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

. (page 80 of 227)
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 80 of 227)
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son of the nation, he rose to a high- rank, creditable
alike to his early training and his natural ability as a
director and leader of men. General Gregg served during
the entire war, and won promotion after promotion, be-
ing finallv breveted Major General U. S. Volunteers, Aug.
1, 1864.

General Gregg was born in Huntingdon, Pa., April 10,
1833, son of Matthew Duncan and Ellen (McMurtrie)
Gregg. On both sides of the house he comes of an-
cestors of whose records in civil and military life he
may well be proud. The Gregg, Potter, McMurtrie and
Elliott families, from whom General Gregg is directly
descended, all settled in the colony of Pennsylvania at a
very early date, and had much to do with the develop-
ment and improvement of the Keystone State. The first
Gregg ancestor of whom there is any sure knowledge
was David Gregg, who was born at Ayrshire, Scotland,
about 1630. He was a Captain in Cromwell's army in
1655, and was within the walls of Londonderry during
the great siege of D 688-89 as a faithful supporter of the
Prince of Orange, Wilham III., against the exiled King
of England, James TI. Both David and his son John,
who was born near Londonderry in 1665, were killed by
a party of Roman Catholics in one of the conflicts that
were constantly occurring between the Orangemen and
the Romanists in the North of Ireland.

John Gregg's two sons, David and .^ndrew, and their
sister Rachel, Mrs. Solomon Walker, and her husband,
came to America in 1726, first settling in New Hamp-



shire, where David remained. Andrew and Mr. Walker,
becoming dissatisfied, left there and landing at Newcastle,
Del., finally located on a tract at Chestnut Level, Lancaster
county, Pa. In 1748, he purchased and moved to a
plantation near Carlisle, where he remained until his
death, that event occurring in 1789. His first wife having
died at Chestnut Level, leaving six children, he married
Jean Scott (1725-1783). To the second union were born
Andrew and Matthew.

Andrew Gregg, grandfather of General Gregg, was
born June 10, 1755, near Carlisle, Pa., and died May 30,
1835, at Bellefonte, Pa. He received his eary training at
Rev. John Steel's Latin school in Carlisle, and completed
his education at Newark, Del. While a resident of that
place he served a considerable period in the militia of the
Revolution. In 1779, he accepted a tutorship in a col-
lege, now the University of Pennsylvania. In 1787 he
married Martha Potter, daughter of General James Pot-
ter, and in 1789 removed to Penn's Valley, Center county.
In 1791, he was elected to the Lower House of Con-
.gress, and remained a mernber until 1807, when he was
chosen United States Senator, his term of office ending
in 18] 3. In 1820, he was appointed Secretary of the State
of Pennsylvania by Gov. Joseph Fliester. and in 1823
was nomin.ited for Governor on the Federal ticket in
opposition to John Andrew Shulze, but was defeated in
the ensuing election. There were born to Andrew Gregg
and wife. Martha Potter, ten children, as follows: Mary
married William McLanahan; Jean m. Roland Curtin (of
their children, Andrew Curtin was the war Governor of
Pennsylvania) ; Martha m. Dr. Constans Curtin, brother
of Roland ; Eliza m. David Mitchell ; Juliana m. General
James Irvin; Andrew m. Margaret Irvin, sister of Gen-
eral Irvin ; James P. m. Eliza Wilson ; Matthew Duncan,
Gen. Gregg's father, m. Ellen iMcMurtrie ; Sarah m. Henry
Kinney; and Margery m. Rev. Charles Tucker. The
mother of this large and illustrious family, Martha
(Potter) Gregg, was born April 10, 1769, and died Aug.
20, 1815.

John Potter, grandfather of Martha (Potter) Gregg,
emigrated from County Tyrone, Ireland, in 1741, being
accompanied by his sister Isabella, and her husband John
Hamilton. They landed in Newcastle, Del., in September,
1741. In 1746, Mr. Potter settled in Antrim township,
Franklin countj'. Pa., near the village of Greencastle. He
was the first sheriff of Cumberland county. In September,
1756, he became a captain in Lieutenant Colonel Arm-
strong's expedition against Kittanning. The date of' his
death is unknown. His wife died in 1778. Of their eight
children, James was born on the bank of the Fovle, Tyrone,
Ireland, in 1729, and came to America with his father in
1741, On Feb. 17, 1756, he was commissioned ensign in
his father's company, Lieut. Armstrong's Battalion, and
served in the Kittanning expedition, in which campaign
he was wounded. He was promoted to the position of
Captain Feb. 17, 1759, and commanded three companies on
the northern frontiers. Captain Potter removed to Sun-
bury in 1768. In 1775 occurred the stirring events of
Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill, which aroused every
patriotic son of Pennsylvania, and hurried them into a
conflict which finally resulted in the recognition of
American Independence. Captain Potter was among the
first to offer his services for the struggle then so doubtful,
and on Jan. 24, 1776, he was elected Colonel of the Upper
Battalion, and in July of that year he became a member of
the Constitutional convention. -He was in command of a
Battalion of Northumberland County militia in the battle
of Trenton, Dec. 26, 1776, and at Princeton Jan. 3, 1777;
and on April 5, 1777, was appointed third Brigadier Gen-
eral of the militia of the State, commanded a brigade
at Brandywine and Germantown, and served in the out-
posts at Valley Forge. In 1780, when residing at Middle
Creek, Snyder county, he became a member of the State
council, and on Nov. 14, 1781, was elected Vice-President
of Pennsylvania. He was unanimously elected Alajor Gen-
eral May 23, 1782, and in 1784 was elected a member of
the council of Censors.



BIOGRAPHICAL 335

General James Potter first married Elizabeth Cathcart. pose of framing the first constitution of the Common-
His second wife was Mrs. Mary Chambers, daughter of wealth of Pennsylvania. He was sheriff of Bedford
James and Mary Patterson. Mary Patterson, whose maiden county in 1784-85, and became the first sheriff of Hunting-
name was Stewart, was a granddaughter of George Stew- don county in 1787. In that year he was also elected
art, who settled in Conestoga township, Chester county, a delegate from Huntingdon county to the Pennsylvania
in 1717. To General Potter and his wife Mary were convention which ratified the Federal constitution. He
born three daughters and one son; of this family Martha was elected a member of the Supreme Executive Coim-
became the wife of Andrew Gregg, and was the grand- cil from Huntingdon county, Oct. 31, 1789, and served
mother of General David McM. Gregg. At his death until Dec. 20, 1790, when the Council's term of office ex-
General Potter possessed an fmmense landed estate in pired by reason of the election of Governor Mifflin. He
Penn's Valley, Center county. held several county offices in Huntingdon county, in-
Matthew Duncan Gregg was born April 5, 1804, in eluding that of Associate Judge. He died in Huntingdon,
Penn's Valley, Center county, and fitted himself for . the March 15, 1835, and was laid to rest in Fairview cemetery.
legal profession, being admitted to the Bar at Huntingdon He was thrice married. His first wife was Mary Carpen-
in 1825. In 1838, he was united in marriage with Ellen ter, daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth (Herr) Carpenter,
McMurtrie, daughter of David and Martha (Elliott) and a granddaughter of Heinrich Zimmerman, who was
McMurtrie, of Huntingdon. From that place he moved born in Switzerland, in 1675, and who made his first trip
first to Pine Grove Mills, Center county, and in 1838 to America in 1698, returning to his native place in 1700.
took up his residence in Belief onte, where , he engaged This gentleman married Salome Ruffner, Being a phy-
in the iron business. In 1845, in connection with his sician, he practised his profession until 1706, when hav-
brother James P., and his brother-in-law David^Mitchell, ing engaged in a conspiracy against the government he was
he purchased the Potomac Furnace, in Loudoun county, compelled to flee the country for safety. He according-
Va. Nine children were born to the unipn pf Matthew ly came to America, where he settled in Germantown.
D. Gregg and Ellen McMurtrie, as follow^': Martha, born In 1710, he began to acquire lands in Lancaster county.
May 28, 1829, m. Richard R. Bryan ; An8rew, bqrn May and in 1717, he moved there. He died about 1750, leaving
28, 1831; Gen. David; Mary, born Aug. 20, 1834, m. G. a large estate to his heirs. Benjamin Elliott and his wife
Dorsey Green ; Ellen, born Dec. 24, 1836 ; George, born Mary had three children, namely : Martha, born in 1779, m.
Feb. 10, 1838; Henry H., born March 19, 1840, m. Rose David McMurtrie, and died in 1841; Mary, born in 1781,
Mitchell; Thomas I., born Oct. 8, 1842, m. Bessie D. m. Robert Allison; and James prepared for the legal
McKnight; and Olitipa, born Aug. 10, 1844, died Dec. profession, but died young and unmarried. Benjamin
28, 1848. On July 25, .1845, Matthew Duncan Gregg died, EUiott's second wife was Sarah Ashman, and his third
and in August of the same year occurred the death of Susan Haines.

his brother, James P., both being buried in a churchyard General Gregg spent his earlier boyhood with his
between Leesburg and Point of Rocks, Va. Ellen Gregg, father's family in Bellefonte, Harrisburg and HoUidays-
the mother, died at Bedford, Aug. 17, 1847, and is bur- burg. In April, 1845, the family removed to Potomac
ied at Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. Furnace, Loudoun county, Va. When, in the following Ju-
David McMurtrie, Ellen McM. Gregg's grandfather, ly, the father died, the widowed mother, with her nine chil-
was born at Ayr, Scotland, about 1709, and came to dren returned to Hollidaysburg; her death occurred at Bed-
America in 1735, settling in Philadelphia, where he en- ford in August, 1847. David then became a member of
gaged in selling merchandise. On March 18, 1754, he mar- the family of his uncle, David McMurtrie, living in
ried Margery Fisher at Cooper's Ferry, now a part of Huntingdon, and for two years attended the school of
Philadelphia, and his children were as follows : William, that excellent teacher, Mr. John A. Hall. From this
born May 15, 1757; David, Jan. 14, 1764; Charles, July school he went to Milnwood Academy, in the lower end
21, 1766; and James, Dec. 16, 1768. Just before the of Huntingdon county, and a year later joined his elder
Revolution David McMurtrie moved to Bedford, now brother Andrew at the University at Lewisburg. While
Huntingdon county, and began the improvement of large at the University he received an appointment as cadet
tracts of land, owned by him on Shaver's creek and in the at the United States Military Academy at West Point,
town of Huntingdon. He died in 1782. which he entered July 1, 1851. He graduated in June,
David McMurtrie, the son of the above-mentioned 1855, standing eighth in a class of thirty-four members ;
pioneer, was born in Philadelphia and went to Hunting- among his classmates being Generals Averill, Webb, Rug-
don with his father, where he became a merchant, car- gles and Comstock, all prominent officers in the Union
_rying on his business first in Huntingdon, then in Peters- Army in the War of' the Rebellion, and General Nichols,
burg, and again in Huntingdon. He was a member of the of the Confederate army. He became Second Lieutenant
General Assembly of Pennsylvania in 1802. He married of Dragoons, July 1, 1855, and served in garrison at Jef-
Martha Elliott, daughter of Benjamin and Mary (Carpen- ferson Barracks, Mo., in 1855-56, being commissioned
ter) Elliott, and they had the following children : James Second Lieutenant of First Dragoons, Sept. 4, 1855.
E. ; Anna m. (first) Ed. Patton, (second) Thomas Jack- In 1856, he was assigned to frontier duty in the West
son; Mary m. James Gwin; Ellen, born Jan. 3, 1803, m. and on the Pacific coast, and remained there until the
Matthew D. Gregg, and died Aug. 17, 1847; David m. outbreak of the Civil War recalled him to the East. He
Martha McConnell; Benjamin E. (first) m. Sarah H. was stationed at Fort Union, New Mexico, in 1856, took
Orbison, and (second) Mrs. Ellen Patton Dorsey; Mar- part in the march to California in the same year; was at
gery; Robert Allison m. (first) Sarah Briscoe, (second) Fort Tejon, Colo., in 1856-57; Fort Vancouver, Wash.,
Mrs. Maria Dennison; Martha m. James McCahen; and in 1857-58; and at Fort Walla Walla, Wash., in 1858. He
William m. Margaret Whittaker. took part in the Spokane expedition of 1858, being en-
Robert Elliott, great-grandfather of General D. McM. gaged in a desperate combat with the Indians at To-hols-
Gregg's mother, through Martha Elliott McMurtrie, was nimme. Wash., May 17, 1858 ; was present at the combat of
born prior to 1730, but it is uncertain whether his birth- Four Lakes, Wash., Sept. 1, 1858 ; and skirmish on Spo-
place was in America or Ireland. His home was in kane river Sept. 8, 1858. He was on frontier duty at Fort
Peters township, Cumberland (formerly Lancaster) county. Walla Walla, in 1859; at Fort Dallas, Oregon, 1859-
He was twice married; the issue of his first marriage be- 60; was scouting against the Snake Indians in 1860, being
ing two sons — Benjamin and George — and his two daugh- engaged in a skirmish near Hamoy Lake, Oregon, May
ters — Barbara and Jane. Benjamin Elliott was born in 24, 1860. The winter of 1860-61 was spent in duty on the
1753, in Peters township, Cumberland (now Franklin) Warm Spring reservation.

county, and became a resident of Huntingdon in 1775. General Gregg became first Lieutenant of the First

When but twenty-four years of age, he was elected one Dragoons on March 21, 1861, and was made Captain in the

of the delegates from Bedford county, Huntingdon being Sixth Cavalry on May 14, 1861. During the first months

then in that county, to the convention, which met July of the war he saw duty in the defenses of Washington,.

15, 1776, at Carpenters Hall, Philadelphia, for the pur- D. C, and throughout the remainder of the war was con-



336



HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



nected with the Army of the Potomac. From Oct. 12,

1861, till January, 1862, he was on sick leave. He be-
caime Colonel of the Eighth Regiment, Pa. Vol. Cavalry,
Jan. 24, 1862, and took part in the Virginia Peninsular
campaign. He was engaged in the battles of Seven Pines
and Fair Oaks, May 31 and June 1, 1863, skirmishes at
New Kent Courthouse, Savage Station, Bottom's Bridge,
and White Oak Swamip, June, 1862, battle of Glendale,
June 30, 1862, Malvern Hill, July 1, 1862, and covering
the movement from Harrison's Landing to Yorktown,
August, 1862. He was in the Maryland campaign of the
Army of the Potomac, which extended from September
to November, 1862, being engaged in several skirmishes
on the march to Falmouth, Va., in October and Novem-
ber. On Nov. 29, 1862, General Gregg was commissioned
Brigadier General U. S. Volunteers. From December,

1862, to June, 1863, he commanded a Division of Cavalry,
being engaged in the skirmish at Rappahannock bridge,
April 4, 1863, and "Stoneman's Raid" toward Richmond,
April 13 to May 2, 1863. The Pennsylvania campaign
of the Army of the Potomac was participated in by
General Gregg still as a division cavalry commander; he
was engaged in the combat of Brandy Station, June 9,

1863, skirmish at Aldie, June 17, Middleburg, June 19,
Upperville, June 21, and the battle of Gettysburg, July 1,
2 and 3. He was in the skirmish at Shepherdstown, July
16, and took part in the pursuit of the Confederates to
Warrenton, Va., closing the campaign in the latter days
of that busy month.

Central Virginia then became the scene of operations for
the Army of the Potomac, and General Gregg there par-
ticipated in the action at Rapidan Station, Sept. 14, Bever-
ly Ford, Oct. 12, Auburn, Oct. 14, and New Hope Church,
Nov. 27, 1863. From March 26 to April 6, 1864, General
Gregg was in command of the Cavalry Corps of the Army
of the Potomac, and in the Richmond campaign from
April 6, 1864, to Feb. 3, 1865, was in command of the
Second Cavalry Division of the Army of the Potomac, be-
ing engaged in the skirmishes at Todd's Tavern May
3-7, 1864, where he was in command, Ground Squirrel
Church May 11, combat at Meadow Bridge May 13, bat-
tle of Flaws Shop May 28, skirmish of Gaines House June
2, battle of Trevillian Station June 11, action of St. Mary's
Church June 24, where he was in comonand, skirmish at
Warwick Swamp July 12, combat of Darbytown July 28,
skirmish at Lee's Mills July 30, 1S64. On Aug. 1, 1864,
General Gregg came into command of the cavalry of the
Army of the Potomac, being brevetted on that date Major
General U. S. Volunteers, for "highly meritorious and
distinguished conduct throughout the campaign, par-
ticularly in the Reconnaissance on the Charles City road."
On Aug. 17, 1864, he was in the action at Deep Bottom,
skirmishes and battle of Ream's Station Aug. 23-35, combat
of Peebles' Farm Sept. 29 and 30, of the Vaughan
Road Oct. 1, where he was in command, the battle of
Boydton Plank Road Oct. 27, destruction of Stony
Creek Station Dec, 1, and skirmish at Bcllclicld Dec.
9, 18G4, which terminated General Gregg's active work
in the army. Fie resigned from the service Feb. 3, 1865.

General Gregg's brothers, Flenry H. and Thomas L, were
both in the Union army and served three years, the form-
er as Captain in the 125th P, V. L, and as Major in the
13th P. V, C, the latter as Lieutenant in the 6th P. V. C,
and as Aide-de-camp on his brother's staff.

In February, 1874, President Grant appointed General
Gregg U. S. Consul at Prague, Bohemia, which position
he resigned and returned to Reading in the following
August, where he has since made his home. In 1891, he
was nominated by the Republican party as its candidate
for Auditor General of Pennsylvania, was elected, and
made a splendid record in his three years of service. He
was elected Commander of the Pennsylvania Commandery
of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United
States in 1886, and was continued in office by successive
elections every year until 1904. when he was elected
Commander-in-Chief of the Order. He is President of the
Board of Directors of the Charles Evans Cemetery Com-



pany of Reading, and is a member of the Board of Trus-
tees of the State Lunatic Hospital at Harrisburg. General
Gregg has the right to append LL. D. to his name, that
honor having been conferred on him by the Pennsylvania
A'lilitary College, at Chester, Pennsylvania.

On Oct. 6, 1862, General Gregg married Ellen F. SheSff
of Reading, a great-granddaughter of Frederick A. Muhlen-
berg, as also of Gov. Joseph Hiester. They have two
sons, namely : George She^aff and David McMurtrie.

Thus is presented in m'easurably full detail the career
of one of the most noted of Reading's citizens, belonging
to Reading first, but in a larger and better sense to the
State and nation. With a glorious record of duty faith-
fully done. General Gregg is serenely passing the evening
of life amid the scenes of its former activities, and is
showered on every side with the plaudits of a grateful
people.

GEORGE BROOKE bears a name so intimately con-
nected with the development of Birdsboro that a history
of the recent generations of the Brooke family would
be a nearly complete history of that borough. And no
account of that '-borough, in the last hundred and more
years, could be written without frequent reference to the
achievements and efforts of the Brookes in every phase
of its evolution from a settlement of a few houses to
one of the finest boroughs in Berks county. The
Brookes have ever been noted for intelligence and general
excellence of character, proved in the wise administration
of large interests, whose prosperity has had a direct
bearing upon the public moral and material welfare as
well as upon their own fortunes. They have also been
noted for their unselfish public spirit, their means and
influence having always been given liberally to the pro-
motion of all projects tending toward progress, enlight-
enment and the general improvement of the conditions
affecting the daily life, comfort and happiness of the
mass of humanity. To the brothers, Edward and
George Brooke,, especially, is the borough indebted for
many of its best advantages.

The Brookes are of English descent, the founders of the
family in this country having come hither from York-
shire, England, in 1698. John and Frances Brooke, with
their two sons, James and Matthew, arrived in the Del-
aware river that year, but because of a contagious
disease aboard their vessel the passengers were not
allowed to come to Philadelphia, disembarking lower
down the river. The parents died there, soon afterward,
and were buried in the graveyard at Haddonfield, N. J.
They belonged to the Society of Friends, and before
leaving England John Brooke had purchased of William
Penn 2,500 acres of land, to be taken up anywhere where ,
vacant land might be found between the Delaware and
Susquehanna rivers. Accordingly the sons Jam.es and
Matthew took up the land in what is now Limerick
township, Montgomery county, Pa., where they settled.

Matthew Brooke, grandson of the iMatthew who came
over with his father in KJ'.iS, was the third in direct
line to bear the name. He was the father of Edward
and George Brooke, and was reared near Limerick. In
1796 he purchased a farm at Birdsboro, Berks county,
and in 1800, in partnership with his brother, Thomas
Brooke, and their brother-in-law, Daniel Buckley, pur-
chased the Hopewell Furnace. From that time to the
present the family has been prominently identified with
the locality. Matthew Brooke occupied the old man-
sion house built by William Bird, the original pro-
prietor of this property, in 1751, a beautifullv located
residence facing the Schuylkill river, to whose banks the
lawn stretched. On the side of the estate which lav
along the shores of Hay creek, just where it emptied
into the Schuylkill, was a grove of beautiful old trees,
wliich one of the Birds fenced in and used as a deer
park. When the canal was built in front of the house
the place was no longer desirable for residential pur-
poses, and the family moved to a house down near the
lower for.ge, which was torn down in 1S79 to make room
for the enlargement of the rolling-mill, Matthew Brooke



BIOGRAPHICAL



33?



continued to operate the iron industries successfully pig-iron and two hundred and fifty thousand kegs of nails,
until his death, in advanced age, He had kd an active besides muck-bar and skelp iron. In the laj;ter eighties
life in many ways, having served the Colonial forces dur- a steel plant was erected at No. 3 Blast Furnace, to con-
ing the Revolution when 'a mere boy, and while in the vert the molten iron directly into steel for the manufac-
army was captured and held prisoner, but finally ex- ture of nails. A new train of rolls was also put into
changed. His business energies, while devote^ chiefly the rolling-mill, as well as other devices for the working
to the iron works, were not confined to any one channel, of steel.

and he was one of the first .stockholders of the Farmers In alliance with their furnaces the firm of E. & G.
National Bank of Reading, one of the most important Brooke acquired a half interest in the French Creek,
financial institutions of that city at the present day. Warwick and Jones mines, which lie between ten and
He was an Episcopalian in religious connection. He fifteen miles south of Birdsboro, and whence the great-
married Elizabeth Barde, like himself a native of Penn- er part of the raw product comes, the Wilmington &
sylvania, daughter of Captain John Louis Barde, who Northern road connecting the two properties. In 1864
came to Birdsboro m 1788, and for several years ran g, & q_ Brooke, associated with Seyfert, McManus &

'•"•tu"!'' ^°1^^^ "5"^^'' "" ^T:""' r/^ T^"'"'' ^\rf *T Co. and Samuel E. Griscom, opened the William Penn

with two thousand acres of land from James Wilson (a /-■„ii: _ „ cu j u ■ c i, ir -n ^ r^ s r-

son-in-law of Mark Bird), one of the signers of the Dec- S°"'t^y' "f/ Shenandoah, in Schuylkill county E & G.

laration of Independence This land formed a part of w°°''!,J"u^''?/"''?; bec°ming sole owners of the col-

the original Bird properties of Birdsboro, and Captain ^ZV r.^'nu Tn f«% tl\J^ t} L^^^f^r ^

T3 J , ■ J •. ,.-i u- J 1.1. • ^r^nn I- 4. ■ T> J ^031 regioH. lu 1887 tncy sold the colliery to interests

Barde lived on it until his death in 1799. Captain Barde identified with the Pennsylvania Railroad. These iron



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 80 of 227)