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 86 of 227)
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county. He was born in that township in 1738. Upon
the breaking out of the Revolution he raised a com-
pany of Associators in that locality, and was appointed
a captain in the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment, of the
regular Continental army Oct. 25, 1775. He was ordered
with his company to the "British Barracks," at Phila-
delphia, and acted as part of the escort of Martha
Washington into Philadelphia. In December he was
ordered into Northampton comity, Va., to protect it
against Lord Dunmore. The alarming state of affairs
in Canada led to the revocation of this order, and, by
command of Congress, he marched with his company
of eighty-three men for Quebec, over the snow and
"frozen lakes." This terrible midwinter march con-
sumed two months. After the precipitate retreat from
Quebec, he voluntarily returned, at the risk of capture,
and recovered valuable papers. He was with Arnold in
his pursuit of the British, after the battle of the Cedars,
and took part in the battle of "Three Rivers," June 8.
1776. He shared the terrible and distressing sufferings
of the army in its disastrous retreat to Ticonderoga,
and underwent at that post the severe and exacting rou-
tine of military duty incident to its fortilication and
defense to resist the attack of General Carleton. He
was stationed there from July 9 to Nov. 15, 1776. On
Oct. 27th the time of enlistment of his men ran out,
but through his exertions they consented to remain as
long as the enemy was in their front. After a year's
active service he was promoted to the rank of major,
Oct. 25, 1770, and to lieutenant-colonel of his regiment,
which had become the 2d under the new arrangement,
A-Iarch 12, 1777. Hi.s constitution was so shattered by
the hardships and exposure of the canTpaign against
Canada that he was obliged to return home to recruit
his health in the winter of 1776-77. Having partially
recovered, he rejoined his regiment in the spring of 1777,
the command of which devolved upon him after the res-
ignation of Col. James Irvine, June 1, 1777. Two com-
panies of the regiment were then on duty iji Philadelphia
and the remainder were guarding the upper ferries of
the Delaware. Increasing ill health, however, obliged
hiuT to resign his commission in the latter part of July. In
December, 1778, he was appointed by the Assembly a
commissioner under the test laws, and he was a member
of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania from Berks
county from October, 1779, to October, 1780. His health
continued steadily to decline, and he was shortly after-
ward stricken with paralysis, of which he died, after a
lingering illness, on Sept. 26, 1782, at the early age of
forty-four. He was buried at Bansor Church, Church-
town, of which members of his family had been wardens
and vestrymen from its earliest foundation.

HTESTER FA^IILY. One of the old and import-
ant families of Berks county is that of Hiester, and the
ancestry can be clearlv traced to Johannes and Catherine
Hiester. who spelled their name in German Huster. They
had three sons who came to America, John, Joseph and
Daniel by name. John, born in 1707, in 1750 married
Mary Barbara Epler, and died in 1757. Joseph, born
in 1710, married Elizabeth Strunk, and died in 1777.



Daniel, born in 1713, in 1742 married Catherine Schuler,
and died in 1795. They were natives of the town of
Elsoff, in the Grafschaft of Witgenstein, Westphalia,
Germany. These brothers settled in Pennsylvania early
in the eighteenth 'century, and their descendants have
been more or less prominent in the various walks of
life in the same section ever since.

Joseph Hiester came to America in 1738 and first went
to live in Goshenhoppen, then Philadelphia (now Mont-
gomery) county. Several years afterward Joseph and his
brothers, John and Daniel, united in purchasing from the
Proprietary government between two thousand and three
thousand acres of land in Bern township, Berks county.
Here Joseph and John settled, while Daniel remained
at the old homestead in Goshenhoppen. Joseph and his
wife Elizabeth had the following children: John, born
in 1754, died in 1826 ; John Christian married Susan
Reber ; Catherine, born in 1758, died in 1813, married
Nicholas Lieb; Daniel, born in 1761, died in 1827, mar-
ried Magdalena Albright; one son married Barbara Kauff-
man; another son married Susan Anman; Ann Eliza,
born April 8, 1766, married Jacob Van Reed ; Joseph,
born in 1768, died in 1830, married Elizabeth Beck ; and
William, born in 1770, died in 1828, married Anna Maria
Bentz.

Daniel Hiester had several sons who were distinguished:
John, born in 1746, was a member of Congress in 1807 —
08, resigned, and was succeeded by his son Daniel, who
served in 1809-10; Daniel of Montgomery county,
born in 1747, was a representative in Congress from
Pennsylvania from 1789 to 1797, and from Maryland
from 1801 to 1805; Gabriel, of Berks county, served thirty
years in the State Legislature; William, the youngest son,
for a short time served in the Continental army (his
son William, born in 1791, of Lancaster county, was a
member of Congress in 1833-35, and died Oct 15
1853).

The first named John Hiester had a son Joseph, who
was a member of the convention to ratify the Constitu-
tion of the United States ; was repeatedly elected to the
State Senate and House; was a member of Congress
in 1797-1S07, and from 1815 to 1821, resigning to assume
the governorship of Pennsylvania. tie died June 10,
1832.

John Hiester, grandfather of John K. Hiester of Read-
ing, was a son of the Joseph Hiester who was born
in Germany in 1710. John was born in Bern township,
Berks county, Sept. 25, 1754, and died Sept. 17, 1826.
He is buried at Bern Church, which he helped to erect.
He owned a tract of 200 acres, which was divided after
his death into five shares. This was all woodland when
he secured it. His wife was Catherine Albright, and
they had the following children: John died unmarried;
Ann Eliza married Jacob Gieding; Willianii died un-
married; Daniel died unmarried: Catherine married
David Bohn; Daniel died unmarried: John Christian
married Catherine Kramer; Yost married Rebecca Reber;
and Jacob.

Jacob Hiester, father of John K. Hiester, was born
m Bern township July 1, 1801, and died ini March, 1873.
He was a lifelong farmer, and died on the farm on
which he was born and on wliich he had spent his whole
life. His portion of the old Hiester farm was some sixty-
six acres, to which he had added twentv acres. In politics
he was a Democrat, but he held no office except that of
school director, a position he filled for six vears. He
and his family were members of the Bern Church, of
which he was one of the leading elders. For many years
he served as a lieutenant in the State militia, "and he
made a fine appearance, as he was a man of commanding
presence. He married Susanna Kramer, daughter of John
and Catherine (Ruhl) Kramer, of Bern township, and
they had the following children : Adam, a farmer on
the old homestead, married Rebecca Gring; Lydia mar-
ried John Moyer, a farmer of Pleidelber? township;
Gabriel died young; John K. is residing at Re'ading; Cath-
erine died unmarried.



BIOGRAPHICAL



35J



John K. Hiester was born in Bern township, on
one of the old Hiester stands, Nov. 2, 1848. His edu-
cation was obtained in the township schools, at a Reading
■academy, and at the Keystone State Normal School, at
Kutztown. In the fall of 1866 he began teaching at Hiester's
school in Bern township, and during the winter of 1868-69
he taught in Maiden-creek township; later taught one year
in Bern township ; three terms in Ruscombmanor township ;
three terms in Exeter township; one term in Jefferson;
one term in Ontelaunee; two terms in Birdsboro; three
terms in Cumru; two terms in Robeson, and then thirteen
terms in Bern township, in all thirty-two terms, his services
being given all over ithe county, with fifteen terms in
his native township. He thus became widely known,
and is' held in high esteem, and he constantly meets his
former pupils, many of whom never received other in-
struction than that he gave them.

During the summer months, until 1890, Mr. Hiester
worked upon the farm in his native township, but in
that year he came to Reading and in the) following year
he purchased his comfortable home at No. 314 South
Thirteenth street, where he has resided ever since. After
establishing his home at Reading he continued to follow
his profession during the winter months until 1898-1899,
when he taught for the last time. For five summer
seasons he was in the employ of Alderman Griesemer
and subsequently worked as labor boss and shipping clerk
in the Johnson Foundry & Machine Company, where he
continued for seven years ; when that firm went out of busi-
ness he went to the American Iron & Steel Company, where
he has remained until the present.

On Oct. 30, 1890, Mr. Hiester married Hettie A. Deish-
er, born Oct. 30, 1857, a daughter of William and Sarah
(Stayer) Deisher, the former of whom is a farmer and
business man of Berks county. To Mr. and Mrs. Hies-
ter have been born three children, namely: S. Adella,
born Feb. 21, 1892; Morris W., born in August, 1893, who
died in October, 1893 ; and WiHiam L., born June 17,
1895.

Mr. Hiester has spent almost all of his life in Berks
county, but in January, 1869, he went to Lee county,
Iowa, ^where he worked on a farm until his return to
Berks " county in the following October. Politically he
is a Democrat. He is a member of Bern Union Church
and of the Reformed denomination. His wife worships
in Grace Lutheran Church.

Thomas K. Hiester, one of the prominent farmers of
Bern township and a representative member of an old
and leading family, was born where he now resides, Dec.
16, 1861. He is a son of Harrison K. Hiester and a
grandson of John Christian Hiester (son of Joseph, born
in 1710). The graftdfather was a man of ample fortune,
owning two farms near the well-known Bern Church,
and he was noted both for his fine personal appearance
and for his good judgment and foresight. He and his
wife lie buried at Bern Church. He married Catherine
Kramer, a native of Bern township. They had five chil-
dren : Benneville ; Jared ; Harrison K. ; Washington, twin
of Harrison, now residing on North Queen street, Lan-
caster, the oldest surviving member of this family; and
Maria, who married John Eyrich.

Harrison K. Hiester, father of Thomas K., was born
in Bern township Aug. 6, 1832, and died April 27, 1904;
he was laid to rest in Bern churchyard. He was the
owner of the old homestead, consisting of 134 acres, and
later he bought an adjoining farm of 107 acres from his
brother Benneville, the transaction taking place in 1876.
He was an enterprising farmer and a man of progress
in his community. At the time of his death he was
serving as school director. In politics he was a Democrat.
He was a liberal supporter of the Reformed faith and
of the Bern Church. He married Rosabella Kischner,
born Sept. 16. 1834, who died Feb. 24, 1878, aged forty-
three years, five months, eight days. They had issue as
follows : Kate, widow of Aaron Bohn. lives at Mt. Pleas-
ant; Ellen married T. F. Yeager: Thomas K. is men-
tioned below ; Mary married Jonathan Ohlinsrer, of Penn
township; Rosa married Adam Gruber; Sallie, deceased,
23



married Cyrus Bohn; Annie married Henry Stamm, of
Penn township; Jemima, unmarried, resides at Reading;
Edward K. lives in Bern towtiship; Harry lives in Penn
township; Lizzie, residing in Bern township, is married to
Grant Hartman.

Thomas K. Hiester was educated in the township
schools and the Kutztown State Normal School, and in
1879 he taught school in Bern township. Then he was em-
ployed by his father until 1888, when he began to farm
the homestead for himself; he bought the property in
1905. His farm contains 134 acres of very valuable land,
which, under Mr. Hiester's excellent management, is very
productive. Like the other members of his family he is
identified with the Democratic party and is sound on all
its doctrines. He has served on the township election
board and in_ 1896 he was made a member of the school
board, of which he has been president ever since, having
twelve schools under his supervision. He is a leading
member of the Bern Reformed Church and one of its
deacons.

Thomas K. Hiester married (first) Eva Bohn, a daugh-
ter of Emanuel and Elvina (Krick) Bohn. She died
Dec. 31, 1891, aged twenty-three years, seven months,
nine days, and was buried at the Bern Church. She was
survived by two children, William and Edna, the for-
mer of whom resides at home; the latter married Daniel
Gicker, a well-known young man of this community. Mr.
Hiester married (second) Ruth Fisher, daughter of James
and Elizabeth Fisher, and they have had two children:
Walter, who attends school; and Mabel, who died aged
ten months, June 9, 1902.

Edward K. Hiester, a well-known young farmer of
Bern township and a member of the old Hiester family
of this section, was born on the Hiester homestead May
1, 1871, son of Harrison K. and Rosabella (Kischner)
Hiester. He attended the public schools of his native
township and during 1888-89 was a student for two ses-
sions at the Kutztown State Normal School, after whiph
he worked for his father on the farm. In 1898 he began
to farm for himself and bought one of the Hiester horpe-
steads. It is valuable land, and Mr. Hiester has im-
proved it by erecting fine buildings and modernizing
his residence to a large degree, putting in a system of
water pressure. His land adjoins the Bern Church prop-
erty. In 1892 he married Sallie Schwoyer, daughter of
Cornelius and Sarah (Looser) Schwoyer, of Centreport,
Berks county, and they have the following children:
Abner, Harry, Earl, Bertha, Edward J. and John.

Politically Mr. Hiester is a Democrat, and he has served
as township assessor. He is serving in his third term in
this office and is a popular public official. • For two years
he served as a deacon of the Bern Reformed Church.

COL. DANIEL UDREE was born in Philadelphia
Aug. 5, 1751. Removing to Berks county, he settled in
Oley township, where he became extensively engaged in
the manufacture of iron. He operated the Oley Furnace
and Rockland Forges very successfully for over thirty
years, owning, in connection with those industries, sev-
eral thousand acres of land. He was established in busi-
ness by his uncle, Jacob Winey, a prominent capitalist
and merchant of Philadelphia.

Colonel Udree was enlisted in the Revolutionary war
for several years, commanding a regiment at the battle
of Brandywine where his horse was shot under him.
He took an active part in the local militia for many years,
and served as major-general for one term of seven years
about 1815. He represented Berks county in the General
Assembly from 1799 to 1803, and also for the year 1805,
and while there showed an earnest interest in legislation
relative to public internal improvements in the State.
He was the representative in Congress for the Berks Dis-
trict for two terms, from 1813 to 1815, and from 1823
to 1825. It was while he was at Washington, during his
last term in Congress, that John Quincy Adams was
elected President. He, however, was one of Jackson's
supporters. He died July 15, 1828, leaving a large estate.
He was the last really prominent and representative man



354



HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



who lived in Oley, and one of the few Congressmen se-
lected from the country districts of the county. He was
a well-developed man, rather below the medium height,
and his conversational manner was quick and nervous.

JOHN BANKS, the fifth President Judge of Berks
county, serving from 1836 to 1847, was born near Lewis-
burgh, Juniata county, Pa., in the year 1793. His pa-
ternal grandfather emigrated fromi Scotland. His father
being a farmer, his youth v/as spent mostly on a farm,
but the advantages of a liberal education were not denied
him. He entered upon the study of law, was admitted to
the Bar in 1819, and soon after removed to the western
part of the State, He located in Mercer county, and
there attained eminence at the Bar. Without any solicitation
on his part he was nominated and elected a representative
in Congress, and twice re-elected, serving from 1831 to
1836, He won distinction in Congress by his treatment of
contested election cases. In the spring of 1836, he va-
cated his seat in Congress to accept the appointment of
president judge of the Third Judicial District of the State,
composed of the counties of Berks, Lehigh and North-
ampton. His superior qualities soon won for him the
full confidence of the people. No man was ever more
obliging and condescending to his juniors than he, and no
man ever lived in Reading whose companionship was
more highly prized by so varied a circle of friends. Hav-
ing spent eleven years as president judge of the court,
he resigned the position in 1847 and accepted the office
of State treasurer of Pennsylvania, in which he served
one term. In 1841, while judge of the courts, he was nom-
inated by the Whig party for the office of governor of
Pennsylvania, but was defeated by David R. Porter, the
Democratic nominee. He was subsequently nominated by
the Whig members of the State Legislature, when in the
minority, as their candidate for United States senator.
Upon his retirement from the Bench, Judge Banks re-
sumed the practice of the law, and soon became the ac-
knowledged leader of the Berks county Bar. He contin-
ued in his profession until his death, April 3, 1864, enjoy-
ing a very extensive and lucrative practice.

DR. WILLIAM F. MUHLENBERG, physician at Read-
ing since 1872, and a lineal descendant of Rev. Henry Mel-
chior Muhlenberg, recognized as the founder of the Lutheran
Church in America, was born in Gettysburg, Pa., Nov. 18,
1853, while his father was filling the position of Pro-
fessor of Greek in the Pennsylvania College at that place.
His preliminary education was obtained at that institu-
tion, and he was graduated from Muhlenberg College
at AUentown, Pa., in 1868, of which his father had be-
come the president. Then he entered the Medical De-
partment of the University of Pennsylvania, and gradu-
ated in 1872. Selecting Reading as a promising field for
practising his chosen profession, he located in that city,
won the confidence of the people, and soon secured a
lucrative practice, which he has held until the present
time. In 1884 he was appointed surgeon for the Penn-
sylvania Schuylkill Valley Railroad Company, for cases
arising at and in the vicinity of Reading, and he has since
servedthis position in a most satisfactory manner. Dur-
ing this long period he has also served as a surgeon at
the Reading Hospital.

Dr. Muhlenberg has been an active member of the
Berks County Medical Society, and also of the Reading
Medical Society, for many years, having officiated as
president of these bodies, and he is recognized by them
as a most skillful surgeon, as well as a general practi-
tioner. For social diversion, he has identified himself
with the Wyomissing Club, and the Berkshire Club at
Reading; also with the University Club and the Country
Club at Philadelphia; in all of which he has shown great
interest.

Dr, Muhlenberg was married, in 1884, to Augusta
Muhlenberg, daughter of Hiester H. and Katherine (Hun-
ter) Muhlenberg, of Reading, and by her he has three
chilaren : Hiester (who graduated from the Pennsyl-
vania University in 1908) ; Frederick Augustus (who



graduated from the Reading high school in 1904, and
Pennsylvania College in 1908) ; and Augusta. His wife
died in 1890. He and his children are members of Trinity
Lutheran Church. His wife's father was prominently
identified -with the financial interests and enterprises of
Reading for many years, having filled the office of cashier
of the Farmers Bank from 1842 until his decease in 1886.

Rev. Dr. Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg, father of the
Doctor, was born at Lancaster in 1818, and died in Read-
ing in 1901. He was very prominently connected with
higher education in several colleges of Pennsylvania for
sixty years, the last important position being that of
professor of Greek at the University of Pennsylvania.
His wife was Catharine Muhlenberg, daughter of Major
Peter Muhlenberg, of Reading. She died in 1894 aged
sixty-seven years. They had four sons ; Ernest A., Henry
M., Francis B., and William F.

Rev. Dr. Henry Ernest Muhlenberg, his great-grand-
father, was also of Lancaster, and his maternal great-
grandfather was the distinguished Revolutionary hero.
Gen. Peter Muhlenberg.

FREDERICK SMITH, Attorney General and Associate
Justice of Pennsylvania, and one of the most distin-
guished men that Berks county produced, was born at
Reading in 1773. He was a son of the Rev. John Fred-
erick Smith, an eminent divine of the Lutheran Church
in Pennsylvania, and one of the pioneers of that denom-
ination in America. He obtained a superior classical
education, and, selecting the law as his profession, after
a careful preparation was admitted to the Bar at Reading
Aug. 7, 1795. He soon won prominence and distinction,
both as a counselor and as an attorney in important liti-
gation. In the meantime he became actively interested in
local politics, and served as a member of the Legislature
in 1802 and 1803. He was appointed deputy attorney-
general for Berks county in 1818, and filled that position
three years. He served from 1823 to 1828 as attorney-
general of Pennsylvania, and as an associate justice of the
Supreme Court from 1828 until the time of his death. His
judicial career, though brief, was distinguished. He died
at Reading Oct. 4, 1830. He was a member of the Roman
Catholic church. He married Catharine Leaf, of Phila-
delphia. His two sons, Henry W. Smith, Esq.» and
George Smith, were prominent in the local affairs of
Reading for fifty years anterior to 1878, when they died.

JONES. The Jones family was founded in this country
by Rev. Thomas Jones, who was born in the year 1702
in Newtonottage, Glamorganshire, Wales. In 1729 he mar-
ried Martha Morris, and in 1737, they came to America
with several children, arriving at Philadelphia on July
22d of that year. Rev. Thomas Jones first settled in the
Great Valley of Chester county, Pa., where he took up
lands, and where his neighbors included a number of
Baptists, mostly of his own nationality, some of whom
had crossed the Atlantic over thirty-five years earlier.
In 1711 they had organized the Great Valley Baptist
Church, and in 1719 the Montgomery Church. In 1738
a number of these people, all of Welsh extraction, mem-
bers of the Great Valley and Montgomery Baptist Churches,
removed to Lancaster county. Pa., settling along the Tul-
pehocken creek, near its junction with the Schuylkill river,
and also southwardly along that river, opposite what is
now the city of Reading. The adults of this little com-
pany were as follows: Thomas Jones and wife; David
Evans and wife; James James and wife; Evan Lloyd and
wife; George Rees and wife; John Davis and wife;
Thomas Nicholas and wife; James Edwards and wife;
Rees Thomas and wife; Henry Harry; David Lewis and
Thomas Lloyd. These twenty-one persons, finding them-
selves to be too far from their respective churches, re-
quested leave to be constituted into a distinct society
which accordingly was done Aug. 19, 1738, and the same
year the new church joined the Philadelphia Association
of Baptist Churches. In the year 1740 Thomas Jones
was ordained a minister and became pastor of this church
which was called the Tulpehocken Baptist Church after



BIOGRAPHICAL



■ 355



the river which runs through the neighborhood. For two
years services were held in a small log cabin erected on
the property of Hugh Jones, but in 1740 the congregation
built two meeting houses on lands presented to it — one
about six miles from the Schuylkill river at Sinking Spring
and the other several miles nearer the river. The church
continued to prosper for a time, but became extinct sixty
years later, "owing to the departure of Baptist families to
other parts, and the coming of Germans in their stead."
The lands owned by the church passed into the possession
of the Philadelphia Baptist Association. Those parts on
which the ancient graveyards are located are still held by
the Philadelphia Baptist Association, but are at present
under the care of the First Baptist Church of Reading.

Rev. Thomas Jones died March 22, 1788, in his eighty-
seventh year, and his wife Martha (Morris) died June 9,



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 86 of 227)