph Old and died without issue;
Michael married Maria Margaretta Shulze, daughter of
Rev. Mr. Shulze, pastor of Tulpehocken church. One of
the grandchildren of Michael and Margaretta Ege, Har-
riet, married John Ermentrout, and lived at_ Reading to
an advanced age.

CHARLES EVANS, founder of the superb cemetery at
Reading which bears his name, was born in Philadelphia
March 30, 1768. His parents were David Evans, of
Philadelphia, and Letitia Thomas, of Radnor, both mem-
bers of the Society of Friends. He received a good edu-
cation, and when twenty years of age, entered the office
of Benjamin Chew, Esq., a distinguished lawyer at Phila-
delphia, for the purpose of reading law. He was admitted
to the Bar in June, 1791, and two months afterward went
to Reading to practice law. In his profession he was
faithful, capable and diligent. He continued in active
business till 1828, and then retired with an ample for-
tune. In 1846 he founded the Charles Evans Cemetery,
situated in Reading, and estajilished it firmly by large
donations of money and grants of property. He died
Sept. 5, 1847, and was buried in the cemetery of his en-
dowment. He married Mary Keene, daughter of Reynold
Keene and Christiana Stille, his wife, both of Philadelphia.
He was the first philantrophist at Reading. Strange to
say, notwithstanding this incentive to others who have
been engaged in business at Reading . and accumulated
fortunes, not a single individual since then has been moved
to make a similar gift, donation or grant for a public
cause.

GEN. JACOB BOWER, prominent Revolutionary hero
and county official of Berks county, was born at Reading
in September, 1757. When eighteen years old, he enlisted
in the stirring cause of the Revolution, becoming sergeant
in the company of Capt. George Nagel (the first com-
pany raised at Reading). He marched with this company
to Cambridge, Mass., in July, 1775, and participated in the
first battles for freedom in that vicinity. In July, 1776,
he became captain of a company of the "Flying Camp" in
the Pennsylvania line; and he afterward served as captain
of different companies in the Continental line, until the
close of the war for independence, in 1783. He was one
of the American officers who organized the General So-
ciety of the Cincinnati, May 13, 1783, in the Cantonment
of the Hudson river ; and he was one of the original mem-
bers in the formation of the Pennsylvania State Society
of the Cincinnati, which convened at Philadelphia, Oct.
4, 1783.

When the war was over, Captain Bower returned to
Reading. After serving for some years as a clerk in the
county offices, the Governor selected him to fill various
local positions, in which he was active for some ten years,
serving as sheriff from 1788 to 1790; as county com-
missioner, 1790-1793; as recorder, registrar and clerk of
the Orphans' Court, 1793-1798; and as county auditor
from 1799 to 1800. He was also delegated by the Governor
in 1793 to act as one of the commissioners in the establish-
ing of a branch bank of Pennsylvania at Reading.

Immediately after the Revolution, a complete system
of militia was organized in Pennsylvania, and Captain
Bower, on account of his former services, was selected
as major of the 1st Regiment, Pennsylvania Militia, in
Berks county. He kept up an active interest in the mili-
tary affairs of the country until his decease. He partici-
pated also in the war of 1813-15, serving as brigadier-
general of the 1st Brigade, 6th Division, Pennsylvania
Militia, by appointment of Governor Snyder. During the
trying winter of 1777-78 at Valley Forge, General Bower
was stationed there and his "Orderly Book," in which
he kept a record of the transactions of the officers from
April 9, 1778, to June 17, 1778, is an interesting relic, con-
sisting of two small volumes, and is still in the posses-
sion of the family.

General Bower resided at Reading until after 1800, when
he removed to Womelsdorf, and he died at the latter



place, Aug. 3, 1818. The following obituary appeared in
the Berks and Schuylkill Journal, published at Reading,
Aug. 8, 1818:

"Died at Womielsdorf, in this county, on Monday last,
after a tedious and severe illness, aged sixty-one years,
Gen. Jacob Bower. The deceased was a faithful and
active officer during the whole of the Revolutionary war.
He sacrificed at the shrine of Liberty a large patrimony,
but, like many other veterans of the Revolution, was
doomed to feel the stings of adversity in his old age."

Gen. Bower married Rebecca Wood, daughter of Col.
Joseph and Mary (Scull) Wood, the latter of Phila-
delphia. Colonel Wood died from wounds received at
Fort Ticonderoga, in the Revolution. To this union were
born six children. Among the many descendants still
living are: Mr. Robert Scott Bower, of Philadelphia; Dr.
William Bower and Mr. Addison Bower, of Myerstown,
Pa.; Col. Thomas Potter, Jr., Quartermaster-General of
Pennsylvania; Hon. William Potter, President of Jeffer-
son Medical College of Philadelphia and ex-United States
Minister to Italy; Mr. Charles A. Potter, of Philadelphia;
and Col. Henry A. Potter and Mrs. -Stephen Jones Meeker,
of Orange, N. J. We present General Bower's autograph
herewith.




The father of General Bower and the ancestor of this
prominent family of Pennsylvania was Conrad Bower, a
pioneer settler of Reading, who became one of the city's
largest property holders. He married Catherine Hoover,
and they had the following children : Jacob ; George ;
Catherine, m. John Spohn ; Barbara, m. Henry Miller;
Susanna, m. John Truckenmiller ; and Eve, m. Michael
Harvey. After the (Jeath of Conrad Bower in 1765, in
the following year, his widow became the second wife of
Michael Bright, a man of substance, and she died in
1814.

JEREMIAH HAGENMAN, third elected President
Judge of Berks county, from 1875 to 1889, was born at
Phoenixville, Pa., Feb. 6, 1830. He obtained a preparatory
education in the schools of that town, and when sixteen
years of age engaged in teaching; then he removed to
Reading, where he entered the public schools and prose-
cuted higher branches of study till he was nineteen years
old. He then began the study of law under Peter Filbert,
Esq., teaching occasionally while pursuing his legal
studies, and was admitted to the Bar April 7, 1842. He
opened an office, and soon entered upon an active prac-
tice, which he conducted successfully for seventeen years,
when he was elected additional law judge of Berks
county. In 1875, upon the elevation of the Hon. Warren
J. Woodward to the Supreme Bench of the State, he was
promoted to the office of president judge, and in 1879
he was re-elected for another term of ten years. The
attorneys always appreciated his courtesy on the Bench,
and the younger attorneys found him possessed of a kindly
spirit and great indulgence. He became interested in
politics soon after his admission to the Bar, and was
prominently identified with the movements of the Demo-
cratic party from 1850 till 1869. He attended many State
Conventions as a delegate ; and in 1868 was a delegate to
the Democratic National Convention. In 1850 he was
elected the first district attorney (under the act then
passed creating the office), and after serving three years
was elected for a second term. The public school affairs
of Reading received his earnest attention for nearly forty



334



HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



years, he having first become a director about 1846. He
advocated the erection of more commodious and attrac-
tive school buildings; and in 1865 he first suggested the
practicability of heating the buildings by heaters m the
cellars He served the county commissioners as solicitor
for a number of years. About 1860 he was instrumental
in having them to allow half of the court fines to be
appropriated toward establishing a Law Library for the
Bench and Bar in the court-house. John S. Richards,
Esq., an attorney at the Bar, suggested the idea. Sub-
sequently legislation was obtained allowing this to be done,
and a Law Library Association became incorporated.

In 1850 Judge Hagenman married Louisa A. Bo3'er,
daughter of George Boyer, who was a descendant of one
of the first families in the county and a prominent mem-
ber of Trinity Lutheran congregation, having taken an
active part in the erection of its church building in 1791.
They had one son, George F. Hagenman, a practising
attorney at the Reading Bar, who was killed in the
Honda wreck, in California, May 11, 190?. Judge Hagen-
man died March 6, 1904, and his wife in 190—.

EDWARD B. HUBLEY was born at Reading in 1792,
son of Joseph Hubley, a practising attorney of the Berks
county Bar. He studied law with his father and was
admitted to the Bar April 5, 1830. After practising at
Reading for a while he moved to Orwigsburg, then the
county-seat of Schuylkill county, and there continued
his profession for a number of years. He represented
that district in Congress for two terms, from 1835 to
]839, He held the appointment of canal commissioner of
this State for several years, under Gov. David R. Porter,
and acted as a commissioner of Indian affairs under
President Polk. In all these positions he discharged his
duties with ability and fidelity, .\bout 1848 he returned
to Reading and continued to reside here for eight years ;
he then removed to Philadelphia, and died there shortly
afterward, Feb. 2?>, 1856. aged sixty-four years. He mar-
ried Catharine Spayd, eldest daughter of Judge Spayd.

GEN. DAVID McMURTRIE GREGG, one of the most
distinguished and widely known residents of the city of
Reading, occupies an enviable place in the esteem of the
people of the county and State as one of the best and
most efficient officers from Pennsylvania in the Civil War.
Educated at West Point and trained by actual experience
in the United States regular army for a number of years,
he was fully prepared to perform his part in preserving
the Union. And in thus acting the part of a patriotic



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 79 of 227)