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 84 of 227)
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of Philadelphia.

Mrs. Baer has taken a very active part in local chari-
ties, more especially in the successful management of the
Widows' Home, from its foundation in 1876. She has
also taken much interest in the Woman's Club, the Book
Club, and the Needle-Work Guild, serving each society
as president. In social affairs she has been the acknowl-
edged leader for many years. Her receptions in their
costly and beautiful home "Hawthorne," on Mineral
Spring road, have been superb; and it was there, during
the popular demonstrations in the historical celebration
of the "Sesqui-Centennial of Reading," June, 1898, that
she and her husband "displayed a remarkable spirit of lib-
erality in welcoming and entertaining distinguished visi-
tors, and affording them unusual opportunities of seeing
and knowing the social, industrial and municipal affairs
of Reading, and of realizing its growth, wealth and im-
portance as a promising centre of population." When Mr.
Baer became president of the Philadelphia & Reading
Railway Company in 1901, he secured a home in Phila-
delphia, and he and his family have occupied it since,
during the winter and spring of each year. Their home
is embellished with a rare collection of books and paint-
ings.

Mr. Baer's father was Major Solomon Baer. He was
born in 1794, in Northampton (now Lehigh) county, near
Unionville, and when six years old he accompanied his
parents in their removal to a farm in Maryland, near
Cumberland. They remained there sixteen years, then
settled on a farm in Somerset county. Pa., about twenty-
five miles farther west. He died in 1882, aged eighty-
eight years, having lived at Somerset from 1848.

His grandfather was John Jacob Baer, of Northamp-
ton county, where he was born on the homestead in 1761.
He was brought up on a farm, and followed farming
there until 1800, when he removed with his family to
Maryland, and there carried on farming until his decease
in 1823.

His great-grandfather was Christophel Baer, who emi-
grated from Zweibruecken in 1743. Upon his arrival
in Philadelphia, September 30th, he immediately proceeded
to Northampton county, where he had purchased several
tracts of land. The original patent issued to him de-
scribes one of the tracts as "Bruin's Choice," a free trans-
lation of the name of his ancestral home.

ISAAC ECKERT, until lately president of the Farmers
National Bank of Reading, is one of the leading citizens
of that place, a man of distinctive prominence in its com-
mercial life, in which he maintains a name which has
long been a synonym for worth and integrity, as well
as marked business ability, in this part of Pennsylvania.
The Eckert family is one of the oldest in Berks county,
having been located here for almost two centuries. As
the name implies, the Eckerts are of German origin.

Valentine Eckert, born in Langensalza, Hanover, Ger-
many, in 1733, came to America with his parents in 1740,
the family settling in the Tulpehocken Valley, in the west-
ern part of Berks county. He became quite a prominent



man in his day, becoming a citizen of this country after
twenty-one years' residence here. He took a leading part
in the Revolution and the events leading up to and follow-
ing that struggle. In June, 1776, he was one of ten who
represented Berks county in the Provincial Conference,
and the next month was one of a delegation of eight
members from Berks county to the Provincial convention
convoked for the purpose of framing a new form of
government, founded on the authority of the people, to
succeed the old proprietary form. He was a member of
the Provincial Assembly in both 1776 and 1777. During
the war he commanded a cavalry company, was wounded
at the battle of Germantown, became sub-lieutenant of
the county in 1777, and served as such until he became
lieutenant of the county, in the year 1781. In 1784 he was
appointed a judge of the court of Common Pleas, holding
that office for seven years, until by the Constitution of
1790 a president judge took the places of the various
judges. In 1816, though then very advanced in age, he
removed to the State of Virginia, where he died, at Win-
chester, in December, 1831, in his eighty-eighth year.

Peter Eckert, son of Valentine, passed all his life in
Berks county, and engaged in farming and merchandising
near Womelsdorf, the family home.

Isaac Eckert, son of Peter, was born in January, 1800,
in Womelsdorf, and there received his early education in
the public schools, later attending the grammar schools of
the University of Pennsylvania. Before reaching his
majority he became associated in business with his older
brother, William, the sons succeeding their father in the
grocery business, which they continued at Womelsdorf
until 1828, in which year they moved their establishment
to Reading. There they continued it until the year 1836,
when Isaac Eckert withdrew from the firm to enter the
iron manufacturing business in partnership with his young-
er brother. Dr. George N. Eckert. In 1842-44 they erected
the Henry Clay Furnace, at that time one of the largest
anthracite furnaces in the country, and in the year 1855
a second stack was completed. After Dr. Eckert died,
on June 28, 1865, Isaac Eckert became sole proprietor of
these works until his retirement, in 1873, when he passed
them over to his sons, Henry S. and George B. This was
not his only connection in the iron manufacturing line,
for in 1852 he became president of the Leesport Iron
Company, of which he remained the executive head until
his death, thus controlling and managing extensive iron
interests, in which he was one of the largest stockholders.
Naturally his influence extended to other business enter-
prises, and he became especially well known as president
of the Farmers Bank, an institution .founded in 1814, of
which he was chosen president in 1838. He served as such
for the unusually long period of thirty-five years, and
upon his death, which occurred Dec. 13, 1873, was suc-
ceeded therein by his son Henry S. Eckert.

Mr. Eckert was just as active in matters affecting the
general welfare as he was in commercial circles. He
served many years as president of the Berks County
Agricultural and Horticultural Society, of which he was
one of the founders, and was interested deeply in other
enterprises calculated to advance the best industries of
this section. Originally a Whig in politics, he became a
Republican upon the organization of the party, and in
ISSO was a delegate to the Republican National Convention,
held at Chicago, which placed Abraham Lincoln at the
head of the ticket; in 1864 he was a Presidential elector
from the State of Pennsylvania. Throughout the war
he did his utmost to aid the Union cause, 'both bv liberal
contributions and by his influence in directing public senti-
ment in his city.

Isaac Eckert married Judith Hahn, daughter of Dr.
Hahn, of Montgomery countv, and he was survived bv
his widow and three children, Henry S., George B and
Rebecca, the last named the wife of P. R. Stetson, of New
York City. As a memorial, after Mr. Eckert's death
this family presented a full chime of ten bells to Christ
Episcopal Church of Reading, of which Mr, Eckert had
been a member.



BIOGRAPHICAL



347



Henry S. Eckert, son of Isaac, was born in Reading,
where he received his preparatory education in the public
schools. He then became a student at Franklin and
Marshall College, from which he graduated, after which
he entered business life. Becoming associated with his
father in the iron business, he soon qualified so thor-
oughly for its demands that he was able to take the
management of the works himself, and on July 1, 1873, the
,year of their father's death, but shortly before that event,
he and his brother George B. formed a partnership to
engage in the iron business, under the £rm name of
Eckert & Brother. Before long the Henry Clay Furnace
became their property, but with all their new responsibili-
ties they passed successfully through the financial panic
of 1873. They not only carried on the manufacturing
business, but also owned the iron mines which supplied
their works with the necessary ore, employing altogether,
in the mines and works, over two hundred and fifty men.

Besides his important connection with the firm of
Eckert & Brother Mr. Eckert's iron interests led him
into other associations of even greater prominence, and
he served as president of the Eastern Pig Iron Association,
as president of the Topton Furnace Company of Topton,
and president of the Pennsylvania Bolt & Nut Works of
Lebanon. As to local enterprises, it has already been
stated that he succeeded his father in the presidency of
the Farmers Bank in 1873, and he continued to hold that
position until his own death, in 1893, when his son Isaac
succeeded to the incumbency. He was also a trustee of
the Union Trust Company and of the Penn 'Mutual Life
Insurance , Company, the latter a Philadelphia institution.
He was one of the promoters of the Penn Street Passenger
Railway, which was put into operation in 1874, and which
played so important a part in the improvement of East
Reading. He was one of the projectors of the Berks
County railroad, from Reading to Slatington, becoming
a member of the board of directors upon the organization
of the company, and he also served as a director of the
Wilmington & Northern Railroad Company. He was a
director of the Reading Hospital and of the Charles Evans
cemetery. For over twenty years he gave his services
as president of the school board of control, and in
recognition of his valuable work the Eckert school, erected
in 1873, was named in his honor.

As a large manufacturer Mr. Eckert was naturally in-
clined to a belief in the principles of protection, and ac-
cordingly upheld the tenets of the Republican party, in
whose workings he took an' active and efficient part. In
1866 he was the Republican nominee for Congressman
from his district, running against J. Lawrence Getz, but
although supported handsomely by his .home city, which
gave him a majority, he could not overcome the normal
Democratic vote in the district.

In 1857 Mr. Eckert married Carrie Hunter, daughter
of Nicholas Hunter, an ironjnaster of Reading, and four
children were born to them, viz.: Isaac, Helen (Mrs.
Herman Meigs), Hunter and Kate M. (Mrs. Reeves).
The mother passed .away March 28, 1880. Mr. Eckert
was a member of Christ Episcopal Church, in which he
served as vestryman for a number of years before his
death, and he was a zealous worker in all its enterprises.

Isaac Eckert, at present one of the most notable figures
in the business life of the city of Reading, was born there
May 27, 1859. He received his education in the public
schools of the city and at Lafayette College, from which
institution he was graduated in 1879, after which he im-
mediately turned his energies to the line of business which
his ancestors have followed for generations. The business
was sold to the Empire Iron & Steel Company. Mr.
Eckert served from 1893 until 1908, when he resigned
owing to ill health, as president of the Farmers Bank,
now the Farmers National Bank, which was presided
over by a .miember of this family for almost seventy
years, • Isaac Eckert being of the third generation of the
family to occupy that office. The circumstance is remark-
able, not only for the unusual length of time the posi-
tion was held in the family but as indicative of contin-



ued moral and mental strength. Mr. Eckert was
also president of the Deppen Brewing Company,
an imiportant business concern of the city, but
this, too. he resigned on account of failing health;
he occupies- a high position among the most substantial
citizens of the present day. However, he is not active
in either politics or outside matters to the extent his
father and grandfather were, though he is a man of high
public spirit and ready to lend his influence or financial
aid to worthy projects which have the advancement of
the city or the general welfare as their object. He is a
Republican in political sentiment, and interested in local
government, particularly municipal affairs.

In 1879 Mr. Eckert, married Eliza Kaufman, daughter
of William M. Kaufman, and they have had two children,
William K. and Carrie.

William K. Eckert, of Reading, is interested in
numerous enterprises in the city. He is a native of Read-
ing, born in 1879, son of Isaac and Eliza (Kaufman)
Eckert. In his youth he attended the local grammar and
high schools, graduating from the latter in 1898, when
he went to Cornell University. There he spent two years,
at the end of which time he returned to Reading and read
law with Isaac Hiester. On Dec. 12, 1901, he took the
position of secretary-treasurer and general manager of
the Deppen Brewing Company, which position he resigned
in 1908, to enter the banking business, which is his present
occupation. He is a director of the Farmers National
Bank and of the Colonial Trust Company, two of the
strongest financial institutions of the city, and in 1906 was
chosen second vice-president of the former institution, with
which his family have been so long associated. He. is one
of the most successful young business men of his native
city, where he has a host of friends.

Mr. Eckert married, Dec. 12, 1905, in Reading, Miss
Mary L. Barbey, whose family is mentioned else-
where, the Barbeys being among the old and prominent
families of the city. Mr. and Mrs. Eckert reside at No.
812 North Fifth street, Reading, and are well known and
much esteemed in that locality. They are members of
the Episcopal Church.

WILLIAM A. GOOD, first County Superintendent of
Public Schools of Berks county, from 1854 to 1860, was
born in Philadelphia in 1810. He was educated in the
Reading Academy, studied theology in the Theological
Seminary of the Reformed Church at York, Pa., and was
regularly ordained and licensed to preach in 1833. Soon
afterward he accepted a call from the Reformed Church
at Hagerstown, Md., where he officiated as pastor for sev-
eral years. From that congregation he went to Mercers-
burg, Pa., to serve as rector of the Preparatory Depart-
ment of Marshall College. After remaining there six
years, he returned to Hagerstown and served as principal
of the Hagerstown Academy for five years. He was then
called to the pastorate of the Reformed Church at York,
Pa., in which field he labored earnestly for six years.

He next removed to Reading and assumed charge of a
select school for young ladies. At the expiration of the
fifth year he became principal of the Reading Institute
and Normal School, and remained there three years. In
the meantime he was elected superintendent of the com-
mon schools of Berks county, being the first to fill that
office. Most of the people of the county were members
of the Reformed and Lutheran Churches, and averse to
the new order of things. It was feared that in the rural
districts the superintendent would encounter much oppo-
sition, but he understood the peculiarities of the people,
and instead of raising a storm of opposition won their
confidence and support, and he was re-elected for a second
term. While thus engaged in the school affairs of the
county, he also officiated as pastor of the Bernville, North
Heidelberg and Princeton congregations, serving these
churches altogether for eight years. He was one of the
most zealous Sunday school workers in Berks county,
and while superintendent of the common schools, en-
deavored, in his private intercourse with the people, to
interest them in the cause of Sunday schools, in this man-



348



HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



ner coming to be instrumental in founding many of the
Sunday schools of the county. He was one of the found-
ers of St. John's Reformed Mission Sunday school, and
this he conducted with the aid of his wife for nearly six
years, and it eventually became a self-supporting and
flourishing congregation.

The Rev. Mr. Good married in 1840, Susan B. Eckert,
daughter of Peter and Susan Eckert, of Womelsdorf,
Berks county. He died in 1873. He had two sons, Wil-
liam Eckert and James Isaac.

WARREN J. WOODWARD, second President Judge
of Berks county, from 1861 to 1874, under the amended
Constitution of Pennsylvania, was born Sept. 24, 1819, at
Bethany, Wayne Co., Pa. His father, John K. Woodward,
was a civil engineer and journalist, and at the time of
his decease, in 1835, was prothonotary of Wayne county.
His grandfather was an associate judge of that county
for fifteen years, and sheriff in 1807.

After acquiring an academic education at Wilkes Barre,
Warren J. Woodward taught school for several terms in
his native county. At the age of seventeen years he
directed his attention to newspaper publications, and con-
tinued his connection with them till 1840. He then re-
turned to Wilkes Barre, and selecting the law as his
profession, entered the office of his uncle, George W.
Woodward, a practising attorney at the Luzerne county
Bar, for the purpose of pursuing the necessary course of
study. Whilst in this office his uncle was elected to the
Bench as president judge of the 4th Judicial District of
Pennsylvania. His preparation was completed under the
preceptorship of Hon. Edmund L. Dana, and he was ad-
mitted to the Bar Aug. 1, ]842. He continued in active
and successful practice for fourteen years. In April, 1836,
the Legislature erected a new judicial district out of Co-
lumbia, Sullivan and Wyoming counties — the 26th in the
State — and the Governor appointed him to the position of
president judge; and in October following he was elected
for the terra of ten years. His reputation spread rapidly
into adjoining districts. Half of his term had not ex-
pired, yet some of the old districts offered him the nomina-
tion for the president judgeship on the Democratic ticket.
This was a flattering recognition of his judicial character
and ability ; but he declined the honor. In 1861, the term
of the president judge in Berks county was about to ex-
pire, and the major part of the attorneys gave him a
pressing invitation to become his successor. The Demo-
cratic convention held at Reading, Aug. 31, 1861, gave him
the nomination by acclamation, and this he accepted. In
his letter of acceptance, besides expressing his gratitude
for the high honor conferred upon him, and his opinion
about the impropriety of law judges participating in
political struggles, he informed the committee that in the
matter of the Civil War then raging he was most positive-
ly for the preservation of the Union of all the States, and
for the enforcement of the Constitution. His sentiments
were highly approved, and in October following he was
elected by a large majority over a local candidate for the
same position.

Judge Woodward moved to Reading and took his seat
upon the Bench in December, 1861. His judicial and social
deportment at once inspired the citizens with unqualified
confidence. The Civil War caused much commotion in
the county. The Democrats were displeased with the ex-
treme course of the Republican administration in national
affairs, but he, notwithstanding his election by them, ad-
vised co-operation and the enforcement of law to restore
peace. His earnest public actions in behalf of the war,
in conjunction with prominent and influential professional
and business men, contributed a powerful influence toward
the creation of a proper spirit in that alarming period.
His patriotic conduct as a man of Democratic principles
and association is -worthy of special mention.

During his term he was unusually devoted to his office,
and his administration of its responsible duties gave en-
tire satisfaction ; and he became thoroughly identified with
the interests and welfare of the county. His re-election
was therefore assured. Shortly before the expiration of



his term, the Legislature had established a District Court
for Luzerne county, and the Bar of that county unani-
mously invited him to accept the office of president judge
of the new court. When the movement became known to
the attorneys of Berks county they held a special meeting
and passed resolutions expressing the highest regard and
affection for him, and inviting him to remain with them.
The thorough appreciation of his course upon the Bench
by the entire community, and the earnest expressions of
good will by all the attorneys who practised under him,
induced him to remain in the county. He was nominated
by acclamation at the Democratic convention in June,
1871, and re-elected for a second term of ten years by a
large majority.

The new Constitution of the State increased the number
of the justices of the Supreme Court from five to seven
members, and the two new members were to be elected in

1874, one by the Democratic party and the other by the
Republican. The superiority of Judge Woodward's judicial
qualifications and experience brought him prominently be-
fore the Democrats of the State as a worthy candidate
for this important position, and he received the nomination
of their State Convention. This honor was given to him
without solicitation of any kind on his part. The office
truly sought the man. Upon his nomination he received
numerous congratulatory letters, and the people of Berks
county rejoiced at this honor, though by it they would
suffer the loss of his valuable services.

Shortly after the election, the Hon. Edward M. Paxson,
the Republican candidate, elevated at the same time to the
Supreme Bench, visited Judge Woodward at Reading.
While here they cast lots for precedence in the order of
succession to the position of chief justice, and Judge
Paxson won it. Judge Woodward took his seat Jan. 1,

1875, and filled the office with honor and distinction till
his decease, Sept. 23, 1879. He was particularly regarded
for devotion, ability and conscientiousness in the dis-
charge of his duties. Plis remains were buried at Wilkes
Barre.

Judge Woodward was elected president of the Reading
Benevolent Society at Reading in 1871, and he filled this
office until his decease. He took a deep interest in the
benevolent affairs of the community, and gave generously
toward the relief of poor people. In 1875 he received the
honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from Franklin and
Marshall College. While upon the Bench in Berks county,
he adjudicated many cases and his opinions were not
questioned by writ of error or appeal. These cases were
compiled by G. A. Endlich, Esq., an attorney of the Berks
county Bar, and published in two volumes in 1885. They
are known as "Woodward's Decisions."

Judge Woodward married Katharine Scott, daughter
of Hon. David Scott, of Wilkes Barre, and bv her had
three children: Henry and Warren were both admitted to
the Bar, but are now deceased, and Katharine Scott m.
Frank Perley Howe, son of Rev. M. A. DeWolfe Howe
D. D., deceased, and resides at Philadelphia.

.i-.^^^^^T..^- KRAEMER. son of Louis and Catherine
(PteiU Kraemer, was born at Greeneville, a suburban
town of Norwich, Conn., July 30, 1854, and was edu-
cated m the schools of that place, at Trenton N J
and at Myerstown, Pa. Upon arriving of age in ■ 1875
his father gave him an interest in Stony Creek Mills
which the father had established in Berks county, three
miles east of Reading, in 1865, and was operating suc-
cessfully at that time. There the son began his active
career in connection with this prominent manufacturing
plant, and has continued with it until now.
■ ^",ji^^.^ Mr Kraemer assisted in organizing the Read-
ing National Bank, and became one of its first directors
serving as such up to the present time. In 1900 he co-
operated with capitalists in establishing the third trust
company at Reading, and upon its organization under
the name of the Colonial Trust Company he was elected
president, and this responsible position he is still fill-
ing. After an existence of but a few years, the com-
pany erected a nine-story office building on Penn Square



BIOGRAPHICAL



349



toward securing a convenient and prominent place for its
business, and the building is not only the finest and lar-
gest of its kind at Reading, but also one of the finest
in Pennsylvania, truly a monument to the enterprise and
management of this financial institution and proving a
most substantial investment.

Mr. Kraemer married, in 1877, Ella Hall, of Hunting-
don, Pa. They are active members of St. Paul's Memor-
ial Reformed Church at Reading, and since their mar-
riage have resided at Stony Creek. He has been serv-
ing as an elder of the congregation since January, 1906,



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 84 of 227)