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 87 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 87 of 227)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

1799, in her ninety-third year. They are buried in the
graveyard of the Great Valley Baptist Church in Chester
county, where their graves are suitably marked. Their
children were: Thomas, Samuel, Griffith, Elizabeth and
Sarah. They became allied by marriage with the Davis,
Broomfield, Spicer, Lloyd and Cornog families, and from
them sprang a host of descendants, many of whom still
live in the vicinity of the homes of their fore-fathers,
though the majority are widely scattered over the United

Thomas Jones, son of Rev. Thomas and Martha (Mor-
ris) Jones, was born in Wales in 1733. On Oct. 6, 1762,
he married Mary Broomfield, and to them were born the
following named children: Martha, Susanna, Sarah, Mary
and Samuel. Of these, Martha m. Llewellyn Davis; Sarah
m. Roger Davis; Mary m. Mr. Geiger; Susanna m. Dr.
Kuhn, of Lancaster, Pa. The father of this family vi>a.s a
large land holder in Heidelberg township, Berks county,
and was a farnner by occupation. "At the very beginning
of the Revolution he assisted in organizing the Associators
of Berks county, and was in active service for a time as
major of one of the battalions of this county." He was
one of the eight delegates from Berks county to the Pro-
vincial Convention which met at Philadelphia July 15, 1776,
"for the express purpose of forming a new government in
this Province on the authority of the people only." The
convention appointed a committee of Safety, approved the
Declaration of Independence, and prescribed for justices
of the peace, oaths of renunciation of the authority of
George III., and oaths of allegiance to the State of Penn-
sylvania. Dr. Benjamin Franklin was president of the
convention. Thomas Jones was commissioner of Berks
county from 1779 to 1786. He died in March, 1800, and
is buried in the Baptist graveyard at Sinking Spring. He
was the, last surviving male member of the Tulpehocken
Baptist Church. His wife, who survived him several
years, was buried at his side, and their graves were marked,
but the stones were removed.

Samuel Jones, son of Thomas and grandson of Rev.
Thomas, was born on the homestead in Heidelberg town-
ship where his father erected a house in 1775. This house
is still standing. He was a farmer by occupation, owned
a large and valuable tract of land in Heidelberg town-
ship, and had slaves, whom, however, 'he set free. The
most noted of these slaves was Dinah Clark, a well known
character in Reading in her day. The negro quarters
occupied by the slaves on the Heidelberg farm are still
standing. Samuel Jones donated the land upon which the
eight-cornered building at Sinking Spring — used first as a
Baptist meeting house, later as a school house, now as a
.dwelling — was erected. The original deed of this property
is held by the First Baptist Church of Reading.

Samuel Jones married Elizabeth Huey, and to them were
born four children, Thomas H., John H., Margaret and
Mary C.

(1) Thomas H. Jones was engaged in the iron business at
Leesport, this county, and at the Windsor Furnace at
Hamburg. He married Elizabeth Van Reed Evans, and
their children, Mary E. and Elizabeth E. Jones, are living
in Reading.

(2) John H. Jones married Margaret (Seitzinger) Van-
Reed, widow of Joshua Van Reed, and to them were

born four children, namely : M. Agnes, wife of Hon. James
K. Getz, at one time mayor of Reading; Ellen A., widow
of Dr. Christian N. Hoffman; Elizabeth, widow of Dr. S.
H. Clemens, of Allentown, Pa. ; and William W., deceased,
who lived at Robesonia.

(3) Margaret Jones m. Dr. Darrah.

(4) Mary C. Jones m. Jacob Van Reed.

Samuel Jones, D. D., son of Rev. Thomas Jones, was
born Jan. 14, 1735. In his youth he was baptized into the
membership of the Tulpehocken Baptist Church. He was
educated in the College of Philadelphia, graduating in
1762, was ordained to the ministry in 1763, and became
pastor of the Pennepek Baptist Church, which was or-
ganized in 1688, and is now known as the Lower Dublin
Church of Philadelphia. He retained that pastorate for
fifty years, and he was known as one of the most scholarly
Baptists of his day, being the most influential minister
of his denomination in the Middle Colonies. The Phila-
delphia Baptist Association in 1764 sent him to Rhode
Island to assist in founding Rhode Island College, now
Brown University. He remodeled the rough draft of the
college charter, which then received the sanction of the
Colony of Rhode Island. Later he was offered the presi-
dency of the college but did not accept it. "He exerted
a vast and useful influence over the rising Baptist Churches
of our country, and himself educated many young men
for the Christian ministry. He was a large and firmly
built man, his face was the image of intelligence, and
good nature, which, with the air of dignity that pervaded
his movements, rendered his appearance uncommonly at-
tractive." He died Feb. 7, 1814, and is buried in the Lower
Dublin Church.

JACOB MORGAN was the most prominent Revolu-
tionary character of Berks county from 1777 to 1780, and
as such brought great credit to the county and great
honor to himself. He was born in the district of Caer-
narvon, in the northern part of Wales, in 1716, and emi-
grated with his father, Thomas Morgan, to Pennsylvania
some time previous to 1730. About that time a colony
of Welsh people, including Thomas Morgan and his fam-
ily, migrated up the Schuylkill Valley from Philadelphia
to the mouth of the French creek, and thence along and
beyond the headwaters of that creek until they reached
the headwaters of the 'Conestoga creek, in Caernarvon
township. There they settled and took up large tracts of
land. That section of territory was then a part of Lan-
caster county, but since 1752 a part of Berks county. The
tract taken up by his father was at and in the vicinity of
Morgantown. It included the town-plan which he came
to lay out in 1770, and which he named after the family, a
custom quite common in that day throughout the county.

When the French and Indian War came to affect Penn-
sylvania in 1755, Jacob Morgan was thirty-eight years
old, and until that time had been engaged at farming. In
December of that year, he was commissioned as a cap-
tain under the Provincial government, and he continued
actively engaged in this military service until 1760, when
he returned home and resumed farming. When the Revo-
lution^began, he was nearly sixty years of age. In June,
1776, he was selected to represent the county as a dele-
gate to the Provincial Conference, and in July following
as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. In 1777,
upon the creation of the office of lieutenant of the several
counties for the purpose of aiding the Executive Council
in effectively prosecuting the war, he was selected by the
Council to fill this very important position. This preference
evidences his distinguished character, for at that time
Berks county possessed a number of prominent and in-
fluential men. In the prompt and faithful performance
of his duties he was very successful, the Executive Coun-
cil in their letters to him frequently complimenting his
energy in having the county fill promptly the numerous
orders for troops. He resigned in December, 1780. While
filling- this office he was always recognized as a colonel,
and was addressed as such by the Executive Council. He
officiated as a judge of the county for the years 1768, 1769,
1772, and from 1774 to 1777 ; and also as a justice of the



peace for the southern district of Berks county (which in-
cluded Caernarvon township), from 1777 to 1(91. llis
autograph follows. He died at Morgantown on No-
vember 11, 1792, and was buried in the graveyard of the
St. Thomas Episcopal Church at that place. He had two
sons, Jacob and Benjamin; and three daughters, Sarah
(m. a Jenkins) ; Mary (m. Nicholas Hudson), and Re-
becca (m. John Price, an attorney at Reading). Rachel,
a daughter of John Price, m. Samuel Wethenll, of Phila-


ROBERT PORTER was the third President Judge of
Berks county. He was the eldest son of Gen. Andrew
Porter, and was born at Philadelphia Jan. 10, 1768. When
only eight years old, the Revolution had begun in earnest
and his father had enlisted to serve the United Colonies.
Toward the close of the war, his father was colonel of
the 4th Pennsylvania Regiment of Artillery, and Judge
Porter, when only thirteen years of age, was enlisted in
one of the companies under the command of his father.

(m. Prof. Huff), John, Frederick (teaching at Mercers-
burg), Grace, Annie and Mary.

HIRAM H. SCHWARTZ, first Orphans' court Judge of
Berks county, from 1883 to 1891, was born in Maxatawny
township, near Kutztown. In 1834 he went to Lehigh
county and there worked on a farm, and while so engaged
attended the local schools until he was sixteen years old.
He continued his preparatory education in the Van Deryeer
Boarding School for several years; then entered Franklin
and Marshall College, and after taking a regular course
was graduated in 1855. Upon returning home he engaged
at teaching public school for two years ; and then he was
elected school superintendent of Lehigh county, an office
he very successfully filled from 1857 to 1860. During this
time he took up the study of the law at Allentown, in the
office of the Hon. Samuel A. Bridges, and was admitted
to practice in 1858. After practising at Allentown two
years, he located at Kutztown, and he continued in active
practice in Berks county until he received the appointment
of Judge of the Orphans' court in June, 1883, from Gover-
nor Pattison, which office had been created by a special
Act of Assembly; and at the next election m November
of that year he was elected for the term of ten years. He
officiated until his death Aug. 25, 1891, after a protracted
illness. After having located at Kutztown m 1860, he be-
came interested in various enterprises there. He was par-

At the conclusion of the war, he resumed his studies at ticularly interested in the cause of education, and identified

Philadelphia, and selecting the law as his profession was himself with the establishment of the Keystone State Nor-

admitted to practice May 15, 1789. After being engaged in mal School, which he served as a trustee until his decease,
a successful practice for twenty years at Philadelphia, he

in 1810 was appointed president judge of the Third Ju-
dicial District, which comprised the counties of Berks,
Northampton and Wayne. He filled this honorable position
for twenty-two years, and then, resigning his commission,
retired to private life. He resided at Reading, on the
northwest corner of Fifth and Penn streets, during his
term of office. He died June 23, 1842, at Brookville, Pa.,
aged seventy-four years. He was a man of profound learn-
ing and superior legal attainments. Henry M. Dechert,
Esq., of Philadelphia, whose sketch and portrait appear in
this publication, is a grand-son.

DR. NATHAN C. SCHAEFFER, State Superintendent

GEORGE D. PENROSE (deceased) was born m
Maiden-creek township, Berks Co., Pa., son of Ephraim
and Lydia Ann (Smith) Penrose. The Penrose family is
a very prominent one in Pennsylvania, of English descent
.and of Quaker belief.

Ephraim Penrose was a life-long farmer of Maiden-
creek township, where he owned and operated a valuable
farm. He and his wife were nuerabers of the Society qf
Friends, he belonging to the Hicksite branch, and she to
the Orthodox. They had one child, George D.

George D. Penrose was educated in the common schools
of Berks county, passed through the high school at Read-
ing, and took an advanced course at Swarthraore College,

of Public Instruction, was born Feb. 3, 1849, in Maxatawny the great Quaker educational institution which ranks with
township, Berks county. He was educated in Maxatawny Yale and Harvard. While he was still a youth he learned
Seminary (now Keystone State Normal School), Franklin telegraphy, and after completing his education he followed
and Marshall College at Lancaster, Theological Seminary it for some years and subsequently became an operator
at Mercersburg, and in the Universities of Berlin, Tiibingen for the Berks & Lehigh Railway Company. In 1883 he
and Leipsic. He then taught in Mercersburg College, and accepted a similar position with the Philadelphia & Read-
Franklin and Marshall College, and for sixteen years was ing Railway Company, and on promotion was sent to the
principal of the Keystone State Normal School at Kutz- general office in Philadelphia. He was a young man of
town. In 1905 he was elected President of the National marked ability, and continued to find recognition with his
Educational Association at Asbury Park, N. J. He has employers and became assistant auditor for the Philadelphia
served the following prominent positions : President of the & Reading Railway Company. He was filling this im-
Pennsylvania State Teachers' Association ; secretary of the portant position at the time of his death, which took place
National Council of Education; president of the Depart- Aug. 2, 1889, as the result of an accident. It had been the

ment of Superintendence of the National Association;
president of the Pennsylvania German Society; Chancellor
of the Pennsylvania Chautauqua at Mt. Gretna from 1901
to 1905 ; member of the Pennsylvania Commission on In-
dustrial Education ; and editor of the Pennsylvania School
Journal, since 1893. He is editor of a volume of Bible
Readings for schools ; author of "Thinking and Learning to
Think," and of "History of Education in Pennsylvania,'-'
contained in three volumes of "History of the State," pub-
lished by the Mason Publishing Company at Syracuse. N.
Y. He was commissioned State Superintendent of Public
Instruction on June 1, 1893, and re-commissioned in 1897,
1901, and 1905. He served as lecturer on Pedagogy in the
Graduate Department of the University of Pennsylvania
during the absence of Dr. Brumbaugh, while serving as
Commissioner of Education in Porto Rico (1900-1901).

Dr. Schaefifer is a son of David Schaeffer, of Maxatawny
township, and Esther Ann Christ, bis wife (daughter of
Solomon Christ and Elizabeth Bieber, his wife, of the
same township). He married Annie Ahlum, of Quaker-
town, Pa., and they have seven children : Clarabelle, Helen

custom of himself and wife to spend the summer seasons
at Atlantic City, where Mr. Penrose enjoyed the surf
bathing, and it was during a season there that he was
drowned. This calamity was a source of universal regret
to his family, his employers and to a very large circle of

On Oct. 16, 1884, Mr. Penrose was married to Catharine
^f. Yarrington, daughter of Thomas O. and Catharine
S. (Feather) Yarrington, both of English descent. One
child was born to this marriage, Edwin Y. In political
faith ^Ir. Penrose was a Republican. Fraternally he was
an Odd Fellow.

The Yarringtons came from England early in the 17th
century, and were among the earliest settlers in Stoning-
ton. Conn. Abel Yarrington, grandfather of Thomas O.,
left Connecticut in 1770, and settled in Wilkes Barre, Pa.,
where he established the first ferry across the Susque-
hanna at that point. He was a soldier in the Revolution.
Of his sons, five in number, the third was Luther.

Luther Yarrington, son of Abel, was born in 1776, and
died at Wilkes Barre in 1836. He married Hannah



Abbot, a descendant of George Abbot. The latter, a
native of Yorkshire, England, born in 1615, emigrated to
America in 1640, and became one of the founders of
Andover, Massachusetts.

Thomas O. Yarrington, son of Luther and Hannah, was
reared in Wilkes Barre. He became a civil engineer, and
followed that profession for many years. He died June
3, 1905, aged eighty-six years. He married Catharine S.
Feather, daughter qf William and Margaret (Strohecker)
Feather. Mrs. Yarrington died Dec. 7, 1902, the mother
of seven children: Abbot died in infancy; William P., of
Mauch Chunk, m. Hannah (Dodson) Alsover; Luther A.,
of Reading, m. Emily McCauley, ■ daughter of the Rev. C.
A. McCauley, and had two children — Edith (deceased)
and Charles (deceased in November, 1905, aged ten years) ;
Amelia m. George W. Manning,' of New York, and has
one daughter, Grace Y. ; Thomas O., of Reading, m. Emma
Heatherington ; Catharine M. is Mrs. Penrose; and Mar-
garet m. William H. Albright, a job printer at Reading,
and has two children — William Y. and Frank Y. The
Yarringtons are all members of the Episcopal Church.
Peter Feather, great-grandfather of Mrs. Catharine S.
(Feather) Yarrington, appeared on the list of taxables in
Reading in 1759. Peteir Feather, Jr., son of Peter, was
born in Reading, and in 1788 he married Margaret Van
Kenna, daughter of Baltzer and Maria A. (Levan) Van
Kenna, and granddaughter of Casper Van Kenna. Maria
A. (Levan) Van Kenna was born in Exeter in 1730, daugh-
ter of Isaac Levan, one of the first settlers.

William Feather, son of Peter, Jr., and Margaret, was
born in 1791, and died in 1849. He owned and conducted
a tannery at Hamburg, Berks county, at the time of his
death. He married Margaret Strohecker, who was born in
Reading in 1796, daughter of John and Julianna Strohecker,
residents of Reading a century ago. Mrs. Margaret
(Strohecker) Feather died at Hamburg in 1874. John
Strohecker, Sr., father of John and' grandfather of Mrs.
Feather, served in the Revolution as first lieutenant, Capt.
George Will's Company, Major Hiester's Battalion q{
Militia, of Berks county. Pa., in service at Newtown, Jan.
2, 1777.

DAVID F. GORDON, seventh President Judge of
Berks county, from 1849 to 1851, was born at Philadelphia
Nov. 20, 1795. He received a classical education at the
University of Pennsylvania, studied law and was admitted
to practice in 1816. He remained in that city until 1824,
when he removed to Reading and was admitted to practice
in the several courts of Berks county. He continued in
active practice here for eight years, and then purchased
the Berks and Schuylkill Journal, a weekly English news-
paper, published at Reading. He published this paper very
successfully until 1838, then sold it and resumed his law
practice. After practising for eleven years, he was ap-
pointed president judge of the county, which had just
been erected into a separate judicial district. He remained
on the Bench until December, 1851, retiring then by virtue
of the amendment to the Constitution, under which the
office of judge became elective, and the Hon. J. Pringle
Jones was chosen to fill this position for ten years. He
was recognized as an able judge, and thoroughly conscien-
tious in the performance of his judicial duties. Upon re-
tiring from the Bench, he resumed his legal practice at
Reading. He died Dec. 27, i859.

ALBERT J. BRUMBACH, manufacturer and banker at
Reading, was born at Brumbach's Woolen Mills in Exeter
township, Berks Co., Pa., Oct. 11, 1840. He was educated
in the township schools and at Lee's Academy in Reading
until he was fourteen years old, when his father placed
him in the woolen mills which he was operating, to learn
the manufacturing business, and after learning the busi-
ness thoroughly in all its departments, he, upon arriving
of age, purchased the premises. Shortly afterward the
building was burned down, but he immediately rebuilt
the mill, introducing the latest improved machinery. This
was in 1864, and the plant was named the St. Lawrence
Mills, after a certain grade of woolen, cloth which his

father had begun to manufacture there in 1856, and sell
through a commission house at Philadelphia. The build-
ing is built of stone, two stories high, and has at present
three sets of machines which are run by steam, as well
as water-power supplied by the Antietam creek flowing
near by. Various improved machines have been substituted
for old machines to meet the demands of the business.
Seventy hands are .generally employed, and the product
consists chiefly of mixed cassimeres. The goods were
sold through commission houses and merchants at Phila-
delphia until 1870; then until 1895 by traveling salesmen
who developed in this way a large and profitable trade
throughout the greater part of the United States. In 1895
Mr. Brumbach established a fine three-story brick factory
at Reading (14th and Muhlenberg streets) for the manu-
facture of pants and vests, and since then he has been
converting the cloths produced at the St. Lawrence Mills
into all sizes and styles of the articles mentioned. He
employs there 120 hands, and has a large and constant
demand for his goods.

Besides carrying on his two plants very successfully,
Mr. Brumbaph has shown aTi enterprising spirit in other
affairs, relating to internal improvements for the public
welfare, as well as to manufactures. He took an active
part in establishing the Oley Turnpike from Black Bear
to Pleasantville, acting as a director of the corporation
since 1878, and as secretary since 1888; he was prominent
in building the East Reading Electric Railway from Ninth
and Penn streets, in Reading, to Black Bear in 1888 (which
was the first street railway operated by electricity at Read-
ing), and he has officiated as president of the company
from the beginning until the present time. He assisted in
establishing the Penn National Bank of Reading in 1883,
serving as a director since then, and as president since
1897; the Reading Cold Storage & Ice Company in 1900;
the Reading Glove & Mitten Company; the Penn Shge
Company in 1902, and the Printz Furniture and Carpet
Company in 1907 (embracing large stores at Hazleton,
Rochester and Newark) ; all of which he has served
as a director, and of the glove works as president since
1905. He was prominently identified with the rebuilding
of the Schwartzwald Church in Exeter township by acting
as chairman of the meeting, in 1870, which took earnest
steps in behalf of the new church; also with the exten-
sion and improvement of the fine cemetery there, serving as
secretary of the company for about twenty years until 1901;
and for many years he was connected with the choir as
one of the singers. He has been affiliated with the Free-
masons at Reading (Chandler Lodge) since 1861.

In 1863 Mr. Brumbach married Sarah Ann Dunkel
(daughter of Solomon Dunkel, of Exeter) ; by whom he
had six children: Solomon, superintendent of the St
Lawrence Mills, m. Margaret Ermentrout; Williamj, book-
keeper at mills, m. Edwina Jack; Albert, superintendent
of pants factory, m. Carrie Esterly; Ida m^. Stockton
Snyder, and both were killed in the Honda wreck,
California, May 11, 1907 ; Kate m. William J. Ermentrout ;
and Emma m. Custer Ammon.

Mr. Brumbach's father, William Brumbach, was born
in 1814 in Exeter township, where his father became
the owner of a woolen mill in 1830, and while still a boy
was put in the mill to learn the business. In 1842, he and
his brother Jacob became the owners of the plant, and
they carried on the business as partners for three years .
when Jacob withdrew. William then operated the plant
himself in a successful manner until 1853', when he pur-
chased the Housum grist mill (which was situated along
the Antietam creek near by), and from that time he car-
ried on the two mills until they were destroyed by fire
in 1863. He then went to Union county, Pa., and became
a partner of Marr, Griffey & Co., who owned and operated
the White Deer Woolen Mills. A few years afterward
the senior- partner died, and the firm name became Griffey
& Brumbach, and this firm carried on the plant until Mr.
Brumbach's decease in 1868. He was married twice. His
first wife was Sarah Spats, daughter of Jacob Spats, who
carried on farming and butchering in Exeter, in the



vicinity of the woolen mills. To this union were born
four children: Emma m. Jacob A. Strohecker; Albert
J. ; Sarah m. William K. Leithiser ; and Elizabeth m. J.
B. Stauffer. His second wife was Rachel Schneider, daugh-
ter of David, of Oley, and by her he had four sons, David,
George W., Aaron and Thomas, who learned the business
of manufacturing woolen cloth with Albert J., and they
have been operating a plant of their own at St. Lawrence
under the name of Brumbach Brothers; and one daughter,
Mary, m. C. O. Snyder. He died in 1868; his first wife
died in 1847, aged twenty-eight years; his second wife
Rachel Schneider is still living at age of eighty-two years.

Mr. Brumbach's grandfather was Jacob Brumbach, who
had learned the fulling business at the De Turck mill in

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 87 of 227)